For those new to the name, who are you and what do you do?
Kris Warren is the name. I’m a filmmaker, music artist, and a marketing professional. I’m basically just a regular middle-class guy living his dreams.
You have an incredibly positive movement with ‘Music Is My Therapy’, how did you discover the necessity for this in the urban world and what was your creative approach to the overall project?
I actually wrote the song “Music Is My Therapy,” not knowing that music therapy was a real health treatment option. I always used music to pass through certain bumps in the road on the highway of life and to express myself. After the track gained some traction, I decided to Google ‘music therapy’ — That’s when my whole world changed. This was in August 2013. I immediately wondered why this was my first time hearing about music therapy. At that point, I decided to start researching music therapy and meeting with professionals in the field to learn more. Why not document the research, right? That’s how the documentary came about. It was completely impromptu and organic. As for the “urban world,” I am actually focusing on music therapy as a whole because we use music in every culture, so I think to classify or only market to the “urban world” does not do the documentary justice. We, as people, need to come together no matter where we are from and appreciate the benefits of music collectively. Music bridges gaps and brings people together.
A lot of rap artists don’t publicize their positive efforts within their community with the fear they may lose street credibility. How do you feel about positive influence within hip hop music?
It’s pretty annoying that people are worried about “street cred.” The traditional media doesn’t help this situation either. They actually fuel the fire. TI and Floyd Mayweather have an altercation and it’s front page news. Where is the story about TI and Mayweather’s work ethic and how these guys work their asses off to reach the top of their field? Nobody wants to talk about that though, right? So, I feel it’s up to the people to create and distribute positive media. Hence, the documentary. Growing up as a kid watching people’s moves, like Jay-Z, 50 cent, TI, and Nelly gave me motivation to not be bound to the typical stereotypes. All those guys I just named have their own brands and businesses outside of rap. They are people doing what they love to do and they create jobs for people. That’s hella positive. But where are all the stories on that?
Take us on your journey thus far, where have you filmed and what social issues have you focused on thus far?
I’ve filmed people and live sessions from all over the U.S. — Florida, California, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Arizona, Michigan and Colorado. Now we are looking to go overseas. I’m blending cultures. In a couple words, that’s pretty much it. I’m breaking down a lot of the stereotypical social barriers and letting people know we are all just the same and can work together. Music shows us that. It is amazing that music can bring people from different backgrounds into the same room. Think about attending a concert of your favorite music artist. There are people from all nationalities and cultures surrounding you. It makes it easier to immediately connect with someone you don’t know. No matter how different we think we are, we still have one thing in common: Music!
How has the response from music therapy professionals been thus far?
Great vibes. LOL. That pretty much describes the community. We are all trying to accomplish the same goal: Raising awareness for music therapy. When people met me face-to-face, I melted away some of the preconceived notions of certain people who were not initially on board. All the music therapists I met know I am just as passionate as they are and we are all on the same team.
As an independent artist, how have you been able to accomplish all of this on your own?
Yes, I’m independent in the sense that I’m not signed to any major label, but when it comes to my team, I’m far from independent. Look at some of the larger corporations, they have a person in each field to focus on what they do best. It’s all about focusing on your strengths and delegating the rest. I have people that help with press, graphics, consulting, etc. My success is their success. We are all trying to reach a common goal and be successful in our respective fields. That is what makes this thing called “independent” work. You can’t do it all by yourself.
Let’s talk about Kickstarter. Why did you decide to start one? How do you feel it will help the cause?
I wanted more people than just my next door neighbor to know about it. When you start involving people from other states and other countries, it’s a big deal. Our audience will be larger and more people will talk about it if it’s a worldwide movement. That’s exactly what we want. It’s all about awareness. Think about the World Cup and Olympics — People know about these events and talk about them worldwide because they both involve people from many countries. In order for us to effectively get the word out and make a substantial impact in the way people think, we have to market globally.
What is the end result for ‘Music Is My Therapy’ and what do you hope to prove or accomplish?
Right now, there are only about 6,000 music therapists in the U.S. Out of all the music therapists I met with, only two of them had heard about music therapy before college. That is a problem. More people should know at an earlier age that music therapy is a career option and also a health treatment option. The main goal is raising awareness.
Talk about the soundtrack. Will it mirror the project or will you cover additional topics? How will it differ from your EP slated to drop later in 2015?
The documentary in a whole stands alone from my personal music. These are two separate projects with two separate messages. Although in my upcoming EP entitled, When I Grow Up, I do talk about my journey and some of the relationships I made while filming this documentary. People have to realize my music is my personal therapy. The content I talk about in my music might make certain people feel uncomfortable or they might disagree with my point of views, but it’s my music that I make to express myself; I’m an artist. Regarding the documentary and the soundtrack, these will both be bigger than my music. The vision is bigger than my music. The songs on the soundtrack will be from me and other collaborators in the artist community, as well as a few music therapists. We will touch on some of the topics that are in the documentary like autism, Parkinson’s disease, coping with addiction etc. I’m very excited about the project. It’s going to be dope.
Where can we find the documentary and video clips online?
Straight on the website www.MusicTherapyDocumentary.Com. There’s also an exclusive clip on the Kickstarter page at http://bit.ly/musictherapykickstarter. The first clip shows a guy being able to sing a phrase, but not being able to speak it.
Official Press Release
TuneCore, an online distribution company known for empowering independent music artists, has teamed up with Chicago music artist Kris Warren and his enterprise, Galaxy Media Group, to help promote content and distribute the soundtrack for Music Is My Therapy: MusicTherapyDocumentary.Com, a powerful documentary that follows a group of dedicated Music Therapists as they use music as a tool to help their clients reach non-musical goals.
Depression, Autism, Parkinson’s Disease, Stroke, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Cerebral Palsy, Veterans, Blind, and Hospice might ring a bell when you think of loved ones, but this prolific documentary demonstrates how powerful of a role music can play in treating theses populations.
“This documentary started as a song in my head about my personal inadequacies,” Warren said of his inspiration behind the project.
“Music has served as therapy for me throughout my whole life, but I never knew it was a viable health treatment option until recently. I was dumbfounded and disappointed that more people were not aware of Music Therapy and that’s when this project began. I decided to document my journey. Now a year later, you see…” he concluded.
TuneCore Senior Director of Artist Promotions and Strategic Relationships Chris Mooney shares Warren’s sentiment, adding, “TuneCore is excited about Kris Warren’s project and will be supporting his efforts by distributing the soundtrack through our broad digital music partner network. We will promote the release and the documentary to our partners within the TuneCore artist community.”
Having already secured footage in eight states within the U.S., Warren is now set to take his project abroad. As he looks to film internationally in Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, Germany, South Korea, and the United Kingdom, Warren hopes to raise funds via his Kickstarter campaign, which supports his mission to bring awareness to Music Therapy.
For more information on the project, please visit www.musictherapydocumentary.com. To contribute to the cause, please visit http://bit.ly/musictherapykickstarter.