Chris Nelson transformed a nondescript Rock Hall practice room into his personal masterpiece theater. With confidence and ease, Nelson sat behind a mini grand piano and began to play Stevie Wonder’s “Ribbon in the Sky” for an impromptu recital. He tickled the ivories with the majesty of a seasoned professional. However, at the tender age of 23, this part-time Temple student’s age does not betray his talent.
C-Note to his friends and an African-American major, Nelson describes himself as an “authentic artist” was introduced to music early in life. He would imitate his older sister by banging on the piano. His grandparents encouraged his interest with more structured lessons. Nelson then went on to hone his craft under the tutelage of Mr. Parcells.
Nelson’s most profound influence is a higher power which has provided discipline through many hardships. “I’m someone who has the anointing of God, who has the spirit of the sermon in him,” Nelson said.
Nelson’s strong ally has been at his side while he strived toward recognition. While many of his peers have languished in obscurity and failure, he has maintained a competitive resolve. Just recently, he performed in Queen’s Jamaica Club for the Youth in College Division NAACP. That honor is only the latest accolade in his impressive resume, which includes Philadelphia Idol, church functions and other various NAACP sponsored competitions.
His art is also exemplified in voice. Nelson carried a powerful note as he sang an original song, New Years Eve. It is an ode to being baptized on this date in 2000. “Every song I write is different,” he said. “But this song is closest to my heart. It touches me and lifts people. I just thank God for giving me the words.”
While he continues to grasp for public acclaim and the success the likes of his idol Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” Chris spends two days a week in classes. To support himself and his big dreams, he works at UPS. This current disposition is only but temporary as Chris intends to parlay all his efforts into becoming a full-fledged entrepreneur.
“I judge my success by how I progress,” said Nelson, stating his desire to help the community. “How much I’ve learned from point A to B. Making money is a success, but it’s not my God. Being successful is being able to give back.”
His efforts will include erecting his own school of the arts and production company. The latter will help to facilitate his other aspirations of being an actor. The self-professed Renaissance man, who is also an avid dancer, is currently writing scripts and poems.
Whatever the future may hold, this seemingly jack of all trades will not be boxed into one identity. Being a student, hard worker, devoted boyfriend and grandchild, artist, and enterprising business man encompass all that he is. Regardless of any opinions to the contrary, he refuses to be dismayed for too long a period. He has no interest in changing for the fickle, “corrupt” music business industry or to anyone else’s standards. Much like one of his favorites, Usher, he will be doing it his way.
“I have my own mind, and people don’t like that. I’d rather follow God and lead many,” Nelson said.
Stephanie Guerilus can be reached at email@example.com.