Toronto singer Christopher Stopa discovered by CNN through Radiohead Youtube mix-up
"It was mainly disbelief," Christopher Stopa, a Toronto-based singer-songwriter told The Vancouver Observer, about his reaction after hearing his own voice and music being attributed to Radiohead on Youtube. "I thought, 'I know that's not Radiohead', and people are really getting excited over it, but I didn't share that same happiness as my friends."
Here's what happened. Last week, a song called "How Do You Sit Still?" was touted as Radiohead's unreleased single from their Bends album era and it quickly became a hit on YouTube.
"WHY was this song not used (in Radiohead's albums)? It's brilliant," lamented one listener after hearing the song. Another wrote that the song was about "putting truth back into Radiohead".
The trouble is, the song isn't actually by Radiohead. It's "Sit Still", written by Stopa, who contributed a few political commentary pieces in The Vancouver Observer. CNN news reported the story, and Stopa explained that he was surprised that his song would resurface after so many years.
Stopa said he worried that there would be a "backlash" if listeners discovered the song was not Radiohead, but comments on YouTube suggest that people are enjoying the song nevertheless.
The haunting song (inexplicably titled "Putting Ketchup in the Fridge" by the YouTube uploader) was released in 2001, as part of his Morris Air EP (which you can now listen to online).
Stopa never found out who uploaded his song claiming that it was a leaked single from Radiohead, but knew that a journalist was recently trying to confirm the origins of a song that was probably "Sit Still."
If the song has a nostalgic vibe to it, that's because it was composed during the late 90s, before Stopa moved to New York to pursue music.
Stopa views the recent fanfare over his song with a critical eye, saying he's not expecting the single to launch him to celebrity status.
"There are lots of great songs on the internet," he said modestly. "People who listened to my song weren't just looking for a great song, they were specifically looking for a song by Radiohead."
The artist had since started a successful bakery in Toronto, Bakerbots Baking, with his partner Rosanne, and said that while he's still recording music, he's no longer relying on the ailing music industry to make a living.
"I tried to push that song for 10 years," he said, "but if people are listening to it now, and like the song, it's an indication that I believed in it."
With some encouragement from his friends, Stopa has just put "Sit Still," along with three other songs that he's "equally proud of, if not more so" on iTunes (they will be available online over the next 72 hours). He plans to release more acoustic recordings in the upcoming months.
Vancouver Observer publisher Linda Solomon said she heard Stopa perform more than a decade ago at the Living Room in New York City, when Stopa and his partner, Roseanne, worked occasionally as babysitters for her son, Eli. "I recall my friend, songwriter Serena Jost, also heard Chris sing. She said he had the voice of an angel and she thought Chris's voice was that one in a million that is so pure and so painfully beautiful it seems to come directly from the divine. Has he finally been discovered? I hope so."
Articles by Stopa: