Signing songs from Britney and Gaga, Chase originally caught our eye with his outstanding versions of music videos where he both dances and interprets the songs in sign langugage. Since then he was featured in last year's Broadway Bares show, and now he's getting his own music off the ground!
Chase will perform in Times Square this Sunday at 8:00PM, so get tickets and more information.
Chris M, Lead Hunkologist: Hey Chase, welcome back to Hunk du Jour! So I hear that you've been up to a lot since we last chatted, so it's time to settle in and get the scoop! The hunk-lovers out there probably remember you best as "that sign language music video guy!"
Chase: Thank you, Chris! Haha, that's true. It's become my middle name.
Chris M, Lead Hunkologist: And names are something that might be tough for people to keep track of for you as well... since your YouTube channel has since been through a few of them. Where can folks find your YouTube channel now?
Chase: Oh, man. You're telling me. To make it easiest, they can go to www.officialchase.com, there is a video section that holds all of them! It's even broken into segments, singing and signing.
Chris M, Lead Hunkologist: Hehe - so whatever the channel name of the week is, we can find you there! From your YouTube roots you are starting to branch out in a few new directions too -- including a little project around this time last year called Broadway Bares?
Chase: Yeah, Broadway Bares was great. I was in a number called Football Fantasy. All the money goes to HIV/AIDS research. It was a lot of fun dancing with the guys, being on stage with them, and for such a good cause.
Chris M, Lead Hunkologist: How did you get connected with that event?
Chase: They found me through my YouTube channel. The theme last year was focused around the Internet. Since my videos had gone viral, they thought it'd be fun. And it was. (Although at one point, my foot slipped and I nearly tumbled off the stage. but, shh.)
Chris M, Lead Hunkologist: Had you done anything remotely like that before? What kind of preparation did you have to do for it?
Chase: Oh, sure. I've been on stage dancing and singing for as long as I can remember. For Bares, there was lots of rehearsal. It's always great to be around such talent. It was also REALLY fun to have backstage massage therapists. And makeup, and costumes... Although, for some of the guys, the costume only consisted of a jockstrap.
Chris M, Lead Hunkologist: Yeah -- you were wearing a pretty sexy referee outfit... and were probably one of the people who were the MOST covered onstage!
Chase: Astounding, I know. Some of the other acts had women covered only in candy and cupcakes...so... it was a good show.
Chris M, Lead Hunkologist: Aside from your work as an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter, you've also done some live performances of your dance-signing interpretations of songs. What can you tell us about those?
Chase: Well, what had started off as small performances around the United States (one of which included a live show at Gallaudet, a Deaf University) has transpired into something really incredible for me. On June 20th, I'll be performing my own music for the first time, in Times Square. It's...pretty amazing to me. I've been recording music that I co-wrote. I am now working with a choreographer named Johhny P, who has worked with the likes of Queen Latifah, and we are laying down a new path for pop music and doing something that has never been done before to this degree.
Chase: The dancers are required to learn the ASL for certain parts of the music. So that it really pops out. it becomes something unique. Even though the music I am recording is for a mainstream hearing audience, the actual performance is also enjoyed by the deaf/hard of hearing communities.
Chris M, Lead Hunkologist: Excellent! And for once your hearing fans get to hear you sing the music that you're also interpreting/performing!
Chase: Yes, I'm a very lucky man. I've been singing since I was a wee lil boy. By far, one of the best memories I have is Carnegie Hall. Not even the stage so much as the backstage, behind the scenes stuff. It really is fascinating what goes on, the people running around, etc.
Chris M, Lead Hunkologist: Obviously performing other people's work is very different than producing your own songs -- what has that process been like?
Chase: Wow. That is the heart of it all isn't it. Geez. It's been...theres no other word to use other than a 'journey'. From writing the lyrics, the melodies, to helping compose some of the tracks... to being in the studio, hearing your own voice magnified, the voice overlaps, the effects. It's really been a journey to discover how do I express myself?
