Public eye: Chris Kittrell, 26
New York street interviews: Stories from the sidewalk as told by real New Yorkers about their lives in the city that never sleeps.
Tue Mar 15 2011
Photograph: Allison Michael Orenstein
Hm. What do you do? I'm a musician. I'm in a band called Baby Alpaca.
You kind of look like a baby alpaca. [Laughs] Yeah. One day I was wearing this sweater by Gary Graham that was made of baby alpaca and I started writing a new song. I was writing it about my dog, Apple. She's a really cute little black chihuahua.
Named after Gwyneth Paltrow's child? No. I think Apple makes a better puppy name than a baby name.
Agreed! So back to the alpaca. Right, so I was writing and thinking about her, and what came out of my mouth first was, "Would you be my baby alpaca/I'll keep you warm in the mid-December frigid weather/Save you from the storm." And that became one of my favorite songs, so I decided to go by the name Baby Alpaca.
I see. What do you play? I sing and play the Autoharp. The music is psychedelic dream-folk—a bit tropical at times, too.
How do you write music like that during a god-awful New York winter? It's kind of like meditating. Sometimes I'll get in the bath and lie in there and sing.
How's business so far? I've been in New York for two years now; I've come a long way. I was mentioned in Time magazine by someone who came across the music, they described it as "lazy and hazy, the perfect music to listen to on a summer day." And I was just contacted by someone who wants to license my music for film and commercial usage.
Just think—you could be the soundtrack for a Viagra commercial! [Laughs] I don't think they'd be interested. But I have a song called "Vodka Lemonade." Maybe Grey Goose would like my song.
So before Grey Goose comes through, how do you pay the bills? Well, I'm living with a friend right now. I'm able to scrounge by, doing odds and ends. My mom pays my phone bill.
Do you worry about being a freeloader? Yeah. If that ever happened, I would find a way to move on. And hopefully one day I can return the favor. My roommate is a lawyer, so maybe she'll be able to retire early and live off of Baby Alpaca. [Laughs]
More from Chris
"I have an EP on iTunes for sale—that's one way to make a little income."