Chris Cornell is a rock icon who thrives on contradictions. An innovator who resists genre labels, he was nonetheless the chief architect of the 90s grunge movement. Frequently ranked as one of the best voices in music history, he has successfully maintained his own unique identity over more than two decades as a multi-Grammy award winning musician, Golden Globe nominee and universally acclaimed singer, songwriter and lyricist.
Seattle trailblazers Soundgarden were a law to themselves, edgy, dark and deeply individual. Their savage soundscapes and rich lyrical imagery combined punk attitude with musical sophistication. In 1989, they became the first Seattle band to sign to a major label and their sound continued to change and evolve over the course of five pioneering 90s albums.
Soundgarden made a historic return to the live stage in 2010 and has since released an all-new critically acclaimed studio album, King Animal, as well as re-releasing a 20th anniversary deluxe edition of its seminal 90s classic,Superunknown.
In 1990, celebrated side project Temple of the Dog showed Cornell’s more soulful side and introduced future Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder to the world. Almost a decade later, Cornell shocked the business once again with critically acclaimed solo album “Euphoria Morning,” combining lush melody with lyrics which spoke of alienation and despair.
As the millennium turned, he joined with three other musical pioneers from Rage Against the Machine to create Audioslave, a multi-platinum, multi-Grammy nominated supergroup. The band recorded three albums and toured the world, becoming the first American rock group to perform a massive free concert in Castro's Cuba.
Over three solo studio albums, Cornell has continually redefined his sound and vision to encompass new music, new collaborations and new activities. He was the first American male artist to write and perform the theme song for a James Bond movie (“You Know My Name” for Casino Royale); wrote and performed the end-credits song “Live To Rise” for The Avengers (with Soundgarden); and wrote the song “Misery Chain” (performed with Joy Williams) on the soundtrack album for Oscar-winning movie 12 Years A Slave. His performance of his song The Keeper which appeared in the Marc Forster directed film Machine Gun Preacher was nominated for a Golden Globe.
At the royal reception and premiere in London, Cornell was presented to Queen Elizabeth II. He has also had the honor to perform at the Kennedy Center Honors Gala in Washington DC, as well as in front of three United States Presidents.
Cornell’s solo acoustic ‘Songbook’ shows have received universally positive reviews throughout the world. As Jim Farber of The New York Daily News observed, “sometimes you don't recognize the full power of a voice until you strip everything away from it.” Selected performances from the tour feature on Cornell’s 2011 live album, "Songbook".
As he has continued to evolve as an artist, Cornell has also evolved as a humanitarian through his passion for philanthropy and community, saying: "I'm in a fortunate position to use music to support important causes that help foster change." He has been an active supporter of the Make A Wish Foundation, Stuart House and MusiCares and has been closely involved with the Fulfillment Fund, a college-access and mentoring organization. In August 2011 Cornell helped raise awareness and funds for Sam Childers' Angels of East Africa children's charity with his song “The Keeper,”
In 2012, Chris and Vicky created the Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation, which fights to protect the most vulnerable children. The Foundation is currently developing projects and programs working with leading charitable organizations and partners to raise awareness and mobilize support for children facing tough challenges including homelessness, poverty, abuse and/or neglect.
Only the most confident would claim to predict exactly what comes next for Chris Cornell. Only one thing’s for sure – he’ll continue to break rules, make history and challenge expectations.