Why Christopher Nissen’s music is snug-fit for Asian market
The name Christopher Nissen may not a ring a bell with the general public—not yet, at least—but this hit song he was featured in just might: “Twerk It Like Miley” by Brandon Beal.
The EDM hit song wasn’t really in line with the kind of music Christopher pursues, but it nonetheless opened up doors for the Danish pop star. “I have never had an urban, club hit. I’m just a small part of the song, but it somehow gave me a sneak peek of that market,” he said in an interview at the recent promotional showcase organized by Warner Music Philippines.
The song topped the charts in his native Denmark in 2014, and became popular in Southeast Asia. Here in the Philippines, “Twerk It Like Miley” became a staple in the video/lip sync app Dubsmash, and was used prominently in the noontime variety show, “Eat Bulaga!”
“I loved working on it with Brandon, whom I also collaborated with for my second and third albums. I remember him calling me after the song reached No. 1, and joking that it meant we were going to get Ferraris,” he said. “Sometimes, it takes one song to shake things up.”
But beyond that hit, Christopher is an honest-to-goodness pop singer-songwriter with a strong set of pipes that could go either soulful or flirty. One of his newer material, “Monogamy,” for instance, is a fresh, pop-funk midtempo bop in the same vein as “Attention” by Charlie Puth.
“I experiment with different styles or genres, but at the end of the day, it’s pop melodies that come out of my mouth,” the 26-year-old artist said, adding that his music is a good fit for the Asian market which, he observed, still leans more toward pop.
“There’s a wave of urban and hip-hop music in the west. But it seems that pop is still big here, and so it’s a match for me right now,” he said. “But I don’t intend to conform to that. I will stay true to who I am, stick to my game, and do things that I think are dope. After all, everything comes and goes in waves.”
Christopher is currently promoting his new single, “Irony,” which tackles, among other things, how people use and project themselves on social media.
“We see people posting photos of themselves, looking perfect from perfect angles … But do they actually feel that way?” he said. “There are a lot of young people telling the world about how tough they are and how they have everything figured out, when the truth is, more and more people are getting depressed.”
Christopher, who’s influenced by and looks up to such singers as Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars and John Mayer, has been singing and listening to music “for as long as I can remember.” He won his first talent contest at 12, got signed with a label at 17, then released his first album at 18.
While starting out young in the business gave him a good head start, it also made him more vulnerable to the whims of people around him. “When you’re that young, it can be difficult to know what you truly want. You have people telling you to go this or that direction,” he pointed out. “At one point, I felt like I wasn’t being true to myself.”
“But you grow up and learn from your mistakes. It’s tough.” Christopher added. “Sometimes, you have to stand up for yourself and learn things the hard way.”
Streaming has altered the way people discover new music. Unlike radio, in which you get the chance to have your new releases played in full, music streaming services allow users to skip and dismiss one’s work in mere seconds. Thus, he said, it has become important, now more than ever, for an artist to have creative control over his or her material.
“I did have insecurities when I was younger; I didn’t think I was good enough as a writer. But I always knew that I was going to do my own thing. There are a lot of good singers. But can you produce great songs? Some are lucky and some are just really good and talented. The one thing it all boils down to is practice and hard work,” he said.
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