Q&A with musician Chris Cauley

By Dan Shade

 Musicians Chris Cauley and Matt Cory performed for students in Redwood Hall Feb. 15. Cauley, an Atlanta native singer and guitarist, was the main attraction of the night, and he is currently competing on NBC’s The Voice. Canton, Ohio saxophonist Matt Cory, who used to share the same agent as Cauley, joined him on stage for the show. The duo sampled musical stylings of Michael Jackson, The Temptations and John Legend, among others. We caught up with Cauley after the show to get his feelings on playing at a university like Ashland.

How do you know Matt Cory?

His old band, they were called Skinny, and they were out of Canton, we used to tour together and Matt would fly down to Atlanta to do shows with me, and I’d fly up here and do shows with him. I actually think in April I’m gonna come up here and do, like, a bar gig for fun, just to kinda go back to the old times and have fun. 

What is it like playing at small colleges like Ashland?

Believe it or not, it’s some of the tougher crowds. From what I’ve found from touring around colleges, is that the college crowd tends to kinda show, “Whatcha got?” 

It’s not like they’re necessarily fans already. You have to win them over and entertain and make them have a good time within an hour. It can be a lot of pressure, but hopefully I can do it. 

How do you prepare for your shows?

Most of the time I do not prepare whatsoever, and it’s on purpose. It’s not me being lazy. In the past I used to write out set lists, and the exact order of everything, but those songs wouldn’t necessarily be for the crowd. You kind of just have to read the crowd. I would end up thinking for an hour and a lot of thought goes into the order and I would waste my time because I would end up changing it on the spot. Now I just show up, and a lot has to do with, “What am I in the mood to play?” If they’re a nice, quiet, attentive crowd, then I can do more slow things, because they’re here to hang out and listen to music, and I’m just happy to be there. It all just depends on the crowd really. 

What do you like most about touring colleges?

It’s a really cool thing to tour colleges. I like to think I’m not that far removed from the college age, so I like to relate to people through what I do. I always try to get across immediately that I want to be silly, I want to be funny because I don’t want them to think, “OK I’ve gotta sit here quietly and listen to this guy,” because who am I? I’m nobody yet. I’ll never walk in with the attitude; I need you to listen to me. I’m not like that; I just like to have a good time.