Christopher the Conquered
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Christopher the Conquered

Des Moines, Iowa, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2007 | INDIE

Des Moines, Iowa, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2007
Solo Alternative Singer/Songwriter




"Billboard Magazine Feature"

A Dive Into How Ryan Adams (and Reddit) Gave Indie Artist Christopher the Conquered a Big Boost - Billboard

"Ryan Adams Quote"

"You guys @ctconquered is the real deal. This record is blowing my mind!!!" - Ryan Adams

"12 Bands to See From Iowa Review from Paste Magazine"

His winning charm is subtle and earnestness; if he has to sing a downbeat ballad rife with wary words straight from the heart, he’s going to do it. But if his piano solos are unconventional and his ponderous lyrics seem coy, it’s often downplayed into the decorous blend of instrumentation. - Paste Magazine

" Review"

"Every song has a melancholy punch; every song is just plain catchy." -

"Consequence of Sound Video Premiere"

"Two impressive songs from Ryan Adams-approved songwriter Christopher the Conquered" -

"Yahoo! Music Review"

"[Christopher the Conquered has] got a buzz going with a sound that is reminiscent of a young Elton John." - Yahoo! Music

" Quote"

"One of Iowa’s most promising exports." -

"Best Concerts in St. Louis"

"As Christopher the Conquered, Chris Ford has a remarkable ability to silence any room as soon as he sings the first word. Ford's breathy and passionate vocal delivery make comparisons to Jeff Buckley unavoidable but not entirely accurate. Sure, Ford is young and handsome and sings hauntingly beautiful piano songs, but he eschews all of Buckley's wispy tragic-poet-posing and replaces it with strong, soulful confidence. Even in his lyrics, Ford's personal despair usually cycles into tentative, but sturdy, optimism. Christopher the Conquered will shoot you right in the heart, and then you'll pull yourself up off of the floor and thank him for his good aim." - St. Louis Riverfront Times

"Hear Nebraska Concert Review"

"Ford brings such an intense, soulful energy to each performance that even if the nuances in his songs whiff with the audience, he still conveys the emotion and mood with his vocals and facial expressions." - Hear Nebraska

"123 OClock 4 OClock Rock Review"

"It’s a little like Freddie Mercury singing selections from David Bowie’s Young Americans and the Rocky Horror soundtrack. And if that doesn’t appeal to you, then I need some time to think about us … because … because I’m not sure I know who you are anymore." - 123 OClock 4 OClock Rock

"Brightest Young Things Review"

"There is something deeply off about everything that’s happening here and I’m 100% sold." - Brightest Young Things (Washington, D.C.)

"Review of Insane Idiots by writer M. Hogan"

"'Insane Idiots' is a perfect introduction to Christopher the Conquered's new album, ‘You're Gonna Glow in the Dark.’ It's bouncy, catchy, upbeat piano-pop, with horns and an endearingly rough-edged, lo-fi recording style. I also like Chris Ford's expressive vocals here—the dude knows how to sing.” -

"Best of Lincoln Calling - Show Review in Lincoln Journal-Star"

“A bizarro-world Randy Newman, Ford is hilarious and sincere, veering close to parody but saving it with heart.” - Lincoln Journal-Star

"The Fate Of A Good Man Review by"

"[Ford is] never afraid to speak his mind or turn something on it’s head. Writing from the heart is always the best way to go, and on this album Ford does that in spades." - Music Defined

"The Fate Of A Good Man Review - The Milk Carton"

"With the release of The Fate of a Good Man, Christopher the Conquered and His Black Gold Brass Band have proven that it’s not only possible to profess love, but it can also fuel one hell of an album." - The Milk Carton

"The Fate Of A Good Man Review - The Rewind"

"Christopher the Conquered [...] masterfully creates orchestrated, jazz-infused indie rock without sounding disorganized. The individual pieces flow in and out of each other with an organic vitality." - The Rewind

"The Fate Of A Good Man Review - KURE"

"Christopher the Conquered and His Black Gold Brass Band lure you into their album The Fate of a Good Man with a musical whisper and secure you with their catchy piano melodies, ridiculously hummable horn lines, addicting breathy vocals, and strong rhythm section. Each song ranges from being a quiet, intimate conversation with a stripped-down piano and vocals to a bombastic horn-fueled assault–most songs have both. The point is, if you’re not listening to Christopher the Conquered and his Black Gold Brass Band right now you should stop what you’re doing and start." - KURE Music

"The Fate Of A Good Man Review - KRUI"

“There’s just so much talent packed into these eight songs, so much attention and so much care, that it’s almost impossible to not discover something new upon every listen…you’ll see something brilliant and beautiful that has been criminally overlooked.” - KRUI

"You're Gonna Glow In the Dark Review by C. Dahlberg"

"Just when you thought that all of the indie rock/folk coming out of the Midwest was starting to sound the same, Christopher the Conquered has come along to prove you wrong."
"...many of these tracks feature loud drums, catchy piano arrangements, and very prominent horn work which definitely makes Christopher the Conquered stand out from many of the other acts in the folk/indie rock genre."
"Forget all of the big names in the genre who continue to put out very similar sounding material and orient yourself with Ford’s project as it could become one of your new favorites." -

"You're Gonna Glow In the Dark Review by Jeff Giles"

"...let it come pouring through your speakers, and you’ll experience one of the most enjoyably off-kilter albums of indie rock you’re likely to find this year...Listening to it is like riding a rollercoaster: There are enough twists and turns to make you scream, but by the time it’s over, you can’t wait to get back on again. Forget about those pasty-faced weenies on the Saddle Creek label — Christopher the Conquered’s joyful noise is the best sound coming out of the Midwest right now." -

"Into the spirit, with some moves"

"Chris Ford is writhing on the floor.

