TBJ107: Christopher Bill


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TBJ107: Christopher Bill, trombonist, singer, and multi-instrumentalist and internet sensation!

Christopher is a trombonist, singer, and multi-instrumentalist based outside of NYC, but it’s more accurate to say he’s based on the internet. He has been playing piano since he was 6 years old, trombone since he was 10, and he has been composing/arranging since he was 12.

Christopher has a Bachelor of Music for classical trombone performance from the SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Music in New York. While at the conservatory he studied with critically acclaimed trombonists Weston Sprott (Metropolitan Opera), Denson Paul-Pollard (Metropolitan Opera), John Fedchock (Grammy Nominated Jazz Trombonist), and the absolutely incomparable Timothy Albright.

Christopher is best known for his all-trombone arrangements of popular songs. His YouTube Channel has been gaining popularity since the spring of 2014 when a cover of Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” where Christopher uses a looping station to compose the song on the spot went viral. His videos have amassed over 30 million views and a following of over 175,000 subscribers. In April of 2014, Christopher independently released his first cover album, Breakthrough, which was followed by his Christmas album, Smiling’s My Favorite. More recently, Christopher released an original pop album called Half Man, Half Machine which mixes acoustic sounds with electronic instruments. He is the Youth Workshop Coordinator of the International Trombone Festival and a marketing consultant for the International Trombone Association.

Christopher enjoys a busy schedule of performances, clinics, and masterclasses. In addition to producing a new video every Saturday for his YouTube Channel, he often performs at festivals such as the American Trombone Workshop, Midwest Clinic, Texas Bandmasters Association, Con Brio Festivals, Conn-Selmer Institute, Western International Band Clinic, and the International Trombone Festival.

In this fun and lively discussion, we cover:

  • Household name status (in Andrew's house)

  • Recording in Andrew's basement

  • Starting out exactly eight years ago as a freshman in college

  • When it stopped being so cringy

  • How his arranging chops have changed over time

  • Using homework for fun and profit

  • Using the arrangements to further develop as a musician

  • The impact of shirt color in his arrangements

  • How far he plans in advance

  • Taking yourself seriously

  • The importance of consistent uploads

  • He hasn't missed a week in four years

  • The Jerry Seinfeld of Trombone

  • Leave Christopher's Grandmother out of this

  • Two kinds of people: those who think they're cool and those who know they're not

  • The "Take on Me" pic, (worth it)

  • Cease and Desist

  • Living off Patreon and YouTube ad revenue

  • Exploring new platforms

  • Focusing on select existing programs

  • Figuring out what content works for your audience on the various platforms

  • Sticking with it for three years before gaining traction

  • The impact of the "Happy" video on his career

  • What to do for the next project after a viral hit

  • How much is too much for an audience

  • How to do a cover without getting sued

  • Meeting some of the folks who did the originals of the covers he's made

  • Dennis Deyoung busting his hump

  • Andrew's embouchure looks like he's eating a ham sandwich


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  • Show some love to our sponsors: The brass program at The Mary Pappert School of Music at Duquesne University and Parker Mouthpieces (including the Andrew Hitz and Lance LaDuke models.)

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Expertly produced by Will Houchin with love, care, and enthusiasm.