Since starting the Mystery Artist Show on TheSkyKid.com radio, this only makes the third interview that I’ve done so far. That being said, I must say that, for someone who is only 14-years-old, Christopher McGinnis is definitely someone you should keep your eyes on. Since he is so diverse, involved in so many fields, I wouldn’t doubt it one bit if he was to become famous in at least one of those fields.
It was an extreme pleasure doing the interview with Christopher, but I must say that it wouldn’t have been possible without his mother Michele. So I’d also like to thank her for allowing this to happen.
Note: This interview is transcription of the original interview aired on TheSkyKid.com radio on 19.02.2012. The clip included below features the whole interview and snippets of the songs that were played during the live broadcast. In this transcript, “MA” will represent the questions posed by the Mystery Artist’s Show and “CM” will be Christopher’s answers.
MA: How did you manage to do your first concert on Celebrity Cruise Line?
CM: Well it’s actually kind of interesting how I did it. I was only seven-years-old at the time. I’m just relaxing on the deck and you know the bands’ playing up there and they’re playing some great music — island music. But they’re playing everything pretty much. Their set’s done and they’re just walking around. So I go up on the little piano they have and start jammin’ on the Blues.
They come up to me and like “Wow kid! You’re pretty good!” I was like “Wow! Thanks a lot”. So they’re like “You wanna jam a little bit?” And I’m like “Sure, let’s do an F Blues”. So we did the Blues and they said “I really like your playing and anytime you’re out on the deck, we’ll pull you up and we’ll play some songs. I ended up doing some Billy Joel, some Bach, a whole bunch of stuff. I had a really great time and it was a really great experience when I was only seven.
MA: How did you manage to audition for the Papa John’s commercial and how did you feel when you found out you got the part?
CM: Well, I had just gotten an agent in New York City and it was one of the first commercials I went out for. They called me down saying they needed someone with brown hair, very athletic and someone looking a lot like a young Harrison Ford. So I went out for it. The first auditions they actually brought you to a gym. I had to swing from some ropes and jump over some crazy towers. It was actually a fun thing. That was my first audition and it was totally new to me. Then we get the call-back. So I went for the call-back, which was pretty much the second audition. That was more of a bite and smile. They had us eat some food and smile at the camera and that was more of a basic audition for the call-back. It was pretty much me and this other kid and then I got the call that I got it. It was the most amazing feeling in the world.
There’s nothing else like that when you get your pretty much first national network commercial and it was just the best feeling. It’s funny because we were actually on our way to vacation at Lake George. It was the week before when we actually got the call and that was when we were going away. So we pushed our vacation a little bit back so we could do the shoot. The day of the shoot was amazing because there were food carts. It was like first class service pretty much and it was so awesome. It was an awesome experience because I got to swing from a rope, jump over a dog house and I ended up eating about 16 slices of pizza!
MA: What was it like working with Jeff Goldblum and Julianne Nicholson on Law and Order?
CM: Working with both of them was really a great experience. They’re both so professional and both so nice. Jeff and I have a lot in common actually. As you probably know, he’s an accomplished jazz piano player. We started talking and I play out in the city and he plays out in the city. He has a band out in Los Angeles and his own place that he plays. We just had a great conversation about it and it really made the day that we could actually have something in common to talk about. It was just a great experience for me to work with them.
MA: What kind of advice would you give other young artists just starting out?
CM: Just be true to yourself. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. What you want to do has to come from within. If someone else doesn’t like it, or really wants you and you don’t want to do it, then it’s not going to work. Just remember: “Practice makes perfect”. If you really want it, then you’re going to be able to get it, as long as you keep trying and push hard enough and never give up.
MA: When first starting out, an entertainer such as yourself looks to the media to get their name out to the general public. But if the entertainer then become extremely famous, then they wish the media would leave them alone. How do you feel about this? I mean it’s a Catch-22 situation.
CM: Well, of course you want to get your name out there but, when you do, it depends on if you want it to stay out there. How do I feel about this? Well I feel like when you’re out in the media, you’re probably making great money and everyone’s loving you. Maybe some people are hating you, but that’s not the point. I like my situation because I started professionally in 5th grade and I’ve done some extraordinary things in my opinion.
