How does a 24-year-old German singer-songwriter book a show at a small coffeehouse in Madison, Wis.? For Chris Weiduwilt, who performs as A Crush on Yesterday at Mother Fool's Coffeehouse on July 30, the effort has been years in the making.
Weiduwilt first came to Madison last decade as an exchange student at East High School. He's returned to visit his host family several times since then. "Madison is really nice," he told me by phone last week. "I like the Capitol, the downtown streets and the lake at the Union."
He says American and German high schools are different, but in both countries, music is a way to express the rebellious energy of youth. "I started listening to hardcore punk when I was 14," says Weiduwilt. "My first band was a hardcore band."
He didn't change his performance style until he turned 18. "When you get older, you get more open-minded," he says, explaining his transition to making melodic, acoustic music.
Performing as A Crush on Yesterday, Weiduwilt describes his music as "acoustic pop with ambient elements."
"I put in delays and effects to make it sound more esoteric," he says.
The name of his project is inspired by the bittersweet feeling of passing through time, events and relationships. "It stands for everything you've experienced and everything you want to hold onto, but can't."
Weiduwilt says musical talent runs in his family. "My grandma was an opera singer, and my dad plays the piano," he says.
A Crush on Yesterday released a five-song debut EP earlier this month. The disc includes songs that are dark and reflective, like "Between Reality and Insanity."
The project is supported by a second guitar, played by Johannes Schwitalla, who will share the stage with Weiduwilt at Mother Fool's.
Madison is one of seven U.S. cities A Crush on Yesterday is visiting this summer. Weiduwilt is arriving from Los Angeles and goes on to play in La Crosse, Chicago, Austin, Dallas and Houston.
"I'm really passionate about writing songs," he says, adding that playing live more often is a goal he's pursuing - to "go on stage with complete confidence."