About Chris Renzema
A singer and songwriter who blends contemporary indie folk with a strong Christian message, Chris Renzema makes music that's atmospheric and ethereal as it speaks of his relationship with faith. Renzema's plaintive vocals are a solid match for the evocative melodies and deeply personal lyrics, with his debut album, 2018's I'll Be the Branches, standing as both a popular success and a solid introduction to his creative approach.
Chris Renzema was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1995. He grew up as a regular church-goer and a committed Christian, and when he was in high school he began playing guitar and writing songs as a way of expressing his inner feelings and his faith. Influenced by '70s folk, contemporary indie singer/songwriters, adventurous Christian artists like John Mark McMillan, and Wilco (he often cites them as his favorite band), Renzema was soon performing at his local church, and after a mission trip to Guatemala after he graduated from high school, he decided it was time to document some of his work. Saving up money from his part-time jobs, Renzema recorded his debut EP, 2014's Age to Age, in just 19 hours. The following year, he moved to Nashville, where he worked odd jobs while trying to make his way into the music business.
Renzema followed the EP with a single, "Son of God," in 2017, but he found his first real success with his first full-length album, 2018's I'll Be the Branches. Produced and released by Renzema himself, I'll Be the Branches became a popular item on streaming services, with one track from the release, "How to Be Yours," receiving over nine million plays on popular streaming services, while the album's "I Don't Wanna Go" racked up more than six million streams and "Found" was played more than four million times. In the wake of the album's success, the Christian label Centricity Music signed Renzema to a recording contract. His second full-length release, Let the Ground Rest, was released in April 2020. The album appeared in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which prevented him from touring. To show support for his fans as well as local businesses around the country, Renzema bought hundreds of gift cards from independent coffee shops in several markets where he has been scheduled to play, telling his followers on social media, "I decided that I want to buy you a cup of coffee for when this is all over." ~ Mark Deming