Born on January 27th, 1995, Chris Goma draws deeply from his roots in the Rwandan musical tradition. His new album, Castle in the Woods, is an eclectic journey through his mind and musical inspiration and is the subject of this R&B music review.
Chris was conceived in Rwanda and born in the United States after his family escaped the Hutu massacre in the country. His family has a strong connection with music: his father won a Fullbright scholarship to the Berkeley School of Music and his older brother is a popular musician in Central Africa.
But it hasn’t been an easy ride for Chris. He was homeless for a time when he moved to California and busked to keep body and soul together. Luckily he later moved in with a producer and vocal coach who helped him begin his journey to professional musician. Hooking up with Prince’s music director was another milestone and Chris credits him with expanding his use of different musical styles and genres.
The album shows this, with each song referencing a different genre and stylistic technique. Ranging from full-blown funk and R&B on ‘Athina’ and ‘Happiest Man in The World’, to Hip Hop vibes and sexy soul in ‘Feel Something’ and ‘Mess With Me’ to outright pop in ‘Halle Berry’. ‘Find Me’, featuring Jozondi is a driving, stomping tour de force to close out the album’s nine songs.
Chris says that the name of the album references a place in our minds (the castle) where we can feel love and acceptance in the forest of the everyday world with all its problems and hardships. He has dedicated the album to his fan’s mental and spiritual journey and it’s an impressive debut from a promising new talent. He’s not just creating music, though. Chris is due to make his Hollywood debut with a screenplay he has written, ‘White Lotus’, that has been picked up and will be airing soon.