About Chris

Sometimes you have to leave a place or a life situation to realize everything you needed and wanted was always there. Dream-pop artist Chris Baluyut’s family members are in a popular 1990s indie-rock band, and he grew up in one of the most creatively vibrant cities in the world, New York City. Yet, it took him moving to Tokyo with a suitcase, a small backpack, and travel-sized acoustic guitar to realize his purpose was to be a musician in NYC.  

“Going so far away where no one knew me, and very few people spoke English, gave me a clean slate. You don’t get many opportunities in life like that—permission to reinvent yourself,” Chris says. He continues: “There was a close-knit music community in Japan of expats, and they were so supportive—they gave me the confidence to believe I could do something as daunting as becoming a musician.” 

Chris has since gone on to release music and perform regularly around NYC and beyond. His songwriting explores emotional journeys, interpersonal relationships, and our inner world of feelings and thought processes. He counts Bon Iver, the Japanese House, James Blake, and Explosions In The Sky as primary inspirations. His debut EP, Leap Year, has garnered critical raves from Jammerzine.com, Comeherefloyd.com, and Anrfactory.com. That release explored ethereal folk with organic instrumentation. Chris has since evolved into an artist who explores atmospheric soundscapes grounded by defined rhythmic pulses. His carefully-curated aesthetic spans dream-pop, electro-pop, post-rock, and folktronica. His latest songs are more impressionistic, conjuring landscapes, and visual representations of emotions.

Chris grew up surrounded by a musical family. His father, uncle, and godmother are in Versus, and another of his uncles started the indie-rock/math-rock band +/- {Plus/Minus}. “They were hip,” he affirms. “My parents had me when they were young. I remember the three B’s, Björk, Beck, and Built to Spill being played all the time in my house growing up.” From elementary school through high school, family members would bring Chris to gigs all around NYC. At 14, inspired by the classic rock and indie rock playing in his house, Chris started playing guitar, and eventually played a show with Versus when he was still in high school.   

He would go onto play guitar and sing in college, but music was still a fleeting endeavor. Post college, and after working for a couple of years, Chris embarked on a busking and backpacking trip around Europe which resulted in a move to Tokyo, Japan. While living there for almost five years, Chris started to take songwriting and a potential career in music seriously.  

This was a profoundly transformative time for Chris. He collaborated with other musicians, and soaked up a myriad of Japanese and Western styles of music from Tokyo's melting pot of a music community. He released his debut during this period of creative awakenings in 2018, and played the Kathmandu Come Together Music Festival in Kathmandu, Nepal later that year.  

As Chris’s musical growth accelerated, so did his career ambitions. His songwriting and production vision evolved from indie folk/folk-rock to his current downtempo dream-pop and electro pop style. And after a beautiful stretch of time in Tokyo, he decided to return home to NYC in the Fall of 2020, having honed his songwriting skills and solidified his musical identity. “Being back home, in certain ways it feels like the first time I’m experiencing the city. I spent 25 years here growing up, but I am experiencing a powerful time of rediscovery,” he says.  

Chris will be releasing a three-single series in 2022. These new tracks will showcase his electro-pop sensibility, and they will be the first music Chris has released since 2018. These songs showcase an expanded sense of textural artistry, and they feature spacy synths, vocal effects, vocoder, harmonies, layered ambience, and electronic drums.   

Now, Chris plans to lay down roots in the city of his roots. Back in October, 2021, he performed for the first time since returning, and shared his new stylistic direction to a warm welcome. “It was a huge weight off my shoulders,” he says with palpable relief. “It was the first time since college that I performed in front of and in my city—it was monumental for me.”