Danish pop icon Christopher comes back to Shanghai, lets fans dig 'Under the Surface'

Called the "Danish Justin Bieber and a Justin Timberlake-ish treasure … " Christopher sticks to the principle of staying true to himself and doesn't let anybody else define him.
SSI ļʱ

Shot by Zhou Shengjie. Edited by Zhong Youyang. Subtitles by Wang Xinzhou and Andy Boreham.

Smiling Danish pop star Christopher wowed Shanghai recently with his range of voice and performance.

He played at the BANDAI NAMCO Shanghai Base Dream Hall, which has a room for more than 1,000 people. With his tenor voice, pitch-perfect falsetto and his dazzling smile, the 27-year-old singer-songwriter kicked off his concert here with his pop and R&B blended track “Limousine.”

Danish pop icon Christopher comes back to Shanghai, lets fans dig 'Under the Surface'
Courtesy of Warner Music

Danish singer and songwriter Christopher kicked off his concert here with his pop and R&B blended track “Limousine” in Shanghai.

To the audience’s pleasure, the pop icon sang and danced to “Tulip,” “Told You So,” “Twerk It Like Miley,” “CPH Girls” and “I Won’t Let You Down” and brought on his acoustic set with “Heartbeat,” “My Heart,” “High,” and “Waterfall.”

The Copenhagen native who speaks very little Chinese treated his fans with a cover of a popular Mandarin song “How Have You Been.”

Two days before Shanghai, the artist started his China tour in Guangzhou to great acclaim.

Before the concert, Shanghai Daily sat down with the blue-eyed musician with rosy cheeks and tanned skin to talk about his journey through life and his music.

Danish pop icon Christopher comes back to Shanghai, lets fans dig 'Under the Surface'
Song Xinyi / SHINE

Smiling Danish pop star Christopher wowed Shanghai recently with his range of voice and performance at  the BANDAI NAMCO Shanghai Base Dream Hall. 

Born in January 1992 and brought up in a family full of love and confidence in the Copenhagen suburb of Kastrup as Christopher Nissen, he showed an interest in being on stage when he was in third grade, winning a talent show on his primary school.

But what initially inspired him to be a singer-songwriter was when he started writing his own songs at 12. “That was when it changed for me,” he said.

“The moment that you write something from the heart or something you really feel to someone you care about, you will get these whole sensations.”

An amateur songwriter and singer sitting in his parents’ basement practicing guitar as a teen, Christopher decided to go to EMI in Copenhagen, Denmark, now part of Warner Music, uninvited just to try his luck when he was 17.

“I just came with a lot of confidence,” he told Shanghai Daily. “And I always have this sort of weird, super confidence.”

“I think I got it from my mom,” he added.

And after playing a few of his own songs and tracks from his musical inspiration John Mayer — who's also his guitar and singer-songwriter hero, his beautiful voice was signed to the label a couple of days later.

Danish pop icon Christopher comes back to Shanghai, lets fans dig 'Under the Surface'
Instagram: christophermusiccom

While many of his old tracks are linked to getting girls and romantic relationships, Christopher, the singer-songwriter who dreams of singing a duet with Beyoncé, demonstrates his new album on some self-introspective songs like “Grow Up” and “Irony.”

Inspired by big names like Michael Jackson and Bruno Mars, Christopher’s staple works are about love, self-reflection, personal experience and “what is going on in the world.”

In 2011, he debuted with the single “Against the Odds,” a funky pure pop ballad, and a year later he followed up with “Nothing in Common,” which entered the Danish Single Chart at number five and later won International Federation of the Phonographic Industry’s Platinum certification.

Compared with the artist’s former three albums — “Colours,” and two IFPI Golds “Told You So” and “Closer” — the latest “Under the Surface” shows the natural development of Christopher as an artist with maturity and honesty.

Danish pop icon Christopher comes back to Shanghai, lets fans dig 'Under the Surface'
Courtesy of Warner Music

The cover of Christopher’s single “Tulips”

In the process of creating new tunes, the music artist completely opened up to his audience and included lyrics and lines from the feelings deep within his heart. “It’s super scary because if people don’t like the song, you feel like they don’t like you ‘cause you’re the song,” said Christopher. “If you have something that is really precious, it means that is a part of you.”

While many of his old tracks are linked to getting girls and romantic relationships, the singer-songwriter who dreams of singing a duet with Beyoncé demonstrates his new album on some self-introspective songs like “Grow Up” and “Irony.”

Danish pop icon Christopher comes back to Shanghai, lets fans dig 'Under the Surface'
Courtesy of Warner Music

The cover of Christopher’s new album “Under the Surface”

The later one has received a lot of attention on social media.

In that very personal and special song, he wrote his experience of trying to save the planet by sticking to a vegan diet, trying to be the perfect child and hiding his new tattoo from his parents and becoming a social media addict who gets anxious every time his phone is out of reach. “I wanted to show my two sides of myself — the one in front of the camera, the really polished one, the edited version — and the version behind the camera,” he said. “Everything that’s going on behind the scenes.”

