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Cris Gunther | "I was disillusioned, but determined not to be broken"

I was born in the mountains of West Virginia, educated on the jungle streets of New York- and was spiritually reborn in Brazil, where I lived for 7-1/2 years before moving to Los Angeles almost a year ago to complete some life circles that I'd started in my youth.

Being an entertainer is all I’ve ever dreamed of since I was a child. I started performing in nightclubs (and talent competitions) at the age of ten as a break-dancer. I also modeled and choreographed for adult dance groups. My dad was a vocal prodigy/professional country-pop singer, while my mom was an extremely talented dancer with a strong love of r&b, soul, funk, and dance music.

My family environment was physically and emotionally abusive, which pushed me to leave home when I was barely sixteen.

By seventeen, I was already living and studying in New York City, the first place that I'd ever dreamed of escaping to as a child.

Soon after, the world-renowned fashion photographer, Steven Meisel discovered me in a restaurant working Kate Moss' birthday party and photographed me for Italian Vogue. That boosted my confidence and drive.

Cris Gunther

Then I started training as an actor/singer and recording songs that I'd composed.

Eventually, I was in contact with Clive Davis, L.A. Reid, and many other music industry executives shopping my original music.

The interested labels either folded, the executives were laid off - or they wanted to start some kind of inappropriate relationship with me in exchange for "investment".

I was disillusioned, but determined not to be broken.

As a gypsy/adventurer craving passion, I continued to trust my intuition and jumped on a plane to Rio de Janiero, Brazil - the second dream-escape of my childhood.

I said goodbye to everything that I'd ever known, and took the biggest risk of my life. It's paid off in spades. I not only started a side-career teaching ESL (English Second Language), which I enjoy immensely and it's turned me into an actual author on the verge of releasing my first graphic novel- but I also launched my own professional artist career in Belo Horizonte (the 'Chicago' of Brazil) by appearing on and hosting T.V. shows, doing T.V. commercials, learning to sing and speak in Portuguese (thereby expanding my international commercial appeal)- and producing my first staged musical at one of the country's most prominent venues.

I was also able to conquer a nasty chemical dependency that nearly killed me (the scars from my past finally caught up with me and had come home to roost).

Around this time my brother was diagnosed with Cancer, and I realized that my return to the U.S.A. was drawing near.

Another chapter was closing, and a new one was set to begin.

Shortly after arriving in L.A., I got a call from the C.O.O. of Isina-- Babyface, Walter Afanasieff, Kenny G., and Paul Oakenfold's new talent company and was told that they'd like to work with me and help with my career.

The C.O.O. asked me to record some songs with them, to produce a video, and to explore some other ideas that they had in mind.

Lately, I've been realizing that without each and every one of those past obstacles (and even failures), it's quite possible that I never would have awakened to the source of some of my greatest strengths which I consider to be gifts: My sensitivity; My empathy; My artistry; And, my deep spiritual need to be of service to others.

The Madonna/VICE #ArtForFreedom song feature, along with the Jared Leto/Carerra Eyewear #Maverick campaign track selection also helped me to comprehend that my purpose isn't ultimately about any sort of superficial fame, money or worldly success, but is directly tied to being boldly authentic, never giving up, and sharing with others my experiences so that they, too, can feel confident in spreading their wings and flying. I'm no longer running from any challenge, and I'm marching to the beat of my own drum with the sword of faith on my back.

I just independently released the album project, ANCHOR AND WINGS on June 20, 2016 (digitally and physically worldwide)- with its artistically conceptual trinity/sister projects,"ANCHOR AND WINGS: FALLING INTO THE OPEN” (the graphic novel/ adult comic) ready for manufacturing/publication- and the still-untitled rock musical film’s currently being developed in Hollywood.

The most important thing that I'd like to leave you with is that happiness is truly ours for the taking in every single moment no matter what’ve been or are presently going through. It’s never too late or early to reinvent ourselves and reach for the stars. L-o-v-e is always just a step, breath, and heartbeat away and comes in many different shapes and sizes. It all boils down to courage and choice. If we just dare to believe, commit, stay open, and surrender to our rising tides, the possibilities are endless. No one is here without purpose, but we must be willing to earn it, and give back whenever destiny beckons us… CRIS GUNTHER

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