Chase: Sure, I know how to emote with body language, my hands....but truly, what emotion my voice carry? What do I want the audience to FEEL? It's been at times overwhelming, where I go home teary-eyed and frustrated. And other times, where I pump the music in my ears at the gym or on the train and feel a euphoria...that this song is my creation...an extension of me.
Chris M, Lead Hunkologist: What in the process has been something that has frustrated you? How did you work through it?
Chase: You know, people don't realize how tough it is to get to the root of what we are trying to say, to our loved ones, to our friends or even to our enemies. Music is a way to express that. But, we tend, as a people, to use metaphors, we beat around the bush, we never really get TO THE POINT. So writing very straight forward lyrics is very tough. A song on my upcoming EP called "What if?" was one such obstacle. Its the only ballad on the EP. The most thought-provoking and emotional. How do I express this strong emotion that Im feeling in WORDS?...it can be tough.
Chris M, Lead Hunkologist: How does your background in ASL interpretation help or hurt in those situations?
Chase: Wow. That's a great question.
Chase: With sign language, I am able to convey a message conceptually. I can take a sentence and put it out there so that it is visually understandable, and hopefully with music, entertaining and provacative. It has helped me to take my own thoughts, my own sentences and interpret...myself? If that makes sense? While writing these songs, I was able to interpret my own emotions and form a better way to express them. (And also form a better understanding of myself, as a result)
Chris M, Lead Hunkologist: You actually have produced two different music videos for your single "Falldown."
Chase: Yes. I created a singing version as well as a sign language version. I encourage the audience to watch both to see how each one delivered the message. For falldown, I wanted to show people..themselves.
Chase: I remember watching the news one day, and gay marriage was being hotly debated, and I remember seeing the protesters and the millions of dollars being poured into this "ANTI" agenda against gay marriage. And I shouldnt've been shocked..but I was. And that's where falldown came from. Love makes the world fall down. People, black or white, asian, small, tall, gay, straight....we all hold these prejudices against each other.
Chase: Why do we care so much about who another person's loves? And can a person really harbor so much hate and resentment toward any group of people that they don't even know? So, in the video, I depicted how we are ALL being discriminated against while still being discriminatory toward others.
Chris M, Lead Hunkologist: So what can other recording artists do to better reach out to their deaf/hard-of-hearing fans?
Chase: They should always have qualified interpreters hired for at LEAST one of their shows. There are SO many deaf/hh fans of music, people just don't realize it. For my shows coming up, I initially was just going to sing, and have my video up with the signing component, or have an interpreter that I KNOW can deliver music well....
Chase: But, I decided, i wanted to be more connected with my music. Which is why when I do the shows over summer, ill be signing and singing (and dancing, oh my!) simultaneously.
Chris M, Lead Hunkologist: That sounds exhausting! Are you starting to train for it?
Chase: I've been training, and dancing, and rehearsing for a few months now. It's all worth it. Three weeks left!
Chris M, Lead Hunkologist: Are you already working on the next music video, too?
Chase: Yes, I am working on Hard Candy. It'll be very sexy and a lot of fun.
Chase: in the meantime, I am gearing up for the first show in Times Square at the Laurie Beechman Theater. It'll be on June 20th at 8pm. After that it's off to Toronto, then Norway. (Click here for tickets and more information.)
Chris M, Lead Hunkologist: We'll have to add "international superstar" to your credits! What change since we first talked has made the most impact in your life?
Chase: Allowing myself to follow my dream and be the fully-rounded artist that I've always felt was inside me. It's a dream that is being fully realized, and I couldn't be more grateful.
Chris M, Lead Hunkologist: And after your concerts this summer... what's next in the queue? What do you have up your sleeve next?
Chase: I have two very large endeavors coming up. You'll have to stick around.
Chris M, Lead Hunkologist: Well, we'll be sure to stay tuned.... Chase -- thanks for talking with me!
Chase: Thank you VERY much Chris!
[ Chase - Official Site ]