Christopher Allison | Trumpet Player | Composer | Band Leader | @iamcousinchris
1. Are you currently working a day job? If yes, can you say where? I am the Entertainment Director for the Negril Village Franchise. My job duties include creating and managing all our night life and party details for the restaurants here in Atlanta and NYC. I focus hard on opening Atlanta to some of its hottest rising DJs, filmmakers (Screening Room ATL), promoters, and some of the livest bands in the city. I always try to focus on bringing a party atmosphere to a fine dining environment. The ability to connect different generations and cultures is an amazing experience. My experience in the music industry has privileged me with the knowledge to literally create my own position.
2. What is your favorite way to feed your spirit (i.e. stay inspired) during slower periods in your artistic life? Honestly… creating! I am constantly working on my next gig, next cover, next original piece or next event. I don’t believe in being stagnate. I constantly try to fill a void during slow times. Most of the time, it’s also me locking myself away and going off the grid to just practice. I always tell myself that I SUCK! LOL. [Remaining humble] is something that has blessed me, because there will always be someone who is trying to take your spot.
3. Do you think the term “starving artist” is still valid today? Why or Why not? Being a STARVING ARTIST to me, is a choice. Imagine if all the legends that we all look up to had 1/3 of the resources that we [currently] have available to us. Listen, I know kids in middle school ready to start companies. I mean, that have business models and tools to take over! So if an 11 year old can make it [happen], anyone can.
4. Who are your 3 biggest artistic inspirations and WHY? First, I will have to say Melvin Jones. He help mold me into the horn player I am today. His guidance, mentorship and friendship is what has pushed me. He is definitely one of the coldest musicians I have ever met. From him being my band director in college to us sharing the stage together. I’m blessed to call him brother. Miles Davis… simply put, because of his approach to creativity. His sound and creativity paved a way for so many artists inside and outside the jazz world. [His style of] simply playing what you feel is correct, [in my opinion]. Play something that makes you happy and drives you to play the next day and the next day. Terrance Blanchard, because I am a film head and a huge lover of a great score. His many works with Spike Lee have always blown me away.
5. Do you believe that struggle (of any kind) is a necessary part of every artist’s journey? Why or why not? There should always be a time period [of struggle] in any success story. Everyone needs that time to figure out if this is really what they want to do and [to learn] how hard they’re willing to work for it.
6. Have you ever quit a “real job” for an artistic gig? If yes, please explain. Yes I have. I had an internship with Universal in their sales department and I realized I didn’t want to end up like my boss at the time. I was still gigging pretty heavily then, but my boss always made me feel like I had to make a choice between what side of the field I wanted to be on. So, I had to sit down with God and I had to leave. It worked out best for me and my journey.
7. What is your favorite project you’ve worked on, so far? That is so hard to say. I guess the first tour I ever went on is still my favorite because I learned so much. It also help me prove to myself and my loved ones that I can do this. That tour was with PJ Morton and Maroon 5.
8. What are you currently working on? Currently, I am starting our festival tour with Rapsody (9th wonder and Roc Nation Artist), performing with Cameo and serving as Co-Founder of Screening Room ATL. My band, The Village Band, has a show every Sunday at Negril Village. And I am proud to say that I’m working on my debut EP.
9. What was the very first step you took to become a professional artist? How would you advise those working to become professional and/or full-time in your same artistic field? Simply put, be visible. There are so many great artists out there, but they are [creating art] at home. You have to be on the scene. [Musicians], you have to go to the shed and network. You have to surround yourself with others in your field.
10. If you could change one thing about the way the world treats and/or perceives artists, what would it be? I would love for older generations to stop looking at [young] artists as individuals who don’t have direction. Back in the day, society was placed in a bubble. To be successful, you had to follow “these” steps and live “this” way. Today’s generation of artists and creatives believe in creating something that isn’t there. Art is a product, yes, but it’s a product that is built from the deepest part of our hearts. [In other words], it is our lives and it will make sure we survive. By any means necessary.