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Local Band in Focus 

Chris Black

Meet the Artist: A few years ago, Guitar Hero inspired Willoughby native Chris Black to pick up the bass and join a rock band. He started rapping on the side, eventually learning to play piano and guitar, and how to produce his recordings.

Found Sound: Black says last year's Against All Odds, his third record, "captures my true sound, mainly because I composed and performed every instrument on the album." He's put out a few stray tracks since then, and more new material is set to drop in the spring.

Cle.edu: Black is at Ohio State University studying physics these days, but he has no plans to give up the mic or Cleveland. "Music is the only thing I can see myself doing in my future," he says. "I love [Cleveland] and could never leave it behind."

Why You Should Hear Him: Black's self-described "epic" melding of rap and arena rock makes for a powerful aural cocktail that thankfully avoids rap-rock clichés. He takes more cues from U.K. grime than stateside hip-hop on Against All Odds' title track. He even breaks into song on the soulful "Blacklight."

Where You Can Hear Him: chrisblackohio.com

Where You Can See Him: On March 23 at Karma Koffee in Willoughby. — Jeremy Willets

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