We had the good fortune of connecting with Coley Gilchrist and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Coley, what do you attribute your success to?
As a woman in the music/entertainment industry, my biggest moral standard is to remain wholesome and respectable without being labeled as lame. It’s no secret that sex sells in this world. I want to be remembered for the talents God has blessed me with, not how much skin is showing or how scandalous I am on stage or in my music videos. There’s a fine line I battle with constantly as a Christian who chose not to pursue strictly Christian/Gospel music, whether it be my wardrobe or the topics I chose to sing about in my songs. I don’t want to make explicit music in order to gain slots on the charts. It’s a duty of mine to present myself as a fierce and confident female for those younger than me to admire, while also preaching that it’s okay not to go the route that society and pop culture exemplifies as best. I also want adults older than I am to want to come to my shows and purchase my albums. One of my favorite artists, Tori Kelly, said this line in her song “Unbreakable Smile”, “Maybe I can sell out shows without taking off my clothes.” That right there gave me such validation and assurance that I’m not alone in feeling this way! And Tori Kelly definitely sells out shows! I think the music industry, especially in the black community, needs more representation of entertainers and music artists who can hold their own while being unashamed of their faith and public persona. You’ll never catch me bashing someone because of how they choose to do what it is they do, but I feel in my heart that it is extremely important to bring light to something that the world is so numb to in this day and age. Everyday as I continue to see my fanbase grow, it’s proof that I can have a long-lasting career that can’t and won’t be determined by anyone else’s standards expect my own, That is my idea of ultimate success.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
In a nutshell I am an entertainer. Singing is what I do primarily, but I’m also a dancer, actress, musician, and producer. I absolutely love the freedom of being an independent artist and figuring out where I want to go with my career and talents, on stage and even behind the scenes. I’m currently 20 years old and not in college. After graduating from DeKalb School of the Arts in 2018, I decided that I didn’t want to be in school right away. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to tour the country with “DRUMline Live!”, the theatrical stage show. Being as young as I am and encountering a blessing of that magnitude still shocks me to this day. When I’m not touring with that production, I’m home in Conyers, GA, working on my original music and doing all I can to keep up on my other skills and passions. The most challenging part (besides taking an unorthodox route after high school) has been basically taking on the responsibility of being my own manager, booking agent, stylist, director, you name it! Most times than not I’m overwhelmed with the numerous tasks and projects I have going on, but I truly wouldn’t trade it for anything else. It can be so stressful wearing all of these hats, but prayer and “The Office” help me through it. Everyday I learn how to better manage my time and balance my work with my pleasure. I’ve realized that professionalism is one of the biggest skills one can possess, no matter what field you’re in. And although I’m not yet running a business with multiple employees, I need to be just as proficient and efficient. That character trait has landed me many performance opportunities. I want the world to know that I’m setting my own path and legacy, not just in the music industry. In my work, you’ll see that I’m determined but not forceful when I comes to showcasing my talents and ideas. It comes naturally to me, but I still strive to perfect myself as an artist and human being.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m a very active person so some type of physical outing has to be apart of the itinerary. Although I don’t go very often, Six Flags is definitely a contender on the list. Rollercoasters are so fun to me. But a step below that would be hitting up a skating rink. If I lived closer to the city then Cascade, but Golden Glide and All American are my childhood favorites. There’s always some type of art gallery, open mic, or concert going on which I love. Venues like Apache Cafe and areas like Little Five Points are guaranteed to have something dope happening. If we’re eating on my side of town (Conyers), then Nana’s Chicken and Waffles is a must, as well as Mystic Grill in Covington. Might go take a dance class at 411 or Rhythma Studios. It can be a really fun bonded activity with a girl friend! Get dressed up cute and take a nice heels class haha! Some other places I’ve visited in the past and had a fun time would be Punch Bowl Social, Escape Room, and the High Museum of Art.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
God is first and foremost always, but if it wasn’t for my supportive family, friends, and mentors, I might not be nearly as confident and accomplished as I am right now. I cannot thank my mother and father enough for how much of their time, love, and knowledge they’ve poured into me since I was born, but I can’t leave out my two older sisters. Whether it the endless times I call them for advice or just as another ear to listen to my ideas, or every performance of mine they’ve made it to, I would truly drive myself crazy if I didn’t have their help and support. As far as non-family relationships go, I can say that my middle and high school experiences were fairly positive. I owe a great deal of my artistry and passion for the arts to my former arts teachers and my vocal coach. I can only imagine loving something so much and wanting to pursue it, only for an adult figure in my life to belittle my dream and disregard my enthusiasm, so I will always be thankful for those mentors and special bonds.
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