by Devyn Imholt
Chris “CJW” Weaver is a musician, vocalist, and recording artist from Long Island, New York. Chris rose to public prominence as a result of his appearance on the hit show NBC’s The Voice during season thirteen. However, Chris’ musical journey began long before he stunned the judges on The Voice. I had the pleasure of speaking with Chris about his life and musical journey, which both began in his mother’s womb.
Chris’ parents, self-proclaimed music fanatics, began to play their favorite records for him even while he was still “in his Mom’s belly.” His father, an avid record collector, helped instill in Chris a deep appreciation for music, even at a young age. His family was also very spiritual, spending significant time at their local church. These two aspects of Chris’ life resulted in the moment that he recalls his musical interest being truly sparked. Chris was eight years old and sang in front of his church, delivering a riveting performance that sent the crowd into a frenzy of joyous excitement.
Growing up, Chris was continually involved in musical extracurriculars such as choir. His joy for gospel music pushed him to start a gospel choir at his high school. When it came time to decide where to go for college, Chris knew that he wanted to leave his home state of New York. He ended up attending Central College in Iowa. While at Central College Chris was heavily involved in musical performance, becoming a member of the choir, worship team, vocal jazz combos, and the chamber singers. Through these various groups, Chris was able to be involved in some of the campus’s biggest performances.
By the time Chris graduated from Central College, he had honed his vocal performance skills and truly begun to blossom as his own artist. Despite his initial plans to never move back to New York, he realized the potential that came with living in the entertainment capital of the world, deciding to move back. During this time period of his life, Chris began to audition for singing competitions. He auditioned once for American Idol and twice for The Voice but did not make any of the competitions. Chris began performing in local competitions where he eventually met Peter Dunn, a former producer of The X Factor and America’s Got Talent.
Dunn was later contacted by The Voice, being asked to recommend people to audition. He recommended Chris, who would audition for a third time, this time making the competition. In his initial TV audition in front of the judges, he turned all four chairs, the highest praise that can be given in an initial audition! He chose Jennifer Hudson as his mentor who helped lead him to a Top-24 finish in the competition. Later, on the season finale of Season 13, Chris became the first talent to ever be returned to the competition as a guest, performing with superstar Jessie J.
In the initial years after his success on The Voice, Chris spent his time traveling and performing. Chris admitted to me that he felt as if he did not utilize the buzz from the show to the best of his ability. He eventually realized that he needed to release more music, dropping the individual records “Crying For” and “Mary Did You Know.” In 2021 he signed with Soundherd Records and began to record his first studio project. This culminated in the recent release of “Take Your Time,” the lead single from his highly anticipated project.
“Take Your Time” was paired with a single release party where Chris had to schedule three different performances as a result of demand. Now under the name “CJW,” Chris felt like “Take Your Time” was a great song to re-introduce himself to. He will be going on tour with legendary artist Booker T this coming fall. To see where his career has come, he describes it as “surreal.”. What’s more? Chris is only getting started. Chris’ excitement for his career is truly infectious. With a life full of performance experience and a uniquely moving voice, CJW is certainly an artist to keep an eye on in the future.