GUITARIST | SONGWRITER
Chris Van Duyn is a musician who just can’t sit still playing one style or genre.
It’s Rock and Jazz/Fusion that remain at the center of his passion for the language of music with touches of R&B, Funk, Jazz and more thrown in at any time.
When playing electric or acoustic he plays what's appropriate, speaking through the instrument with heartfelt sincerity.
"I write as best I can from the heart. Melody is everything and musically I try to find the balance between keeping it interesting but not over complicated, even in composing an instrumental piece.
I've never been one for lyrics that are "throw away"; they have to mean something even if its not obvious."
Besides my objective of wanting a worship song I've written to reflect what I am inspired to have spoken over people and breathed into their lives, my hope is that the lyrics like the gospel are simple enough to understand while having God’s profound truths written within the lyrics to reflect the depth of His love, His promises and truths and His eternal wisdom; and for the melodies and overall composition to lift others up in their spirit while connecting with the Father.
"I believe he is a gifted song writer. He is able to encourage others through music and lyrics that are practical, and Spirit filled... his musicianship and guitar playing are the best I have heard. When Chris leads worship in any role you hear the Holy Spirit speak."
- Cliff Young
Founding Leader - Cliff Young & Living Sacrifice
Associate Pastor - New Hope Christian Center
Chris was born and raised in the heartland of America, in the mid-west city of Iowa City, Iowa. The only one of his 3 other siblings to pursue music, he recalls first being influenced by his older brother’s favorite bands, such as The Beatles, Chicago, Simon & Garfunkel from which he was drawn to the guitar. While his mother’s love of Big Band and artists like Nat King Cole, Doris Day, Bing Crosby brought the tradition of classic standards that still remain timeless.
Although his first instrument at an early elementary school age was Clarinet, it was the influence of the rock band KISS at a young age that convinced him he had to play guitar. Studying with local guitar prodigy Steve Johnston, Chris’ musical palate quickly grew and expanded to rock styles as diverse as The Police, Rush, Queen, Van Halen, Toto and Journey. Finding that whatever he listened to quickly influenced his playing, it was in college as a music major that Jazz came in to drive him into new directions. One of his biggest influences to this day, Pat Metheny opened his ears further to more jazz and fusion.
During those college years, Chris was also playing guitar and leading worship for YoungLife and he began touring the mid-west in a R&B/Funk band, expanding the landscape of music by covering artists such as Earth Wind & Fire and Tower of Power. While touring in two bands Chris won awards for improvisation one of which including the Kansas City Jazz Festival and it became clear that expanding beyond the mid-west was well worth doing.
Attending Musician's Institute's G.I.T. (Guitar Institute of Technology) in Hollywood put Chris in a place of high influence studying under world class musician’s such as Dan Gilbert, Frank Gambale, Scott Henderson, Norman Brown, Paul Gilbert and many other’s to officially push him to reach deeper than ever. After graduating he was honored to teach as a guitar counselor for a brief stint while playing in various bands around Los Angeles including a band he co-founded, ‘Common Ground’ which featured sax monster Jim Wheeler (Kenny Loggins, Slash's Snake Pit) . Around that time Chris got to work with and study under some top name studio musicians and personal hero’s of his including Dan Huff (White Heart, Amy Grant, Giant) and Jamie Glaser (Bryan Adams, Jean-Luc Ponty, Chick Corea, Manhattan Transfer) as well as study Composition and Arranging at Dick Grove School of Music.
Chris has also studied songwriting and co-written with Songwriters Kevin Fisher (Rascal Flatts, Sara Evans, Uncle Kracker); Jeff Vincent (Al Jerreau, Paul Lekakis); Rafael Moreira (P!nk, Christina Aguilera, Paul Stanley, Steven Tyler). In 2010, while a member of the rock band ‘Nu Savant’ they were fortunate to have their song ‘So Tired’ picked up for the Sony Television produced, Glenn Close show ‘Damages.’
Always working on developing his songwriting skills, In 2012 Chris released his frist rock album as ‘Thief In the Night’ entitled 'Under The Influence' featuring power vocalist Johnny Rossa with world class extraordinary musician/guitarist, Rafael Moreira producing. As Thief in the Night, Chris and Johnny also released an acoustic EP which features the Led Zeppelin classic ‘Kashmir’ as well as two singles each featuring duets with Johnny and international artist Dilana, ‘In Loving Memory’ and ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’.
Besides performing in various bands, Chris has been very active in playing Gospel & Contemporary Christian music performing in venues in Nashville, New York, Pennsylvania, California and more as well as playing and leading worship music in both large and small churches. “Giving back to the One who created me and put these gifts and talents in my heart and soul is the very least I can do” says Chris.
It was in 2011 Chris that met Cliff Young while both leading worship together. Cliff asked Chris to join his own group, ‘Cliff Young & Living Sacrifice’, an R&B/Jazz/Gospel/Christian Soul band. With ‘Living Sacrifice’ they released their premiere album ‘Beauty is to Worship’ summer of 2014 which features Chris’ own composition, ‘Here I Am.’
“I wouldn’t be anything without God and the amazing wife, family and friends He has surrounded me with”.
Breedlove artist Chris Van Duyn playing his Breedlove Master Class D25