New Albany grad a rocker at heart
Chris Duggan majored in rock ’n’ roll in college.
The 2008 New Albany High School graduate and self-described “high school rocker kid” graduated last week in ceremonies at Yankee Stadium from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, completing the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music program with a bachelor’s degree in music entrepreneurship.
His studies dovetailed nicely with the work he’s been doing while living in New York City – specifically, playing and recording his original rock/ power-pop music. He has a total of four albums and has played at NYC rock venues including The Bitter End, The Delancey, The Bowery Electric, Arlene’s Grocery and the Lit Lounge.
Duggan told ThisWeek he spent most every day after school in his basement, playing, writing and recording songs.
“I spent hours and hours there,” he said, adding, more specifically, “three hours or so every day, until my mom came home from work. (She would say), ‘OK, no more playing drums.’ She bought a pair of industrial-grade headphones, like you would use if you were operating a jackhammer, and would wear them to read in the living room.”
Duggan was quick to add, “She’s always been supportive, and she was glad that I could find a ‘legit’ thing to study.”
Duggan said he learned about the program during his freshman year at NYU, when his roommate was applying for the program – which accepts 40 new students each year from among thousands of applicants.
The Clive Davis program includes instruction in most every facet of the professional music industry, including engineering, producing, songwriting, performance, writing about music, teaching music and business.
Duggan said it all related directly to his work as a gigging musician.
“Songwriting classes helped refine my sound,” he said. “I had to make a business plan, and since I have my own record label and publishing company, (my studies) were really good for figuring out how to make it all work. We learned how to book shows and work with promoters.
“It’s all interconnected.”
Duggan said he sang in school choirs when he was younger, but when he started playing guitar and writing songs, he stopped most of his in-school music participation. He played in a couple bands as a teenager, including his first show at the Scarlet and Grey Cafe on High Street in Columbus when he was 15.
He made two albums while living in New Albany. He also participated in New Albany High School’s American Music Club, which shared members’ favorite bands and music, and which also formed a band each year during the school’s Peace Week.
With his studies complete, Duggan plans to depart for a few legs of touring in the coming months, including an intended stop in Columbus and a handful of summer rock festivals. The tour promotes a new eight-song CD titled Horizon, Duggan and his band’s newest work, which he called “my favorite and best.”
Tour dates have not been finalized. More information about Duggan, including audio and video, is available at his website, cdrocks.com.