“The EP has a pretty cool story: the project was mostly produced by himself at Earth,Wind, & Fire’s little known private studio in Los Angeles. Making things more interesting is how the album was recorded: almost everything was analog and performed live.”
Over the past two years, singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist McClenney has celebrated a number of landmark career achievements. To date, he has earned a Grammy certificate win for his production on H.E.R’s “Gone Away,” a Grammy nomination for production on Khalid’s smash hit “Location,” and production on projects for Smino, Marco McKinnis, Shady Records artist Boogie’s LP Everything For Sale, and more. Today, McClenney is branching off on his own and establishing his identity as a solo artist with a brand new EP titled ‘I’m Not Here.’
Our first glimpse into the project came via single “SOS,” a slow-burning R’n’B cut that has already clocked in over 100K streams on Spotify alone since its release in February. The project also bears a first for McClenney on new single“Love In The Sky” that demonstrates the first ever guest feature on one of his tracks as he tapped critically acclaimed duo April + Vista to add their vocals and production. For the remainder of the EP, McClenney has contributed three additional cuts titled “the Fear,” “Art Of The Loner,” and “quiet/us.” With the exception of “SOS,” ‘I’m Not Here’ was written, produced, and performed solely by McClenney- a now common theme of all his solo projects.
“Lyrically and thematically, the project has many layers but at its core, it’s about disassociation and creation outside of seeking approval or fame from others. Anti-clout essentially. Everybody wants clout these days, I want the opposite, privacy. My message is about sincerity and encouraging people to what they like because they want do, not because they want attention. Silent leadership.”
Much of the influence of “I’m Not Here” stems from legendary act Earth, Wind, & Fire. Written and recorded at Earth, Wind, & Fire’s little known private studio from the 70s & 80s in LA, a place where modern artists such as Frank Ocean, Rhye, Boogie and legendary artists Prince, Quincy Jones, Fleetwood Mac, Dr. Dre, and Snoop Dogg, have also recorded, ‘I’m Not Here’ finds a special home preserving the legacy of the group while solidifying a new one for McClenney. “To me, creating there is much more than myself,” explains McClenney. “My purpose was to craft a message and work with traditional tools to make modern music
Currently based in Los Angeles, Chris McClenney remains deeply connected to his roots in the DMV (DC, Maryland, VA area). Having birthed artists that are now at the forefront of modern R&B such as Dijon, Gallant, Brent Faiyaz, JPEG Mafia, and April + Vista, McClenney joins the ranks as one of the most impactful contemporary artists from the DMV area. You also may be familiar with Chris thanks to his Alternative R&B playlist placements on Spotify, as well as his feature as the cover image for this playlist. He’s rounded it all out with time on the road with Red Bull Sound Select & Bibi Bourelly, and upcoming will be the face of Amazon Music’s “Introducing: R&B” playlist. With a debut LP currently in the works, Chris McClenney’s voice is one that will soon become inescapable.