Get to Know Christie Chambers
Christie Chambers is a proud CAM alum and the Program Manager for the Music & Entertainment Industry Studies (MEIS) department.Megan Briggs | College of Arts & Media Jan 21, 2022
Born and raised (mostly) in Colorado, Christie Chambers is a proud alum of the College of Arts & Media (CAM) at CU Denver. Before she became the Program Manager of the Music & Entertainment Industry Studies (MEIS) department, Chambers used her degree in Music Business to craft a career in the music industry. A vocalist, Christie has held roles in the areas of performance, marketing, promotions and event planning. In 2014, Chambers “jumped” at the opportunity to join the staff of the MEIS department, which was like coming home to “a place that helped shape my life,” as she puts it. “CAM provides the tools and resources to foster creatives in an inclusive and professional learning environment, leading to long term viable career choices in the music, entertainment and creative industries,” Chambers says.
1. What is something that most young musicians don’t know about the music business industry?
The business side of music is just as important as the talent, charisma and drive. Behind every rock star, there is a huge team of business professionals who started as music lovers. These roles make up a very large and important part of the music industry. When musicians are starting out in the industry, they also become by default not just the talent; but also their own manager, booking agent, marketing and promotions team, touring crew, producer, engineer, etc.
The music industry is a viable and valid career choice. Learning the ins and outs of the business side of music gives young musicians the tools needed to navigate through the competitive industry and open doors to job opportunities. Exploring the different career opportunities and educating themselves on all of the different and exciting facets within the music industry will further their success as musicians.
2. You are a vocalist and have performed onstage with numerous acts. Do you think a younger version of yourself would be surprised by your career path leading you into the business side of the music industry?
The younger version of myself would not be surprised at all! I grew up in and around the music biz my entire life. My father was a career musician and music business professional. My earliest memories are of going to his shows, singing harmonies in studio on his albums, listening to rehearsals, and sitting in on his management meetings. The power of music was instilled in me at a very young age and I knew I would never shake it unless I too pursued it. I never wondered what my career path would be, rather, I just didn’t know exactly where within the music industry I would land. I loved the creative side of performing and being on stage, but I am also very organized and always loved planning and managing as well. My goal was never to be famous or to be a full-time performing singer. The goal was to work full time in music industry. I craved the stability of a structured work schedule and environment. Now as a 20+ year professional vocalist and music business professional, I have had the honor and pleasure of sharing the stage, collaborating, and working with so many incredibly talented individuals throughout my career. In 2002 I chose to pursue a degree in music business at CU Denver. This changed the trajectory of my path, as I realized in my undergrad years that I also had a deep love and passion for higher ed. This discovery led me to pursue my career at the University of Colorado in an array of professional administrative roles within CAM.
I have always had an entrepreneurial mindset. As a singer, I had to book my own shows and promote my projects. I realized that I was good at it and enjoyed that side of the business. CEC LLC was a stem of this interest in an attempt to pursue my professional goals, generate supplemental income and participate in amazing events in the Colorado community. After becoming a mom and facing a pandemic, it became too much to successfully manage, but I do still gig from time to time when my busy schedule allows.
Creatives are oftentimes entrepreneurs by default, creating and shaping their own paths. This mindset and approach are a critical part of being successful and happy in the industry. Setting goals, exploring different ventures and taking risks is all part of the gig.
4. While you were studying in CAM, did your interests in music evolve?
My BS in Music Business helped create a blueprint for my career path. It opened doors and introduced me to different career options within in the music industry. I fell in love with concert promotions after taking the CAM Records course, which led to an internship as the assistant to the Denver rep for Sony Music Label Group. I sang backup vocals for Barry Manilow after auditioning with an MEIS vocal faculty member. These are just a couple of examples of the large array of opportunities that evolved over my four years as a student. Opportunities that I never would have had, had I not chosen that degree. The degree gave me the knowledge, skills, experience and confidence to be successful in a competitive industry. As the old saying goes, “it’s not work if you love what you do.”
5. In your role as program manager, how have the students in MEIS encouraged you? Have you learned anything interesting from them?
I am honored to be the Program Manager for the same department that I graduated from in 2006, and I am now in a role where I am able foster and mentor young, talented creatives as they navigate through this exciting and uncertain career field. As a former student in the MEIS Department, it feels a bit like I have come full circle. I am encouraged to continue striving for success. Our students are wildly talented and inspiring, and I look forward to watching the industry that I love continue to grow and flourish. I learn so much from our incredible students every day about the trends in the ever-changing music industry, as well as the wants and needs of the up-and-coming generation of musicians. There is never a dull moment, that’s for sure!