Please introduce yourself. What do you do? Why? What do you want people to know about you?
Chris Phelps (aka PHELPS), is a music producer, score composer, and film director/editor based out of Lexington, KY. Made clear through his multiple skills and talents in the media arts industry, Chris was born to be a creator.
While producing EDM is his main passion and hobby, he also has a film degree from Asbury University and has thoroughly utilized it through his high-quality music video productions.
Chris began producing at the age of 17 after his sister introduced him to EDM and encouraged him to produce similar music, as both he and his sister have strong musical backgrounds. He gave it a shot and immediately fell in love.
As a film composer, Chris generally implements orchestral elements into his EDM tracks such as brass, strings, and drums. With years of endless practice and discipline, Chris has established his sound and brand as “PHELPS”; he plans to one day perform at festivals and shows.
What drives him to create music is the hope that it might inspire someone else to create or impact them emotionally. “Sometimes I struggle with words, so the reason I create music is to communicate my voice by using the most universal language there is. If I can also touch the heart and inspire at least one person in the process, then it is all worth it to me.”
What qualities make you different and unique from everyone else in the industry?
Most people in the industry have their niche that they stick to, whether it’d be producing, mixing, editing, etc. I have always found myself to be a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to being a creator. While a lot of my focus has been on music lately, I am also a multi-award-winning director, editor, visual effects artist, and sound designer.
I have never liked to limit myself to just one skill and am always eager to learn new ways to express my creativity. While people tell me that I’m talented for possessing this many skill sets, I would contradict that and call it curiosity for turning a simple little “what if” into a reality. Instead of waiting for my dreams to come true and saying, “I want to be a creator,” I went after it and said, “I AM a creator.”
I see so many people chasing after fame and fortune, but I learned early on that this journey is about humility, service, and patience. Every time I walk into the studio, I convince myself that I don’t know what I’m doing and am always looking for something to learn. The more you think you know, the less you actually know.
Everything comes with time and openness to the opportunities around you. When it comes to being a servant, I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do than lift others up.
Watching the people around me succeed is so uplifting, so I often find myself reaching out to others and asking if they need creative help, even if it means putting my personal projects on hold.
Describe THAT moment when you realized you’re doing what you were born to do.
Throughout my entire life, I have always picked up on little hints that I’m exactly where I need to be. I have had many teachers, instructors, professors, friends, and family members tell me that I am going to do astonishing things with my talents.
However, there is nothing more reassuring than experiencing firsthand how much of an effect your art can have on someone else. I have written and directed many short films that have made an audience of a thousand gasp, laugh, and cry all within the span of roughly 8 minutes.
I’ve brought people to tears just from playing the piano. I’ve seen a dance floor party like there’s no tomorrow to a track that I produced. Out of all of these, the experience that meant the most was my parents telling me that they were proud of me for what I was doing.
I come from a family of judges and lawyers, so I felt some sort of pressure to follow in their footsteps by going to law school, passing the bar exam, and starting my own law practice.
I am the only creator in my family, so sometimes I felt like I wasn’t doing what was expected of me. But when my parents saw what I was doing, their love and support lifted so much weight off of my shoulders and pushed me to do what I love even more.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve had to go through and how did you grow through it?
The biggest challenge that I’ve ever had to go through is fear of inadequacy and lack of motivation in the face of anxiety, depression, and ADHD. There have been countless times in my career where I have felt like I’m not good enough and that nothing I created even mattered.
When I surrounded myself with the right people, I realized that it doesn’t matter how good I am. As long as I am doing what I love and continue to pursue what matters most to me, then there is nothing to fear.
Who are the TOP 3 people you’d want to meet that could elevate your career or business? Why these specific individuals?
Kygo. He is by far my biggest inspiration when it came to getting into Electronic Dance Music. As sappy as it sounds, Kygo’s music has pulled me out of dark times with his beautiful melodies and inspirational compositions.
Watching him perform live is still one of the best and most memorable highlights of my life. I would love to meet him to tell him 1) thank you for being such an inspiration and 2) to hopefully one day work with him.
Zedd. When my sister introduced me to EDM, she played, “I Want You To Know” by Zedd. It was this song and artist who sparked my initial interest in EDM. Without him, I’m not sure that I would be producing EDM, let alone producing in general. There is so much that I could learn from him as far as using music as a tool to inspire others.
Hans Zimmer. He is by far my favorite score composer and it is a dream to be able to work with him on a composition together or just to even sit in a room with him for an hour and learn as much as I can from him.