Khris Royal’s story calls to mind the Aboriginal tradition ‘walkabout,’ where a boy must leave home at a young age to achieve some sort of spiritual awakening. In this rite of passage, he travels a route (in Royal’s case, New Orleans, Boston, Los Angeles and back) following his culture’s history. He becomes educated in the ways of his culture, better prepared for life and at its completion, earns the respect of his community.
Royal’s community isn’t just New Orleans, however. He has risen from the ranks to the halls of the already-famous. With a childhood chock full of music education, familial nurturing and cross country travels, it should be no surprise that he’s greeted with enthusiastic crowds. One could potentially credit Royal and Dark Matter for the reintroduction of Jazz into the national scene. He is described as tireless and constantly evolving—both formal traits of his genre—and is personified through his music in Khris Royal and Dark Matter.
Royal’s musical career in New Orleans could have been ordained from childhood. His supporters likely have a difficult time with the notion that he would ever not be a musician, let alone, rest from pushing further the Jazz presence in the age of information and smart phones. And at every major turning point when his fire would have been fanned out, it grew hotter. Royal exemplifies the musician that recognizes opportunity whether disguised or distinguished. And it started when he was a child.
While attending Mc Donogh #15 Creative Arts Magnet School, a creative arts-centered primary school, Royal put hands on his first saxophone at age 7, and by age 14 evolved into producing and writing his own music. He received a full scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston at age 15 and walked into his 20′s as a growing name in the industry.
Royal left Boston for Los Angeles to record as a member of The Regiment- an on demand brass section led by producer Theron Feemster. Regiment featured as backgrounds to Ashanti, Erykah Badu, Mary J. Blige, Neyo and several others. The job provided time to work, evolve and spread his name. Eventually Royal heeded the call to return home in 2008.
With a fresh start in New Orleans, Royal played the streets and networked nightly, and after a few short weeks, he was already playing for The New Sound on a Friday night. It was around this time that his personal vision began to really percolate. Royal, a master in networking and collaboration began to form his ideas into the shape of what is now Dark Matter.
Khris Royal and Dark Matter is Khris Royal on saxophone, with guitarist Danny Abel, Kyle Roussell on keyboard, Terrence Houston for percussion and DJ Raymond on bass. They are frequent main events at The Blue Nile, Tipitina’s and The Maple Leaf, drawing heavy crowds and leaving every patron void of uncertainty by the show’s finale.