About Chris

“My ideas for songs come from observing society, humanity, and the mystery of life on earth. I’m a lifelong truth seeker committed to sharing my insights and discoveries through the universal language of music.”

Chris Birkett, Canadian artist, songwriter, and musician

Multiple award-winning singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist Chris Birkett has traversed the music industry landscape, collaborating with many world-renowned artists to create timeless songs that have inspired and entertained music lovers everywhere.

Now making his home in Toronto, Canada, Chris continues writing, recording, and releasing new music to his loyal legion of fans while reaching new listeners with his messages of spirituality and enlightenment. Along with his solo work, he plays with two Toronto-area bands: The Free Spirits and The Happy Campers.

You can also see Chris playing his original music live at music venues, clubs, festivals, fairs, and online.

“It was such an honour seeing you perform last night. You are so much more than just a performer, you are kind of like this embodiment of what the Universe would present itself as if it were a human. You are super captivating on stage, and your humility is truly endearing.

You spoke of wanting to leave a legacy, but you maybe aren’t even aware that you have already established one. It’s really not a matter of whether or not you’ll leave one, but actually a matter of how big it will be.

All of the songs you performed last night spoke to me in one capacity or another. Whether it was expressing your love for Mother Nature (she must feel so honoured that you wrote her a song) or whether it was inviting the audience to vocalize how they are fans of themselves (that is such a great sing along song!).

I can see how much you matter in this world. You have this endearing approach to social injustices and conflicts that isn’t riddled with aggression, but rather expresses itself through an innate attempt to use reason and compassion.

You’re absolutely right about how homelessness is a huge problem, and it shouldn’t be. It just shouldn’t be.

You truly are an inspiration and it has been such a blessing that in my lifetime I have gotten to stumble into yours.????

Samantha Durrell of Hitmakerz records

Chris’s Journey

The Early Years

Born in Aldershot Military Hospital, Hampshire, UK, England, Chris’s lifelong love of music started by listening with rapt attention to The Beatles, Yes, Gentle Giant, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Jeff Beck, and Free. These legendary artists inspired Chris to express himself through music and song.

Picking up and learning guitar, he started playing in London clubs before touring with Memphis artists Rufus Thomas, Ann Peebles, and King Floyd. At age 23, he was recruited as a touring guitarist and background vocalist for the 1960s UK pop band Love Affair, who had just scored a significant chart hit with their song “Everlasting Love“.

Chris then played guitar for well-known Memphis artists: Rufus Thomas, Ann Peebles, Gene Knight, and King Floyd.

The following year, he joined the band Omaha Sheriff, who had recently signed a major recording deal with Tony Visconti, manager of Good Earth Records and producer for David Bowie and the Moody Blues. Chris was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist on Omaha Sheriff’s albums Come Hell or Waters High (1977) and Long Fingers in the Soft Rain (1977).

Behind the Board

Chris expanded his musical horizons by working as a sound engineer and producer for many of music’s most successful and legendary artists, including Talking Heads, Dexys Midnight Runners, Alison Moyet, The Pogues, Bob Geldof, Quincy Jones, Mel Brooks, and Steve Earle. He also produced Sinéad O’Connor’s global #1 hit, “Nothing Compares 2 U“.

He also started his long-term collaboration with Canadian legend Buffy Sainte-Marie. Over the years, he has co-produced five award-winning albums with Buffy, including her much-anticipated comeback Coincidence and Likely Stories (1992) and the Juno Award-winning Running for the Drum (2009).

Chris’s reputation as an inventive, creative musical partner saw his London-based studio rated #2 in the world on Billboard’s Top Studio charts.

While continuing to work with his A-list clientele, Chris’s own single “Where Do We Go from Here?” was picked by Ed Bicknell (Dire Straits’ manager) to include on Polygram’s “One Voice One Love” album (1992), alongside U2, Peter Gabriel, Bob Marley, Tears for Fears, and Queen.

He also released his first three solo albums during this period: Men from the Sky (1992), Sonic Games (with his son James) (2002), and Freedom (2010).

In 1993, Chris left the UK for France to build a recording studio inside his chateau near Bordeaux. There, he produced albums with the Buena Vista Social Club and other world-class musicians, including Etran Finatawa, whose debut album Introducing Etran Finatawa was nominated for the BBC Radio Best World Music Award in 2006. He was also receiving growing acclaim for his work with world musicians such as Algerian sensation Ali Amran.

In total, the recordings Chris has worked on have sold over 100 million records and earned four Canadian Junos, a Grammy, a Polaris Music Prize, and two international AMPEX Golden Reel Awards for excellence in the music business.

A Return to Musical Roots

In 2012, Chris moved to Toronto, Canada, to open his new recording studio, 2 Mounties Media. Now a Canadian citizen, Chris’s credits include co-producer of Buffy Sainte-Marie’s Polaris and Juno-award-winning album Power in the Blood (2016) and the recent Juno winner, Medicine Songs (2017), both for True North Records. He also works with many new and upcoming Canadian and European talent, acting as a producer and mentor to Inuit artists through the Hitzmakers label.

Ever inspired and driven to spread his message of peace and hope, Chris released his fourth album, Be Creative, in 2019. It featured performances from renowned Canadian artists such as Glen Milchem (Blue Rodeo) and Rick Emmett (Triumph). His album with The Free Spirits, 11:11, was released in 2019.

He is currently working on his fourth album, Songs from the Kauai Hotel Room, as well as upcoming releases for The Free Spirits and The Happy Campers.

The Accolades

Chris’s original music and his musical collaborations have sold over 100 million units and earned multiple prestigious awards, including:

Ampex Golden Reel Award: Silk and Steel by Five Star (1986)
Ampex Golden Reel Award: Home Talk by Mango Groove (1990)
Grammy Award – Best Alternative Music Performance: I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got by Sinead O’Connor’s album (also nominated for other awards, this album contains the hit single “Nothing Compares 2U”) (1990)
Juno Award – Aboriginal Recording of the Year, Running for the Drum by Buffy Sainte-Marie (2009)
Polaris Music Prize: Power in the Blood by Buffy Sainte-Marie (2015)
Juno Award – Aboriginal Album of the Year, Power in the Blood by Buffy Sainte-Marie (2016)
Juno Award – Contemporary Roots Album of the Year, Power in the Blood by Buffy Sainte-Marie (2016)
Juno Award – Indigenous Music Album of the Year: Medicine Songs by Buffy Sainte-Marie (2018)

The Free Spirits

Formed in 2016, The Free Spirits combines the immense talents of two great Canadian artists: Chris Birkett and Shari Tallon. Their unique sound blends rock, world, and Celtic music with their original arrangements, spreading awareness, spirituality, and enlightenment for all to enjoy.

The Happy Campers

The Happy Campers is comprised of Chris and his wife, Joan Prowse, a Toronto-based documentary filmmaker, television producer, and digital media content creator. Together, the couple writes upbeat songs with refreshingly humourous vibes that showcase their distinctive observations of the world around us.