SPRINGDALE, N.L. — If time and distance could be the same measurement, it would definitely feel like a “long distance” has passed since Christian Howse started playing a used guitar his father got him at a yard sale.
In terms of growing as a musician and establishing a career, the 19-year-old from Springdale has indeed travelled far in just 11 years or so.
“I spent a year or two just beating around on it until it was broken and using it for no really useful purpose,” he said of that first guitar at age seven or eight.
“After a while, I realized I could play chords and make sounds, play different songs.”
That was enough to instill that rock star dream.
Family and friends taught him more and more, and he credits his former high school music teacher Adam Baxter as being his greatest influence.
Eventually, Howse put himself out there in the local music scene, playing his first public song at a coffee house at the ICECAP Youth Centre in Springdale.
“It was terrible,” he said. “But, I loved it so much.”
After a few more shows, some compliments started coming and he continued to push himself. He has accomplished quite a bit now as he covered that “long distance.”
Monthly gigs at the Open Stage for the Underage at the Citadel House in Lewisporte eventually landed him a recording contract with Citadel House Records.
In 2016, he released an extended play (EP) record called “Cardiac,” which earned him a Folk Artist of the Year nomination with MusicNL in 2017. He followed that up with an LP called “We Were.”
The alternative folk musician is now preparing for the release of his third album, “Long Distance.”
“This album is a concept EP,” he said. “A story of running away, finding yourself, losing yourself, and most everything in between. These songs are true stories — to some extent — to someone, somewhere. Whether it’s you or me, there’s a memory to be found in every line.”
A video from the album has been released in anticipation of the official release July 7 at the Citadel House in Lewisporte.
He is attending Memorial University in St. John’s where he is working toward a degree in folklore with a minor in French. His dream is to be a musician, and believes this education coincides with songwriting well.
Howse loves music and the way he can deliver a message to and for people through it.
“I think it is a really powerful way to communicate across a lot of barriers,” he said. “Sometimes there are a lot of things you want to say, but you don’t really have a platform. You can kind of put things out in the world, and help others to have their voices heard. I think when you put something in a song, you can push that past the boundaries of the masses and reach a lot of people, and they can hear it and resonate with it.”
Although only just graduating from Indian River High last June, he has already been performing at venues and festivals from Nova Scotia to St. John’s. His music is available on iTunes, Spotify, Google play, and other streaming platforms. CDs are also available locally at The Source in Springdale and King’s Point Pottery in King’s Point.
He certainly has travelled a “long distance” to becoming part of the established music scene in Newfoundland and Labrador. Time will tell how far he goes.
You can see more of Howse's work here.
And check out Citadel House here.