HE GREW UP in a travelling religious cult, writes songs about his ex-girlfriends and splits his time between fashion modelling and being a successful singer-songwriter.
With such an eventful past, is it any wonder that 35 year-old American Christopher Owens has named his latest solo album A New Testament?
“On my European press tour I’ve been having to explain the concept of the title,” he says. “For someone like me, it’s a real bonus to not just understand the lyrics, but the first language thing makes it easier to explain them. I don’t know what the word would be, but there’s baggage that comes with that phrase that they don’t fully get.”
The ex-Girls singer finds a large amount of his material being inspired by past relationships, which luckily doesn’t have a negative effect on his current one.
“I’ve sung about so many [ex-girlfriends],” he laughs. “I’ve written about girlfriends from a long time ago in a very reflective way. ‘Jamie Marie’ is a song about a girlfriend from a long time ago. If you look at the lyrics, maybe I say their name or I’m talking about them, for the most part I’m talking about how I feel. First of all, I don’t think they feel very invaded as I’m not giving much about them, and second of all, they’ve always been pretty nice songs. My songs about other people are generally nice, not nasty. Doing a whole album about my ex-girlfriend is something I could see being difficult for my current girlfriend, but the reason she is so great and why we’ve been together for as long as we have, is because she doesn’t get hung up on things like that. She knows I wrote that album before we had even met, and she knows this is what I do. She has the ability to see what’s going on and I think she’s okay.”
The Miami native’s latest release is his fifth in as many years – a trend he is keen to continue.
“I just like to record as much as possible,” he says. “Part of me would say I should be doing two a year, because I have the songs and the ideas already, but it’s good to take a little breath and pause, and make things stand the test of time in a way; give the songs a year or two to see if I still think they’re good after that. But I think at least one a year is a good year. It’s like a Woody Allen film or an Ingmar Bergman film, you know? There are a few people who can keep that pace, and if I can keep that pace, I think I’ll be doing well.”
With a heavily reflective mood to the album, will A New Testament bring a little peace to Owens?
“I’d say I’m doing better now, for sure,” he says. “I don’t want to get into things I could complain about, like my upbringing. I never went to school, for example. I’m going to wish I went to school for the rest of my life; I know that. I can count many things I’m very happy to have. This album is just out, and my mind is already on the next.”
A NEW TESTAMENT BY CHRISTOPHER OWENS IS OUT NOW.