“(The song) is about me being real, and that will hopefully make the fans realize that they like me more. They don’t appreciate anyone being fake. At least, that’s what I think.”

Danish pop icon Christopher comes back to Shanghai, lets fans dig 'Under the Surface'
Courtesy of Warner Music

The cover of Christopher’s single “Irony”

Called the “Danish Justin Bieber, the Prince of music in Denmark, a Justin Timberlake-ish treasure … ” the divo always sticks to the principle of staying true to himself and doesn’t let anybody else define him.

“I just want to be and feel I just am Christopher,” he explained to Shanghai Daily about why he chose only his first name as his stage name.

“It’s the coolest thing to me that you don’t need a last name to be like, ‘yeah, I know what you’re talking about.’”

The artist created another three tracks — “The Chancer,” “My Heart” and “Just Kiss Me” — in collaboration with English producer and musician Jamie Scott, a talent scout with a “mentor vibe.”

“He got the best out of me,” Christopher said with a grin. “And that’s the whole skill set you need for that top stuff. He really did push me.”

Danish pop icon Christopher comes back to Shanghai, lets fans dig 'Under the Surface'
Wang Xinzhou / SHINE

Christopher in the interview with Shanghai Daily before his concert

The connection between the pop star — with an affable and humble personality — and China probably dates back to 2010 when the young star unintentionally wrote “Waterfall,” a song with exotic Chinese vibes, with very little understanding of Chinese culture at the time.

In 2015, he was named “Most Promising International Artist” by Chart Awards 2015 — The Chinese Music Awards — and had seven number one singles on the Chinese QQ Music Chart, which gave him his first China tour in 2017 that he acclaimed as “one of the most memorable moments in his career so far.”

Danish pop icon Christopher comes back to Shanghai, lets fans dig 'Under the Surface'
Courtesy of Warner Music

Christopher visits Shanghai Disney Resort before the show. 

Before his debut in China, the rising star at that time had no expectations.

He thought barely 50 people or less would show up. But when the band walked on stage, he saw more than 3,000 people in a venue in Beijing for his first show. “It just blew my mind,” he said.

“I couldn’t believe it. With all these Chinese people, I was like ‘did you all just come here to see me? The blonde kid from Copenhagen?’” said the amazed singer. “It was also crazy in Guangzhou. They (the fans) knew all the songs, they were singing all the lyrics.”

Danish pop icon Christopher comes back to Shanghai, lets fans dig 'Under the Surface'
Courtesy of Warner Music

Christopher in rehearsal before his show in Shanghai

Starting out and getting famous at a very young age with stunning looks and gifted voice, the music artist never forgets where he’s from and keeps his feet on the ground.

In Danish society, janteloven — a philosophy that encourages people to be modest and not compete with others — is chiseled into the culture. “I’m really grateful for that I grew up in a culture that kept me grounded, kept me humble, even though I rose to success very quickly. I thank the Danish mentality and culture and especially my parents for bringing me up this way,” he said.

His stardom has not quite yet reached the ranks of Justin Bieber or Shawn Mendes, and fans as well as music reviewers often describe him as “an underrated star who deserves greater international fame.”

Looking into the States and other bigger markets with the predominance of rap music in the industry, the singer who’s not afraid of showing his true colors feels content to stick to his beloved pop melodies and go wherever his music has more influence.

While holding big dreams like winning a Grammy and performing at Madison Square Garden, Christopher shared his ultimate goal — happiness, as influenced by hygge, a Danish lifestyle of not worrying about anything, being in the moment, having a good time and enjoying yourself.

“I came to the conclusion that to me it is all about not repeating myself and getting new experiences every day and traveling. I love traveling and seeing the world. I love that I am here right now, on the 46th floor with the skyline, doing an interview over Shanghai with Shanghai Daily. That’s the stuff that makes me go like, ‘wow! That was crazy. I will never forget that,’” he said.

Danish pop icon Christopher comes back to Shanghai, lets fans dig 'Under the Surface'
Courtesy of Warner Music

“I’m really grateful for that I grew up in a culture that kept me grounded, kept me humble, even though I rose to success very quickly. I thank the Danish mentality and culture and especially my parents for bringing me up this way,” said Christopher.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never break me” might be the most appropriate to describe the mentally strong singer. As an artist whose Instagram handle has more than 500,000 followers and single music video has more than 15 million views on Youtube, he never deals with all the critics and hates on him on social media. “I couldn’t care less and I shouldn’t,” he said. “It doesn’t even come close to all the good things that have been said, or all the compliments, or all the people that I have motivated, helped or inspired or just enjoyed my music or following what I am doing.”

Danish pop icon Christopher comes back to Shanghai, lets fans dig 'Under the Surface'
Courtesy of Warner Music

The newly wedded Christopher composed “I Got You,” a new track about his love life with his wife. 

Constantly working on new songs, the newly wedded musician composed “I Got You,” a new track about his love life with his wife, and the up coming album will be about the next chapter of his life entering a new era, which will include more life-reflection and what’s prominent in his life. “I hope that I can keep staying true to who I am and find that thing that differentiates me from every other person, just be myself and find that inspiration that would write that song,” he added.

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