Christopher Ho – the otherworldly musician

Christopher Ho, musician. | Photo by Lucas James

Some singers start early in life. Christopher Ho picked up his first guitar at age 15, managed to write a song the day after, and ever since has found his calling.

After a two-year long hiatus, and with ten albums and hundreds of songs in his repertoire, Ho is ready to get back into the limelight performing Jan. 31 at Guilt & Co.

A touch of magic

I was a pretty quiet kid,” says Ho. “Always kind of like a dreamer. For me, I almost need to write music to get things out in the open. The term for me is catharsis, to release the emotions and that is why I was so drawn to it.”

The artist started making CDs in his dorm room while doing his BA in English at the University of Victoria, and has built a faithful fan base over the years. Also dabbling in writing
poems and fictions, Ho says he is mostly influence by the genre of magical realism.

With a music style that is hard to categorise and is in between folk, pop and a bit of rock, Ho’s own creative process also seems to have a touch of magic.

“I would turn off all noises, find a quiet place, usually by a window where I can look out to, and start making up a melody. It will be a flow state, for me that is the best way to write music, some of my best songs are written in the flow state,” he says.

Resonating with the artist, the lyrics of ‘no connection’ express his sentiment on how modern society with all its technological advancements simultaneously connects and isolates people

“But it’s the drawn together life and the pressure of the movement that we’re muted by, so we’re searching for the words as if they’re fireflies, lighting up the road ahead,” sings Ho, in ‘no connection’.

An avid reader, Ho also finds inspiration in poems and books for his music. His album “city of dust”, full of imageries and metaphors, is an allegory to T.S Eliot’s The Waste Land.

“I like to have obscure imagery. It opens the door to different interpretations. It becomes a living work of art. You put it out there and it grows like a tree,” Ho explains with poetic flair.

The inner struggle

Sensitive by nature, the artist says he has suffered from depression most of his life and uses music as a tool to heal and connect with people.

“As a singer/songwriter, you are looking into the deeper layers of the human condition. When I write songs, I find myself going so far into the darkness or into the shadows; I really feel the weight on my shoulder. It is like going into a well to search for this inspiration, and looking back up to give that song to other people, and getting stuck there and start ing to deal with depression,” Ho says.

After achieving some momentum in his music career as a result of winning a CBC radio/Green Couch Production contest out of 200 some talents in 2012, the artist suffered a burnout from extended touring across the country and took a hiatus from 2014 to 2016.

“Music originally was helping me because I was recording at home. As soon as I got out there and showed it to the world, it was the lifestyle and the grind of it and that triggered the depression. How much courage it took to reveal oneself. I didn’t realise how vulnerable it was making me feel until it all blew up in my face,” Ho says.

He said he has since learnt to go about things in a more mindful way and not overextend himself too much.

“Doing art for art’s sake is what keeps me authentic. I am going to be true to myself, to write and present something as genuine as possible,” Ho says.

The hiatus resulted in a new album Places you’ve been, released in late 2017, with a more hopeful tone.

“Sometimes you connect with people on a deeper level when it is more about quality. I might have only reached this many people but for the people I did reach, it makes an impact on them and it means the world to me,” says Ho.

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