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Interview with Aruban guitarist and Berklee College of Music student Chris Kross

Aruba | local Last week here at Live Music Aruba we received a very pleasant invitation for a concert on the Free Winds cruise ship, docked on the harbor of Oranjestad. We can confidently say that it was a night filled with camaraderie fun and of course, rich in local talent. Next we have conducted an interview with Aruba’s up and coming guitarist Mr. Chris Kross that is already making an impact on Aruba’s music scene. In the course of time starting from the basic skill of learning how to tune your own guitar to fingering even the most difficult chords, how did you know that playing the guitar was what you were going to dedicate yourself to? And when did this realization occur. I’ve always liked music. Before playing the guitar I attended lessons for playing the recorder, piano and subsequently forming myself musically on the guitar. The whole process was very joyful. Actually I can’t recall the moment that I realized this was my music instrument. The learning journey is still valuable to me. Tell us where you have studied music and explain the impact that it had on your musical development and personal life. Like I said, I started getting music lessons at a young age. But after receiving guitar lessons my interest to learn more about the musical theories and harmony was immediately awakened. Of course, further musical development comes along with the experience one gains by playing different genres and styles. You are currently in the midst of your academic career in the U.S., who or what ignited the fire in you to to take the first step to pursue a degree in music? My family has always supported my strong desire to pursue a degree in music. Luckily, I am not the first member of my family to study music abroad so, I am familiar with the situation. What are your future plans regarding your music studies? Performing all over the world! What advice would you give to young aspiring Aruban students that want to follow in your footsteps and pursue a music education abroad? Do not let anyone discourage you, just keep following your dreams and you will reach them. Let’s talk about gigs. You are very active; we have seen you playing a broad range of musical styles and performing with various musicians. How did it all start? I’m a very easy going person and I am passionate about the music I play. I guess this helps me make many friends in the music industry. Moreover, I like many different genres and I love playing with various artists that excel in a particular genre as I can learn a lot from them. We attended the Free wind’s benefit concert featuring multiple artists that you organized in August 2017. Everyone was captivated by the concert’s purpose – the concert was held to help you collect funds to pay for your music education. How did this event come together, who were the featured artists and how did you like community’s feedback? It was my mother’s idea to organize a fundraising concert to help us cover the substantial costs of studying at Berklee College of Music. We didn’t have much time to organize the concert because, I was occupied with my presentations at Curaçao. Nevertheless, we managed to gather a group of amazing musicians. The featured artists were my close friends Edjean Semeleer, Josse Brokke, Ron Martis and the musicians Reno Steba, Jeremy Bonarriba and Angelo Kock. It was an honor to have them performing at the concert and it was a pleasure to play with them. The people loved it and I received great comments from the media. This year you will be one of the featured musicians in the famous Caribbean Sea Jazz Festival. Without spoiling too much tell us a little more about this project. For example: who are the musicians involved in this project and what made you decide to include them. Man, just picture Randal Corsen (the great Jazz pianist of Curaçao) on piano, the fabulous Reno Steba on bass and Jeremy Bonarriba on drums! What can go wrong? In the past years I participated in the festival as a musician of many groups but, this time it will be my group and I promise it will be monstrous! Is their anyone you would like to acknowledge for their unconditional help and support? I will always be very grateful to everyone who helped me in my career, starting with my parents and family for always supporting me. My uncle Jessy Beukenboom for hiring me on my very first gig. Jeremy Bonarriba for introducing me to the music scene and hiring me on my first weekly gig as a member of Live Music Aruba’s team. All my music teachers; Chucho Hoek, Ivan Jansen, Serghio Jansen, Franklin Granadillo, Johnny Croes, Carlos Bislip and Reno Steba. My friends and my ex girlfriends. And of course everyone else who supported me. Any last words you would like to add? Never think of music as a competition between peers but as a collaboration instead.

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