NewTracks New Artist: Chris Bates

NewTracks New Artist: Chris Bates

A few years back, Chris Bates lent his high tenor RnB voice to Here 4 U, a single by Auckland producer and commilitone at Auckland UniversityEdy, who has gone on to be one of the busiest men in NZ music of 2020. In November this year, Bates will be celebrating the launch of his own EP, a collection of songs that he has worked on with Edy and fellow rising R&B star Sam V. Among them will be the single Hold Me, a mostly laid back RnB/pop banger that well illustrates Edy’s beat making chops, alongside Bates’ increasingly confident vocals. This month, he’s featured on NZ On Air Music‘s NewTracks compilation.

What’s your given name? 

My full name is Christopher Allan Bates. To everyone except my mum, I’m Chris Bates.

Was any high school or other music training especially important to you?

Definitely. Studying pop music at university pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me to find myself as an artist. And uni’s where I met most of my closest friends and musical collaborators. 

Any other projects might we know you from?

I’ve released a few singles this year, including collaborations with Jarna and Edy. My recent single, Find a Way, hit the NZ Hot Charts which was pretty sick. 

What’s the background story of how Hold Me came to be? 

I was hanging with my pal Edy and Sam V and like we usually do, we listened to a bunch of music and one of us had the idea of making a Charlie Puth-esque summer vibe. Edy laid down the track and Sam and I wrote our parts. It’s one of the most fun songs I’ve made. We honestly didn’t know it would be anything, we were just having fun making a bit of a banger. It took a few months to release yo, this song’s lit.

How has your writing evolved from your beginnings in songwriting?

I used to write a lot of sad guitar ballads. Then I started writing sad piano ballads. Now I like to think I can write some fun songs from time to time! I’m definitely better than I used to be, let’s not ask me about my old music.

Aside from this release, what’s been the big highlight to date?

On my recent song Find a Way we hit a Spotify playlist and three big Apple Music playlists. I honestly don’t know how that happened, but it’s cool it did!

What makes Hold Me stand out for you as a single?

For me Hold Me stands out because it’s just a lot of fun. I love pop and pop/R&B and I’m proud of the vibe we created. It’s not too serious, it’s super upbeat and I think people will have a lot of fun listening to it. 

What’s your favourite moment, musical or lyrical, of the single?

I reckon the chorus slaps. It’s got some fun melodies, and of course some spice from chord/beat master EDY. 

What would you like listeners to take away from this song?

I just want them to have fun, and most importantly learn Sam V’s rap cos it’s gangsta.

How do you generally work out what song would make a good single?

I think if the song has a strong feeling or message, anything can be a single with Spotify. The pop formula isn’t always necessary, although it definitely helps if it’s hooky and under 10 minutes long. 

Who else is in your team?

Currently, I’m an independent artist, but I consider my friends my team. I’m lucky to have made some cool friends that produce and have some knowledge as to the music industry. My friend from school, Samuel Bernard, takes my photos.

Are there any other musical endeavours you’re working on that we should keep an eye out for?

Yes! I have an EP coming out on October 30 and I’m super proud of it. It’s a compilation of my best music from this year, and it’s called ‘They Don’t Know A Thing About Me’.

Can you please name three other local tunes that would fit well on a playlist alongside your song.

Only 3? I’m currently listening to Midnight by Foley, Night & Day by Wells*, and Waves by Paige to mellow things out. 

Is this your first appearance on NewTracks? Got any advice for others out there? 

Yes, this is my first NZOA feature. But it’s all a process. You can’t rush things. Keep working at your craft and do your best to not focus on external pressures. Easy to say, hard to do, but good things take time!

Was there an NZOA criterion you struggled with in the application? 

I definitely need to do some shows. I’ve done a lot of busking and feature gigs, but never headlined a gig – until now. I have a release gig for my EP on the 4th of November. 

Are there any musical blogs, Youtube channels or podcasts you’re super into?

NZ Musician of course. 😉 I’m also a fan of Sniffers, and are champs.

Any last words?

Thanks to NZ Musician for interviewing me, you guys are awesome. If you wanna follow me you can, EP out on the 30th, release show on the 4th, and more to come! Big appreciation.


New Tracks is a compilation of new music from New Zealand artists which is distributed to broadcast and online platforms on the first of each month. Previously the Kiwi Hit Disc, New Tracks is one of the ways that New Zealand on Air promotes kiwi music to the industry, radio, streaming services, and media. To apply for New Tracks you must have a completed, airplay-ready song and a promotional plan.