Have you ever discovered a new artist that restored your faith in music? Chris Mardini’s new, self-titled debut album may do just that. A born and raised New Yorker who was deeply influenced by artists like Nirvana and Led Zeppelin, Mardini has been making waves with his raw songwriting and powerful delivery that seems to capture the mood of his generation.

Viscerally charged but intricately detailed, Mardini’s galvanizing brand of alt-rock fuses perfectly with his exploration of alienation and insecurity, self-sabotage and social pressure. His recent single “Shadows” highlights his razor-sharp wordplay and quietly commanding vocal flow, while his previous single - the gloriously soaring “I’ll Try” - delivers what Chris described as “an anthem of introspection and doubt in myself.” “I feel like I owe it to myself and to the people listening to be as genuine as possible in my music,” he told SPIN Magazine.

We spoke with Mardini about his debut album, his musical influences, and his plans for the coming year. Read on below!

Chris, you’ve had quite a lot of success for your recently released self-titled album. How does it feel to be getting so much attention?

It’s been a pretty crazy ride so far! It’s incredible to see how many people care enough to give me their reactions and support! It’s definitely a motivator for me. I always intend for my music to affect other people’s lives: To hear feedback from so many people from everywhere; that’s the goal. I can’t wait to keep putting music out there and hopefully expand my fanbase!

We’ve read that you were very influenced by Led Zeppelin and Nirvana. What was it about these two artists that had such an impact on you?

Man, both Zep, and Nirvana have impacted me, not just as a musician but as a person. I had two separate year-long phases with each, in which they’d literally be the only type of music I’d listen to. They’ve both played a role in inspiring me to write my own songs, but no one’s been more inspirational to me than Kurt Cobain. The man is a legend, and I’ve always been in awe of his ability to write such anthemic yet dark, heavy melodies and lyrics. One of the best compliments I can possibly receive on my music is that it’s reminiscent of Kurt’s style.

You cut your teeth performing in venues around Manhattan. How did the city and this experience influence you as an artist?

It’s always kind of hard to answer these types of questions since I’ve never really known anything other than the city. I had a really great experience growing up in NYC, and I think it thoroughly prepared me to face the world. It’ll always be my home. I’ve been playing shows all over the city ever since I was around 11 years old. I’m really thankful for those shows I played so early on since they gave me a taste of what would ultimately become my passion. There’s also nothing like playing a show in front of all my New York homies. They’ve had my back for years, and I have a feeling they’ll continue to for a while.

Your lyrics have an almost poetic quality to them. Is poetry and creative writing something that is important to you?

I used to be fond of creative writing. I liked the idea of vomiting words of my own ideological creation onto a piece of paper and trying to make sense of them. However, as I grew older and climbed the high school ladder, English classes incorporated less and less of this type of writing in their curriculums. This was, in part, the reason why I decided to start writing so much of my own music. I needed a muse. Something in which I could illustrate my own vulnerability. It helped that I already had experience singing and playing guitar. Although I’ve never gravitated towards poetry much, I’ll always be Shel Silverstein’s biggest fan!

How would you describe your music to the uninitiated?

Always such a tough question! I like to say dark, alt-rock, with a twist of hip-hop. I always hate my answer to this question since I aspire for my music to be so much more than whatever I label it. But I’m sure this is a common struggle for many artists.

Are you planning to perform the new album live this year?

Yes! 100%. I’ve been amassing a following out here at Washington University in St. Louis, and I’m really hoping to go on some kind of tour over the summer! Until then, I’ll be playing shows in both NYC and St. Louis!

What’s coming up for you next year?

More music! More vibes! Live Shows! Planning on releasing the hounds and putting together something special for people aware and unaware of my music. I’ve been waiting to release so many songs that I think will add additional depth to my work as an artist. Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me!

Website I Facebook I Instagram I Twitter I YouTube I Spotify