Chris Koza: The man, the band, the Rogue Valley front man

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By Lindsey Rothering —

If you’re not familiar with Chris Koza, allow me to change that. He’s a solo artist, he’s the front man for the band Rogue Valley and he’s even a music composer for film. His music has gained an even wider repertoire, with tracks being in rotation on The Current radio station, appearing in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and Jersey Shore, not to mention the 2013 Super Bowl. Koza has also been on tour with Ingrid Michaelson—and now he’s coming to Menomonie.

The latest in Blue Devil Production’s “Thursday Night Out” series, Chris Koza will be playing with the opener Going to the Sun on March 5 starting at 8 p.m. Koza is no stranger to the area, saying  “I used to play all the Acoustic Cafés years ago, when I was just getting my start as a performer.” Adding, “I even played the university a couple times, but it’s been a while.” His most recent Menomonie visit was for a house show in November.

Attending a solo artist’s show versus a band obviously comes with differences besides the set list. Koza explains that with solo shows, compared to a Rogue Valley show, “There’s a little more time to engage with the audience, have a conversation, talk about songwriting, personal experiences and anecdotes.”

Koza described his personal experience with fame and attention as one of imbalance, with fans for every artist being incredibly invested and dedicated while the artist may have trouble reciprocating the efforts. To combat this feeling, Koza says, “I try to be invested in every conversation or interaction I’m having with people. I think that just makes for life being more satisfying. Whether or not somebody has listened to my music, I’m just there to have a good, in the moment, human experience.”

Koza seems to enjoy the college environment, as anyone looking at his tour schedule will note several upcoming shows on college campuses. This is not unintentional, as Koza says, “[Colleges] are a fertile environment for creative thinking, and I find that people [there] are receptive to what I’m doing as an artist and as a musician.” As for the University of Wisconsin–Stout specifically, Koza says, “I really like the university, [Stout] has an arts and fashion focus, which makes it unique in terms of the other UW schools.”

As for what Koza is doing as an artist and musician, his schedule the past few months has been no less busy than it is now. Since releasing his album, “In Real Time” in November 2014, he has been, among other things, working on new material for the band Rogue Valley with a creative routine that any student could learn from. “I’m spending more time working on the ideas and less time coming up with them. It’s not like every time you sit down to work on [an idea], something happens. It’s more like try something one day, try something the next day, try something [else] the next day. It just takes time.”

What doesn’t take time is making the decision to attend his show! See Chris Koza perform in the MSC on Thursday, March 5 at 8 p.m. For more information, check him out on Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Chris-Koza/63176321547.

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