One of the hardest things about pursuing a career in the arts, whether it be publishing a book, making music, creating art, etc., is staying strong, confident, and unaffected throughout the long journey to achieve that goal. It’s extremely easy to forget about the fun in making something and creating art, but that’s the whole reason why we write, sing, dance, paint, draw, isn’t it?
Last night, at New York City’s iconic club The Bitter End, 15 year old Christopher McGinnis, a leading, viral talent popular on YouTube and Twitter, co-headlined one of the coolest new shows for young, up-and-coming artists: the Pop City Tour.
Christopher is one of those rare kids who is monstrously talented [I mean, he studied privately at Juliard before he hit middle school for crying-out-loud! #PianoProdigy] but acts like he’s your best friend; he’s completely unaffected by his mass internet fame. I mean, the guy’s been in commercials, student films, he’s done voice-overs, played at MADISON SQUARE GARDEN TWICE, been featured in Pop Star Magazine (think TigerBeat for the new generation) and this year he was asked to be a part of two really sweet concert festivals: TeenHoot and Playlist Live.
But that doesn’t mean that he hasn’t dealt with his fair share – or everybody’s fair share put together, really – of rejection. He’s only 15 years old, but he’s been built up and quietly turned down by everybody from Nickelodeon to Simon Cowell. Does that stop him?
Christopher is one of the strongest teens I’ve ever seen. Not only that, but he honestly doesn’t let all of the extraneous crap get to him. In fact, he generally takes the attitude of, “OK, whatever. What’s next?”
If it were me? I’d live under a rock right now. I would never write again.
But Christopher is one of those rare personalities that can take it all in stride: the bad and the good, the ugly and the EXCELLENT.
And last night, and everything lately, has seemed to scream, “EXCELLENT!” for Christopher, who emceed the show last night, opening with one of his original songs, “Just Another Teenage Night,” which completely ROCKED, his voice and piano prowess pulsating through the crowd, and set the tone for the night: fun, flirty, and light-hearted. His charisma on stage allowed him to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee when it came to performing – and in between acts, when he would come on stage, banter with the audience, smile at the screaming #fangirls, I couldn’t help but think: “THIS is what he’s is made to do.” Some people are naturally born entertainers, and Christopher is one of those people. Besides oozing talent and being able to sing while making music that’s not tricked out with the bells and whistles of synthesizers, EDM beats, and pre-programmed music — his is of the live variety; imagine a 2013 Billy Joel — he’s just got an inherent ability to draw in an audience and make them pay attention.
And isn’t that what we all wish we could do?
But one of the cool things about Christopher is that he doesn’t let all of the well-deserved attention and screaming, adoring fans get to him. He’s just Christopher; no pretenses, no glam, no attitude. He’s a regular guy. With an extraordinary gift. And that’s rare!
As a struggling writer trying to make my mark, I look up him because of his ability to let it all roll off his shoulder. Right after the show, after I witnessed him sign autographs and take pictures with an endless stream of fans, we all went out to dinner as family. He talked about taking his jet-ski out later, an upcoming trip to Six Flags, chicken wings, and his high school friends. My lifelong friend and pseudo-cousin DJ asked him, “How are you just sitting there acting like nothing just happened?” He was, of course, referring to the awesome concert that he just performed at. Christopher just shrugged his shoulders and blushed a little.
If it were me, I’d like, “NO PICTURES, PLEASE. BABY NEEDS HIS BEAUTY REST. WHERE’S MY MINERAL WATER?”
But not Christopher.
If last night’s concert is any indication, big things are happening for Christopher. His star is rising. It’s taken a long time and a lot of hard work, but I just know that it’s going to pay off.
I sang along at the top of my lungs to every one of his songs, much the chagrin of the cameraman who was filming a livestream for WHUD. But I didn’t care. When Christopher plays the piano, and his fingers go buckwild across the ivory keys, you can’t help but get excited!
As for me, I’m going to take a page from Christopher’s book and know that big things CAN and WILL happen. With just a little hard work and determination, I too will make it!
Tweet Christopher at @ChrisNYCVillage
Check out his official website: http://christophermcginnis.com
Check out his YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/chrisnycvillage/videos