Musician Khris Joe: I am living in paradise
In BOP faces we talk to local legends: the people of Punta Cana that make this place so special. In this edition: Christian Silva. Also known as Khris Joe. This Uruguayan Dominican singer performs in and around Punta Cana and leaves people mesmerized while he is on stage. BOP wanted to know the story behind this talented musician.
“Cool jewelry shining so bright
Strawberry champagne on ice
Lucky for you, that’s what I like, that’s what I like
Lucky for you that’s what I like, that’s what I like”
Christian Silva (25) also known as Khris Joe is moving his guitar slightly up and down while he is performing the hit song that’s what I like from Bruno Mars. The crowd in the restaurant listens attentively. Some of them sing along silently by only moving their lips. Others give each other a nod, in ways of saying: ‘this is good!’ Christian delivers one hit after the other. Songs of Maluma, Ozuna, Romeo Santos, and Maroon 5 are heard throughout the place. People cheer and applause. Some even stand up to do a little dance. “Thank you!” Christian says enthusiastically as he leaves the spotlight.
Christian or Khris Joe? “My friends call me Christian, but my artist name is Khris Joe. When I came to the Dominican Republic my friends called me Joe, because I had the same long hair and cut as Joe Jonas of the Jonas Brothers,” Christian explains. He smiles and touches his hair, that has black roots and is silvery white on top. “Khris, because my name is Christian. I can’t even remember when I started singing. My mom says I was five years old, when I sang from songbook in church. It is there that I also learned to play the guitar and the piano.”
Ending up in Punta Cana
It all started with an ad in the newspaper that Christian’s mom saw when they were living in Santo Domingo. It was an announcement for singers to take part in the competition called Queremos tu voz (we want your voice). 19-year-old Christian had participated in competitions before and did not really feel like going through the experience again, but his mother convinced him. “It was a competition from the hotel Bahia Principe in Punta Cana. I had to submit a video of myself singing an English song. I was chosen out of 500 contestants to audition in the Holiday Inn in Santo Domingo in front of a jury. There I sang the song Treasure from Bruno Mars, and I did a salsa song from Marc Anthony.”
After the audition in the Holiday Inn Christian was selected to be part of a group of 8 boys and 8 girls to follow a 3-day training in Hotel Bahia Principe before their live performances on the day of the competition. “It was so much fun. We trained with a dance coach and vocal teacher. I also made a lot of friends during these days. The day of the competition came, and I won it together with another girl. There was some confusion about the prize because we were supposed to win 800.000 pesos, but it was actually a contract to work in the hotel for a year! I thought about it and accepted it, because I would be paid for singing, doing something that I loved, and moved to Punta Cana.”
Punta Cana becomes home
“When my contract ended at Bahia Principe I had two options. Stay in Punta Cana or move to Uruguay where I was born. At the age of 15 I moved from Uruguay to the Dominican Republic with my parents and we lived in Santo Domingo. But during my year at Bahia Principe my parents moved back to Uruguay. I decided to take my chances and stay in Punta Cana. It was a risk. I was by myself with only my voice and my guitar. The girl who won the competition with me became a very good friend so, we moved together into a place. In the beginning, it was hard. We saved all our money for our rent. No friends, no going out, just working.”
Christian teamed up with a producer friend to make a cd of cover of songs to hand out on the streets of Punta Cana. It was a success. “First I worked at a company where I was singing and playing. I left after a month, but during that time I met a lot of musicians.”
Performing in Punta Cana
“I started performing in different places. Hotels, restaurants, weddings and other private events. I still do. There are 300 songs that I know. When I perform I do not prepare a list of songs in beforehand. By watching the faces of the people in the crowd and I know what songs I am going to play. For example, when people are in their forties to sixties, I play the song Stand by me. When I have a crowd with a lot of Dominicans, I play something by Romeo Santos or Ozuna. Sometimes I feel nervous when I start, but after the first song I am okay. At times people do not show if they like what I am performing. It is so awkward. On those moments I just want to put my face behind the guitar, but I have to finish because it is my job. This does not happen often because people love live music and enjoy it!”
“At the moment I am working on my own songs. It is still a secret. I love what I do but when I am writing my own music I feel like it is not ready yet, but I am working on it!”
My favorite spot is my home. I have a studio there. Other than my home, Los Corales in Bavaro is also one of my favorite areas to meet friends and new people. I feel Dominican, because I have been living here for so many years. Living in Punta Cana is like paradise. I am in paradise!
Want to hear Christian aka Khris Joe live? Catch him at the Turquesa Ocean Club on Sundays or follow him on Instagram to get more updates on his performances.