From consultant to crooner, Kris Orlowski carving a spot in Seattle's music history

Whatcom County native humble, but setting sights on big-time

May 5, 2016

Photo by Daniel Volland

Kris Orlowski ran down the stairs of the Smith Tower. Working as a consultant at a Seattle marketing agency, he was on his way to, well, consult. 

The city finally started to feel like home to Orlowski, who grew up helping his mom board horses on their 10 acre property in Whatcom County. Back then, going to the city, even one the size of Bellingham, felt foreign. Seattle was simply overwhelming.

Bounding down the stairs in the 40-story building, once the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River, Kris ran into Petra Franklin, the resident that lived atop the tower in a three-story pyramid with her two daughters.

“It’s like a museum,” Orlowski says in an interview with Gregr. “Everything is a piece of art. Wherever you look it’s like ‘Oh, this is from the Emperor of China,’ or there’s just Chihuly’s hanging in the middle of the room.”

Orlowski, then a part-time musician with a full-time job (and a Sounders fan to boot), asked Franklin, an art lover and collector, if he could play a small show in her apartment. She was no stranger to hosting events in her esteemed residence and after a few months of back-and-forth, she said yes.

The single show turned into something much bigger. Orlowski now hosts a monthly concert where Orlowski plays through new material and he invites another musician to perform a selection. Orlowski and troupe call the event the Tower Sessions. 

It wasn’t long after Tower Sessions started that Orlowski packed it all up and left his job completely to pursue music full time.

“When I first was thinking about leaving my job to give music it real chance, it was really hard because it was so comfortable,” Orlowski says. “But I really wanted to just do music, I had been wanting to do it for a long time.”

Making the decision didn’t come easy to Orlowski. Feeling conflicted for nearly six months, he worked on a song eventually named ‘Falling Apart,’ a single on his album Often In The Pause, due to be released May 6.

“It kind of set the tone for what the rest of the album would speak to, in my mind, transition,” he says. “All of us guys were going through various transitions whether it was relationships, jobs, figuring out what‘s next in life so this was why it was called Often In The Pause.”

Since transitioning to making music a full-time gig, Orlowski has been featured in Seattle-set TV show Grey’s Anatomy and was invited to submitfor other placement opportunities including the music summer olympics in Brazil. 

The now-Seattleite (a term he wears comfortably) remains humble through it all. Though carving a notable mark in Seattle’s music history, he still feels like an “outsider looking in.”

“You are always looking at what everybody else is doing and think ‘I’m not doing that,’ so it’s hard to remember you have this community around you,” he says. “It’s important to remember that because that can really bring you down if you forget those important people in your life.”

Often In The Pause is set to be released May 6. For more info on Kris Orlowski, visit KrisOrlowski.com.