Catching Up With Recording Artist Chris Chickering ’88

Hyde School Alumnus Chris Chickering '88

We caught up with alumnus Chris Chickering ’88, who just completed his second album, “Living In The Now,” which you can hear samples of the songs on his website, www.chrischickering.com. We are especially fond of his music video for the song The Crazy Crazy Ones, in which he features Hyde School founder Joseph Gauld. How his career as a recording artist came about is quite interesting, and an inspiration to anyone who has had a dream that they felt was too far-fetched to go after.

Class Year: 1988
Campus graduated from: Bath
Hometown: San Francisco, CA
Currently Living In: Santa Fe, NM (since 2005)
College: Guilford College (Greensboro, NC) BA, English
Sports Played while at Hyde: Football, Basketball, Lacrosse
Favorite Hyde Memory: Funniest Hyde memory?  When Connie Freer discovered Brad Upp and I hanging out behind the Deck House. I will leave the gritty details for those who want to reach out on Facebook, except to say that both Brad and I were immediately given the “opportunity” to spend the next week on 2-4 remodeling the new library.
Favorite Hyde Teacher: Bud Cox (English, senior year) He was so passionate about the subject matter and really connected with everyone.

What have you been up to since leaving Hyde?

If I have learned one thing about myself over the years it’s that I have an entrepreneurial spirit. After graduating college I really didn’t know this, much less know what sort of company I wanted to start, so I spent my 20’s bouncing through a number of industries (telecommunications, medical, music, television) as a sales and marketing executive trying to find my place in the world. I even did a 3-year stint as an EMT / firefighter in Denver along the way.

Chris Chickering album Living in the NowOne of my life dreams (that I’d had since I was a boy) was to become a recording artist…As the years rolled by I almost forgot about that dream, until one day, about seven years ago, I pulled a “bucket list” out of a manila file folder on my desk. There, at the top of the list: “Create a music album” was staring me in the face.

I actually created this bucket list in college and every few years would pull it out and take a look, and each time I did: “Create a music album” was always there, at the top…but I’d always turned away from pursuing that dream because I had been carrying around some major self-limiting beliefs in regards to my dream my entire life, including:

  • You aren’t talented enough.
  • It will fail eventually so why try.
  • They’ll find out I’m a fraud eventually.

And my personal favorite 😉 …

  • You really don’t want that anyway.

Except this time, seven years ago, the “pain” of putting off my dream had finally exceeded the fear I had about starting, and so I made the decision to take the first step by producing one of my songs: “Stay”. Since that point, 50 songs, two albums and a website later, I have learned that what seems “so scary and overwhelming,” really isn’t so. The key is to just take the first step and never stop taking those steps, ever; and to avoid getting overwhelmed, break the project down into extremely small chucks (one song at a time, one verse at a time, one word / note at a time). Be sure to pat yourself on the back for every single task completed, and ideally find a mentor whose successfully done it before.

How has Hyde impacted what you are doing today?

Hyde was my first exposure to personal development, and the Hyde concept that “everyone is gifted with a unique potential” impacted me deeply. Thanks to what I learned at Hyde, I truly believe that a key purpose for being on this planet to live your purpose (unique potential) and to figure out a way to shine your light on the world and evolve our planet.

Chris Chickering sitting in desertPrinciples I learned at Hyde that are a part of me:

  • I am not a victim.
  • My results are 100% determined by my actions, rather than some force outside me.
  • Living an integrity-based life is the path to freedom.
  • I am infinitely bigger, stronger, faster, and more capable than I think I am.
  • The world has problems. I am a force for good and am here to help. My mission is to give the greatest gift I can.

Hyde is a place that forces students, parents, and faculty alike out of their “comfort zone” – into the zone of expanded possibilities. We all have beliefs about what we are and aren’t capable of. The rigorous environment that is Hyde, if you let it, will shatter those self-limiting beliefs and give you a life of vastly expanded possibilities, connection and contribution.

Any advice for the undergraduates?

Create a bucket list and fill it with GRAND visions and dreams. Playing small doesn’t serve anyone. Playing big inspires others to do the same, because you are showing them what’s possible. Wake up every day and put the work in. Make “do it now” your mantra. Do not put off for tomorrow what can be done right now. Surround yourself with people who believe in your dreams, and realize the road is bound to be filled with challenges and huge obstacles. Success is a marathon not a sprint. Embrace those challenges and keep moving forward. Be good to yourself. Talk to yourself as you would your best friend. Don’t expect it to happen overnight. The 20-40+ year overnight success is more like it. Your dreams are real. If they weren’t, you wouldn’t even have them to begin with. The joy is in the journey. NEVER stop tryin.’ 🙂