Chris St. Hilaire is a Trinidadian-American multidisciplinary musician, songwriter, and producer based in New York City (Lenapehoking). An in-demand touring musician, Chris has toured the world with artists such as Sinkane and Doyle Bramhall II, has been featured on stage at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival, and in 2022 became a member of The Black Keys’ touring band ahead of its Dropout Boogie world tour. In primetime television, Chris has been featured on Jimmy Kimmel Live! alongside The Black Keys.
Born in Huntington, NY of Trinidadian parents, music was a rich part of Chris St. Hilaire’s foundation and cultural upbringing. His passion for music took form at an early age, but it wasn’t until age thirteen when Chris began playing drums. Listening and playing to records by Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Led Zeppelin, Stevie Wonder, and The Meters informed and influenced his playing, though it was the music of The Beatles that shaped Chris’ vocal, harmony structure, and songwriting style the most. Chris’ father was a musician, a guitarist who toured with Chubby Checker, and became a huge influence on his playing and writing. It was his father that encouraged him to write songs at a young age.
Chris St. Hilaire co-founded the internationally acclaimed rock duo The London Souls, where he released two albums with the band and toured the world for ten years. The duo played festivals such as Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Governors Ball, and Pinkpop, and shared stages with The Who, Paul McCartney, Lenny Kravitz, The Roots, Tedeschi Trucks Band, and The Black Crowes, among many others. The London Souls’ music has been featured on network television shows such as Hawaii Five-0, Shameless, and Ugly Betty.
“St. Hilaire, for his part, is a bombastic, airtight drummer who’s somehow found the ability to croon out delicate vocal lines even as his hands are busy bringing his instrument to the brink of demolition.”– Okayplayer
As a solo artist, Chris St. Hilaire released his full-length debut titled Enspirited on October 9, 2023 – an intensely scored manifesto, composed of Trinidadian-inspired percussion, steel pan melodies, modern synthesizers, strings, and woodwinds. All songwriting, production, and engineering on the album was completed by St. Hilaire himself – an enormous step forward for him as a multifaceted artist. Caribbean Beat highlighted the album as “deceptively unique,” referring to the lyricism as possessing “a subtle cynicism and hyperbolic hopefulness” and acknowledging that its instrumentation evoked a “musical aesthetic from the 1950s and beyond that resonates solidly.” All proceeds from Enspirited have gone towards the Manna-hatta Fund, a New York City-based initiative working to help break the legacy of land theft and violence in the United States by redistributing funds to Native American communities through a voluntary land tax.
St. Hilaire has also released three EPs to his name: Knowledge of Self (2019), B.C. (2021), and Traveling Man (2022); all of which were also written, recorded, and produced by St. Hilaire. In 2021, Bandcamp selected B.C. (“Black Christ”) as part of its “New and Notable” selections – B.C. was written to elevate and honor the musical contributions of Trinidadian culture and its proceeds went to support Equality for Flatbush, a grassroots campaign fighting injustice in St. Hilaire’s home community in Brooklyn. St. Hilaire’s music has also been featured on screen – “Up All Night” was featured in the Sundance Film Festival-selected How It Ends (directed by Daryl Wein and Zoe Lister-Jones) and “Unify” was featured in Showtime’s hit political documentary series The Circus.
In the studio, Chris St. Hilaire is a sought after session musician who over the past decade has had the privilege of writing and recording with artists such as Dan Auerbach (Waiting on a Song), Eric Krasno (Blood from a Stone), Ceelo Green (CeeLo Green is Thomas Callaway), Johanna Warren (Chaotic Good), and Marcus King (El Dorado, Young Blood).
Chris St. Hilaire was a co-founder and steering committee member of the Sound Mind Collective, a musician-led grassroots organization based in Brooklyn, from 2017-2022. The Sound Mind Collective brought together musicians and music workers to strengthen New York City’s independent music scene through political advocacy, business education, collaborative events, and community aid. His efforts with the organization helped raise funds for musicians facing economic hardships and for venues affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, and created collective spaces for dialogue and healing in the music community.