DFW Music News

D and Chi Releases Emotional Album After Losing Band Member Darren Eubank to COVID

Chi (Chima Ija, left) and D (Darren Eubank, right) is releasing its first album following Eubank's death in May from COVID.
Chi (Chima Ija, left) and D (Darren Eubank, right) is releasing its first album following Eubank's death in May from COVID. Lizbet Palmer
Album release parties are normally joyous events for a band, but for D and Chi, the event is bittersweet. The party will honor a bandmember who died during the pandemic, but whose music celebrates life.

D and Chi’s latest album will drop on streaming platforms July 8, which would have been the 30th birthday of late bandmember Darren Eubank, who died on May 30 after contracting COVID-19. The release party for the record, And it Feels Like, is set to take place July 16 at Firehouse Gastro Park in Grand Prairie.

"We wanted it to feel like life," says lead vocalist Chima Ijeh, of the album's title. “Ultimately, if you’re living life right, that feels like hope.”

The group released its first album in 2016. During the four years that And it Feels Like was in the making, the group's members experienced a brief journey on American Idol, the death of Eubank's mother, and, of course, a global pandemic.

According to Ijeh, all six of the bandmembers also found love. Eubank got married while the band muscled through the snowstorm of 2021. Once the album was completed, came Eubank’s untimely death. The local music industry mourned the loss of Eubank, who was a popular presence in the scene, along with the band. A GoFundMe page set up for Eubank’s wife, Brecia, has raised over $30,000.

"D and Chi started with me and D,” Ijeh says, adding that the two friends from Red Oak had met in elementary school and formed the band in 2013 while in college. It quickly evolved into a six-piece group with Austin Jett on lead guitar, Courtlin Murphy on keys, Markwayne Kennedy playing bass and Mason Grimes pummeling the drums. Ijeh and Eubank (who also played guitar) switched out on the vocals.

“Darren’s effortless, velvet tone combines with Chima’s soulful delivery,” says audio engineer Alexander Webb in a press release. “And the band has more than enough musical firepower to turn each song into a dynamic, sonic journey.”

"We wanted it to feel like life ... Ultimately, if you’re living life right, that feels like hope.” – Chima Ijeh on his band D and Chi's new album.

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The band’s bio describes its sound as a fusion of pop, rock and hip-hop music along with two-part harmonies and honest lyrics. Ijeh says that after appearing on American Idol in 2019, where they made it a few rounds into Hollywood Week, D and Chi also had the opportunity to tour, playing about 500 shows in more than 30 states while opening for artists such as Michael McDonald, Chaka Khan and others.

“Right now, the band’s focus is really just on the album and making sure we give it its due justice,” he says. “We’ve been working on it for four years and we feel like it’s going to be a massive album. I really anticipate a really good reception of it.”

Ijeh, 30, says the band believes the 12-song album can serve as a companion through life, allowing listeners a broad emotional experience.

“Life has its ups and downs,” he says. “And the album does a good job of encapsulating all of that.”

Drugstore Cowboy and Texicana will also perform during the release festivities at Firehouse Gastro Park for And it Feels Like, which Ijeh says will be a tribute to Eubank.

"There’s a lot of life experience in this album about life,” says Ijeh. “And it’s going to be a good time.”
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