Chris Mendoza: Living the American Dream

Chris Mendoza embodies the American dream. The oldest of five siblings, Chris carved a path to success as a touring piano player, music director, producer, mixing & mastering engineer, and former on air radio personality. Throughout his career he has worked with several prolific musicians. 

Born in Pasadena California, Chris began his musical journey at the age of 9 when he was inspired by his mother's piano playing. Under the tutelage of Jeanne Nau and Lela Burge, the latter a teacher to the former, Chris honed his musical skills. He further learned the value of discipline and hard work from these two remarkable women, absorbing captivating stories of life in the early 1900s through Burge, who was born in 1894.

Chris’ work ethic became evident at a young age when he started as a dishwasher at Kenny Roger's Roasters at the age of 14, gradually climbing the ranks to become a shift manager. He ventured into the automotive world shortly after, working as an apprentice mechanic, followed by landing a position as a radio disc jockey for 99.1 FM KNOT in Prescott, Arizona where he swiftly rose to the coveted "Drive Time" jockey position.

Simultaneously, Chris began his career as a professional musician, playing the piano at local restaurants and hotels around the Prescott area.  Chris briefly attended Arizona State University on an academic scholarship, before deciding that college was not his path to success. 

Chris and his brothers formed the band "Three of a Kind" in 1999, propelling them to regional prominence. The brothers clinched the Arizona state title for the Jimmy Dean Country Showdown two years in a row and opened for the Charlie Daniels Band, Glen Campbell, Willy Nelson, Montgomery Gentry, and Chely Wright. The band's journey led to exciting opportunities, including a production deal with famed record producer Mark Spiro, and a feature on the brothers in Boy Crazy Magazine.

In 2004, Chris relocated to Nashville where he became closely associated with Nashville’s MuzikMafia, sharing the stage on a regular basis with Big & Rich, Gretchen Wilson, Jon Bon Jovi, Jewel, Three Doors Down, and many more. In 2006 Chris co-founded a publishing company, nurturing emerging talents like Isaac Rich, younger brother of country singer John Rich,  and members of Trailer Choir, who later signed a record deal with Toby Kieth, subsequently achieving chart-topping success. Chris continued to further push the boundaries of his experiences on USO tours to Guantanamo Bay and Diego Garcia with members of both the MuzikMafia and future award winning group Old Dominion.

By 2008, Chris was being mentored by 2 notable pianists who helped to further shape his career. Joseph Wooten of the Steve Miller Band, and Paul Gordon of the Goo Goo Dolls and B52s. Gordon was pivotal in connecting Chris with renowned Los Angeles band agent Barry Squire, leading to auditions with Natasha Bedingfield, Kesha, Adam Lambert, and Katy Perry. Chris became part of country singer Chris Cagle's band in the summer of 2008, beginning a decades long musical partnership and friendship that continues to this day.

In 2011, Squire connected Chris with grammy award winner Everlast and his former group House of Pain. Chris joined the band as keyboardist and music director, where he embarked on a world tour that included performances with the bands Sublime, Cypress Hill, Blink 182 and more.

Chris’ entrepreneurial spirit led him to co-founding Lunaverse Records in 2013, and subsequently acquiring several brand trademarks before returning to the touring stage as keyboardist for country singer Kip Moore in 2021.

Chris Mendoza's journey has been a testament to his resilience, passion, and tireless pursuit of excellence in music and business. His remarkable career continues to evolve, promising exciting new ventures and accomplishments on the horizon. Though not retired, Chris is a true gentleman, and spends what leisure time he has as a Gentleman of leisure.