It’s his last song, and with his band still jamming on stage, he belts out improvised lyrics while curled up in the fetal position. An entranced audience circles around him and, just inches away, wonders if he’s OK.

But the squirming, thrashing, and recoiling — all is normal. It’s just another Christopher the Conquered concert, and Ford is doing what he does best: breaking boundaries. He believes in translating his concerts into unique experiences by exploring physicality. He will try a number of surprising positions on stage: singing with his lanky legs lounging on his keyboard while he plays, for instance. An exuberant showman such as this is bound to get a range of reactions."

-D. Fabbricatore writing for the Daily Iowan - Daily Iowan

"You're Gonna Glow In the Dark Review by B. Dudley"

"’s really great, living up to, and surpassing, the cool-looking album cover, trippy background story, and promise of good sounds. Chris was an energetic and often raw performer, testifying and wriggling around on the floor, and that energy comes through on the album, but it’s also very focused and downright lush in places. It is bombastic and baroque like Queen sometimes, but with the biting lyrical wit of Randy Newman." - Ames Progressive

"You're Gonna Glow In the Dark Review by R. Dawson"

"Overall, “You’re Gonna Glow in the Dark” is one of the most exciting local releases of the year, giving listeners of Midwest indie music something to sing and dance along to." - Des Moines Music Coalition

"Review of I Guess That's What We're Dying For by Poison Control Center leader P. Fleming"

"This self-released record spins around musical styles like a tiltawhirl and just when you feel like it's spinning off the edge it gets pulled back by another wonderful song with amazing horns and piano.. Pretty fucking amazing for some kid from Des Moines names [named] Chris.. Trust me he Conquered!" -


  • I'm Giving Up On Rock and Roll - 2016
  • A Passing Melody - 2014
  • The Fate Of A Good Man - 2012
  • You're Gonna Glow In The Dark - 2009
  • I Guess That's What We're Dying For... - 2007



Christopher the Conquered wants you to read between the lines. That said, he’s got a damn good reason for naming his full-length debut album, I’m Giving Up On Rock & Roll [Maximum Ames Records].

“I’m not referring to music,” he explains. “It’s the idea of Rock & Roll as a metaphor for misrepresenting yourself. Living behind a mask or a façade is not a healthy way to live. That’s what I’m giving up on. People love Rock & Roll, and I love Rock & Roll. However, the person I am onstage is also the person I am offstage.”

It’s this sort of pure honesty that defines the album’s nine tracks, and it’s also why Christopher made some serious waves in 2015. The Iowa singer, songwriter, and performer has crafted a declaratory musical statement that’s impossible to ignore. In the summer of 2015, he shared the stage with Natalie Prass and handed her an early copy of I’m Giving Up On Rock & Roll. She in turn passed it on to Ryan Adams who took to Twitter and Instagram calling the album, “Crazy and incredible.” Soon after, Christopher landed on the front page of Reddit and in Billboard as the title track and single “I’m Giving Up On Rock & Roll” quickly passed 60,000 plays on Soundcloud. This properly set the stage for the album’s 2016 release.

“I wanted this to be a cohesive experience that takes listeners on a journey,” he goes on. “This album strips everything back; this is me.”

Mapping out the skeleton of the record from the piano melodies to the horns in his Iowa basement, Christopher had architected a clear vision by the time he entered Ardent Studios in Memphis with producer Patrick Tape Fleming. As a result, they cut the entire album to tape in just nine days. 

The music segues from pensive lyricism to heavenly horns and resounding keys on the likes of the elegiacally gorgeous “On My Final Day.” 

“I always want people to really focus on the lyrics,” he says. “The song is about contemplating the way you spend your time and the one life you have. It comes out in a positive light asking the question, ‘What impact did I make?’”

Everything culminates on the delicate strings and guitars of “I’m Not That Famous Yet” where Christopher’s self-effacing philosophizing reaches divine heights as expansive as his vocal range.

“I was in a bit of a jealous mood,” he admits. “I was watching a band, and I wrote this in response to the silliness of the interplay between the audience and the artist. After I wrote the song, I sorta snapped out of it and realized that group worked their asses off up to that point and brought joy to every person in the room. Now, I get excited for another artist’s success because it means there are opportunities for me to do what I want to do.”

Christopher has known what he wanted to do since growing up in an Iowa town of just 1,300. Without even an antenna for the family TV let alone cable, he became obsessed with music through listening to Motown and classic rock & roll with his parents and repeatedly watching Disney classics like The Lion King and The Jungle Book on repeat. He taught himself drums, trumpet, piano, and guitar, even auditing a college Jazz History class at just 12-years-old alongside his dad. He also found music via faith. Living in a devoutly religious home, he spent a lot of time in church. 

“Our church was full of music, and I even played for a while as part of a worship group there. The experience taught me the power of music to connect with people on an emotional level. That spiritual feeling is something that has stuck with me, and that I try to inject into my performances.”

Throughout, Christopher architected a sound that’s both poetically ponderous and theatrically bombastic. Now, he’s officially sharing it.

“This album isn’t for me,” he leaves off. “The art happens when you’re alone at the piano. I got my satisfaction from that part of the process. Now, I’ve created something for the world. I want people to reflect on their lives and what they’re doing when they listen to this and feel happy. There’s no reason to live under any pretense or obligations other than your own passion and love. The album is about that.”

In the fall of 2015, I'm Giving Up On Rock & Roll made its radio debut as a CMJ Top 20 Most Added Album and breaking the CMJ Top 200.

Band Members