Songwriter/producer, Chris Henderson is still glowing from the success of the smash hit, “Blame It”. He is responsible for co-writing and producing the single released on Jamie Foxx’s Intuition. The single made its way to # 1 on the Billboard Music Charts and won a Grammy for best performance by a duo or group in 2009. The Detroit native who is currently living in Atlanta has a lot to be thankful for. He has worked with everyone from R-Kelly to Trey Songz to T-Pain and a list of music’s elite. His credits also include the memorable “Happily Ever After” song by Case.
Parlé met up with Chris in NYC in the lounge of the Hilton:
Parlé: It’s a pleasure to meet you.
Chris Henderson: Thanks for having me.
Parlé: How long have you been in the music industry?
Chris Henderson: I guess officially wow I guess ten years. I’ve actually been active since about 94. But when my first opportunities came I was with Teddy Riley’s camp. I was in school then so I wasn’t going hard at it.
Parlé: What was the title of the first song you produced?
Chris Henderson: My first credited song was “Happily Ever After”. Before that I’d done the remix to Blackstreet’s “Before I Let You Go”. I also did a song for 112 myself and Young Lord called “Be With You”.
Parlé: What was your second hit?
Chris Henderson: “Blame It” was my second hit. I had other placements but “Blame it” was a hit.
Parlé: Did you write “Blame It”?
Chris: I did along with a couple other guys. The thing is the song traveled and I shopped the song with only the first verse and the hook. With that it was only two people involved. It was me who did the track, the first verse and the entire melody but the lyrics for the hook came from one other writer. T-Pain wrote his verse so by the end it was several co-writers.
Parlé: How did Jamie end up with the song?
Chris: At the time of this record I didn’t have management. So I was relying on my network of contacts. Since there wasn’t one key person shopping it, the process got chaotic & was passed around to Young Joc and R. Kelly before reaching Jamie’s people through another producer who was working on the project.
Chris: He is a cool real humble dude. I guess because he is an actor he is used to taking directions and it was like all ego all frustration was out the window. He came in the door basically saying I want to sound just like the demo. He said I don’t want to sound like myself. It was one of my favorite experiences I’ve worked with much smaller acts and haven’t gotten that kind of respect.
Parlé: Who have you worked with that were smaller and not such a great experience?
Chris: You know what I could tell you but you wouldn’t know the names. They didn’t end up releasing the albums they were working on, yet were the worst sessions of my life attitude & ego wise.
Parlé: Do you feel like a celebrity?
Chris: No, not at all. It’s funny that you ask that cause there were some people in the lobby that wanted me to listen to their stuff when you came and I guess that was a little weird.
Parlé: So you didn’t know those people?
Chris: No, they wanted me to listen to some of their stuff and give them some stuff to write to. The girl is an aspiring songwriter and the guy is her manager.
Parlé: Okay! That was nice of you.
Chris: Yeah, thanks but I’ll give them a little more if time permits it.
Parlé: How long will you be in NYC?
Chris: Just until tomorrow. I’m down here for the EMI writer’s summit. They get a lot of us writers and producers together who have publishing deals with them and basically have labels come in & tell us what their looking for. It gives us an edge.
Parlé: Do you ever plan on being a performer?
Chris: No, I don’t want no parts of it..It’s like if I ever wanted anything, it would be for my work to be big. Of course I’d want my name associated with the big work but as far as having a famous face, I’ll leave that for the people who really want it. I came into this thinking I had some cool music and I wanted people to hear it and like it. I just believe fame starts to isolate you.
Parlé: Are you addicted to any of the online social networks like Twitter, MySpace or Facebook?
Chris: Wow, yes Facebook. Because it was like any name I typed in I could find. I was looking for all my old elementary school friends. I think I found them all. That became my obsession typing in names and seeing them.
Parlé: So what do you think about the Jamie Foxx & Howard Stern beef?
Chris: I didn’t know anything about.
Parlé: Howard Stern implied that he has dirt on Jamie stuff that he wouldn’t want released. Suggesting Jamie may be a homosexual. This was after Jamie stated Howard isn’t relevant anymore.
Chris: The problem is your going to find pictures of Jamie in a wig he played Wanda. Otherwise that I aint touching that one. I don’t think he’s gay, I think it’s said about almost every black male in the entertainment business. I don’t think you can be in the business without someone saying ‘oh I heard he gay’.”
Parlé:How is it living in Atlanta, also known as the black gay capital of the US?
Chris: I don’t know if I can say, I gotta go back there. I know certain weekends you don’t want to be at Lenox Mall. I came to Atlanta so I could studio hop, trade ideas with other people and grow.
Parlé: Where do you see yourself going from here?
Chris: Well I’m developing a new artist and I’ll continue making music. I’m not looking for another hit but if it happens that’s great. I just want to make great music and if a hit comes from that I’m happy.
Parlé: Thanks for letting us introduce you to our audience.
Chris: Thank you.
Written by Shanique Byrd
Images by Christian Ortiz
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