Christian LarssonAlthough Christian was surrounded by music, guitars and instruments his entire upbringing, being a singer was never on his radar. In fact, he never sang a note until his upper-teens. Today, the inherent, soothing darkness of his deep and raspy voice has captivated millions upon millions. “I didn’t realize I could sing until I was in eighth grade and quite honestly didn’t think much of it. I wanted to become a guitar player. But people around me kept telling me I had a gift and I’m really happy they did, because although I love playing the guitar – my voice is my instrument,” he says.

Christian grew up in Perstorp, a small and tight-knit community in the southernmost part of Sweden. “A blue-collar and extremely sleepy town with sports as the only past-time option,” as Christian describes it. With sports not being an option, he would seek refuge in music instead. Before getting his first guitar at age 13, he’d already fallen for guitar heroes like Angus Young, started growing his hair long and dreaming about a life in the limelight. When finally getting that guitar, for which he saved up to by going door-to-door selling magazines, he literally played it until it broke, eventually starting bands and playing in different local constellations – all heavily influenced by the likes of Metallica, Pantera and Down. “I think around this time is when I really understood that I had a width to my voice, experimenting with anything from high-pitched screams to melodic vocals and growls,” he says.

By 2012, Christian had slowly begun steering away from hard rock and metal to explore what came before it.

“I found that blues and country really spoke to me. There was something in the melancholy that struck a chord with me and genuinely suited my expression. It was an eye-opener realizing that songs could tell a story and be centered around literally nothing but a basic instrumentation and vocals. As a new singer trying his wings and finally getting the feeling of finding home, it was a huge moment,”

he explains.

Powered by new influences from the likes of Johnny Cash, Tom Waits, Jace Everett, Chris Isaak and Blues Saraceno, Christian began exploring the world of dark country and its origins in the blues. The first public display of his newfound voice was an all-acoustic rendition of Curtis Stiger’s “This Life” from the Sons of Anarchy soundtrack, a basic recording featuring just himself and his guitar. It was first uploaded to his personal Facebook page and met by an enormously positive response from friends and family. The same song was later uploaded to YouTube and met by an equally positive response from the outside world. However, it would still be almost six years before the soothing darkness of his voice would captivate millions.

During the summer of 2014, Christian felt a bigger change was needed and settled in Umeå, a town literally in the opposite end of Sweden. This is when everything began to take speed and things fall into place. During his first two years in Umeå, Christian focused on writing original material but felt he was missing a creative counterpart. He spoke with his friend Christoffer Lindmark, who began producing the music but also help write a lot of it. Together they became Dark Roots, a band with a unique sound that touches on metal, rock and country – still, with a firmly rooted identity in the dark soil of blues, both musically and lyrically. While Dark Roots kept producing and releasing original material, Christian continued uploading covers to his YouTube channel. “I didn’t think anything would come out of it, to be honest,” he says. “I used my channel mostly as a creative outlet and to learn about recording and mixing music as well as shooting and editing video.” But as fate would have it, in November 2018 while playing the newly released game Red Dead Redemption 2, one particular scene within the game featuring the song “That’s the Way it Is” made Christian pause everything. “The song literally jumped at me. I just had to learn it, sing it and record it,” he says. After releasing it on his YouTube channel, which by now had gained a small but loyal base of followers, the impact was huge. In the comments, it was clear that people wanted more. This lead to Christian recording his rendition of “Unshaken,” originally performed by D’Angelo and also fractured in the same game. It snowballed and had by the end of 2019 accumulated more than two million and views and garnered upwards of 50,000 subscribers to his channel. Today, his version of the song has reached more YouTube views than the original and also received honorable mentions from Rockstar Games themselves, the creators of the game.

By mid-2019, Christian released “Redemption,” a full album featuring his Red Dead Redemption covers. In 2020, he released a series of covers eventually leading to the release of “A Life in Black,” a full album featuring nine personal renditions of classic songs by one of his true musical heroes: Johnny Cash. Between releasing covers for his YouTube channel, Christian continues to explore the roots of dark country and blues for his own original material.

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