For me, I’m 14 right now, but I’m still able to have the awesome life that I feel I have. I can play sports and still hang out with my friends, but I can also go on the side scene, go into New York and play in a night club at night. I think I have the best of both worlds personally. Some people might rather be in the public eye. The only thing is, when you’re in it, it seems like it’s even hard to go out. The paparazzi are all over you all the time. Then some people in their basic life would say “Well I love my life. I want to have my privacy”. So it’s really your own opinion. I feel that doing great things, but also being able to live that normal life you have, sometimes is the best.
Christopher McGinnis Live
MA: Between the sports, acting and singing, which do you hope to make your profession?
CM: To be honest with you, I can’t really tell you what I want to make my profession right now. I’m 14 and in the 9th grade. I have an idea. I don’t want to say I’m a well rounded kid, but I kinda am. I love my sports, I love my singing, I love my acting and, most importantly, I love my piano playing. I’m riding the bus right now and whenever it comes to the right stop, I’ll get off there. I just look to the Lord to tell me what to do. Right now, I can’t tell you what I really want. I know I want to go to college and I’m even thinking of a profession in medicine; but right now there’s no set thing that I want to do. I’m just going to see where life takes me and wherever it takes me I’m happy.
MA: With you being an “A” student and with your sports, acting and singing, how do you manage to find time to spend with friends?
CM: That’s an interesting question because I feel like I’m always having a good time in life. In school I’m socializing, I go to a public school and that’s always with friends. When I’m playing sports I’m with friends, when acting I always make new friends. There’s always time when I’m socializing. On the weekends, I’m always hanging out with someone after I get my business stuff done. To be honest, time just finds me.
MA: I know generally when someone writes a song, it’s based on some kind of personal experience that they’ve had. What inspired you to write The War Song: An American Hero?
CM: Although I was only three-years-old, I remember the day my dad picked me up from pre-school, brought me home and said something bad happened. Of course, I had no idea what was going on, but I remember all the media. Over the years I kind of took in all the details about it. About two years ago in the dead of summer, I’m sitting down at my piano and I was just thinking of what the impact caused on the American family and the American Spirit. I thought how there’s always going to be war going on in some way or form. I thought I could give back by writing this song. I’ve played it at many great venues. I’ve played it for Linda Paglesee (the town supervisor), I’ve played it for Senator Greg Ball and I’ve played it with the 42nd Infantry Army Band. I just thought that it would have a really great impact on the people, and so far it has.
Christopher McGinnis at Madison Square Garden
MA: Would you like to one day be able to perform at Carnagie Hall or Radio City Music Hall?
CM: Of course I would. That would be absolutely amazing. I hope I will in the near future. I’ve performed at some great venues already. Madison Square Garden: I performed three times at the Knicks half time show, and you don’t get any crazier than that in my opinion. When you have 20,000 people surrounding you at half court, and you do your thing. It’s the best thing I’ve ever experienced. I’ve also performed at the Momody Comedy show every year. I was the youngest pianist to ever perform at the Jazz Standard, at which I performed once a week for two years, and I play around at all the night clubs. I feel that I’ve done so many great accomplishments in my life so far and I can’t wait to see what comes in the near future.
MA: If you could perform with anyone (dead or alive), who would you want to perform with?
CM: I know this is going to be absolutely crazy for you to hear because I’m a Latin/Jazz/Pop pianist pretty much. I would like to perform with a Country music star because they’re cool and down to earth people to me. When I’m on my free time on the piano, I rock out that Country music. I love Country, I love the way it sounds, I love listening to it. I think that would be an awesome experience because I’ve never performed with anyone Country before. That’s who I’d like to perform with. It doesn’t really matter who it would be. I love Luke Bryans’ Country Girl. Carrie Underwood I love. The list goes on… but any country star.
MA: Is there anything else you’d like to add before we go?
CM: I have five tunes on iTunes and Amazon.com that includes The War Song: An American Hero. They are all original tunes that I wrote and sing myself. I hope you go and download them and enjoy them. All my videos, music and stuff are on my website. Thanks a lot for having me on the show and I hope we talk soon. Have a good day.
Please be sure to visit Christopher’s website. If you really enjoy his music, then see about downloading it on iTunes or Amazon.com.