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Chris Wrate sits down with the Cul-de-Sac

charles easley

Wrate wears our grey Snapback while he sets up for his show with Kelsea Ballerini and the Rascal Flatts 

Wrate wears our grey Snapback while he sets up for his show with Kelsea Ballerini and the Rascal Flatts 

You have accomplished quite a bit coming from a small town in Wisconsin. What is your story? How did you get to where you are today?

I started to discover some time in high school that I had a real passion for music but I had no idea what it would look like as a career. I thought maybe I'd get a degree and become a teacher but I wound up dropping out of college my first year. A couple years later I went to a Gavin Degraw concert and realized I never thought much about how the people around the artist got their jobs. I wound up looking into how the guitarist got his job and at the same time had applied to a school in Hollywood, CA called musicians institute. The school was unique in that it often brought in auditions for its students to work and tour with various artists and I started to realize that playing the guitar for a living wasn't maybe such a crazy idea. I wound up going to that school and it would eventually got some of my first gigs through connections made at the school.


I think that a lot of people find themselves in "hard times" following their dreams, what was a major point in your career that kept you going?

I'm not sure I had any one defining moment in my career that kept me going. I've had several occasions where I found myself defeated by an audition I lost or struggling through a period of time where I had no work, wondering if the phone would ever ring for a job. It helps in those times to have people who see in you the potential that we can tend to lose sight of when we're in some dark places. I really owe a lot to my wife whom I know God has used as major source of encouragement as well as a great community of friends that kept me pushing until there was breakthrough. Once there is, everything in the rearview begins to make sense.


Who all have you played with?

Kelsea Ballerini, Ariana Grande, Colbie Caillat, David Foster, Randy Jackson, Charice, Cher Lloyd, Lee DeWyze, Deborah Cox, Daniel Powter & more.


Anything up to this point stand out to you? Where you walked on stage and thought to yourself "oh god what am I doing here"? or "oh god I'm going to rock this"?

Haha I think I've said the former of those two more times than the latter. I got to play a half time show at Soldier Field for the Bears vs Packers game of the 2010 NFC championship. I'm a huge Bears fan so that was both one of the best and worst days of my life as they lost to Green Bay but it was amazing to be at that game and have that experience playing on the football stadium I grew up going to. Aside of that, playing Madison Square Garden was probably one of the coolest moments of my career. A definite "what am I doing here" moment.


What would you like for our community to know about you? Besides music what gets you going?

I really love pouring back into people who are on the path I set out on when I first decided to do music. I want to give any sort of advice I may be able to offer up and let people know that our dreams are attainable no matter how crazy they seem. It's important for us to dream while also not separating what our aspirations are with what we may deem as attainable. I just think it's really important for people to pursue their passions and give everything they have to them in order to make dreams reality. It's a tough road to go down but one that's never regretted.


In one word tell us what community means to you.

Community to me is the group of people you continually surround yourself with and work through life with. Your support system. I think as we go through life it's something that grows and strengthens as we continue to learn and be inspired by one another.