Chester Gregory is a multi-award-winning actor and singer. From his iconic roles in hit Broadway shows Hairspray, Dreamgirls, Sister Act & Motown the musical to the big screen Gregory has done it all. With more than 20+ years of experience in the entertainment industry – he’s worked as an actor, singer, and songwriter, and also passed on his impressive knowledge of the arts, as a vocal and acting coach to anyone from amateur artists, to seasoned professionals.
And so, he’s learned a thing or two, and as with any artist, these lessons helped shape his art, such as his latest release, the astrologically inspired album “Retrograde”.
“One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is that people don’t see you as you are, they see you as they are,” Gregory says. Human relationships seem to be one of the main themes across Gregory’s work. His latest album, “Retrograde”, for example, deals with entropy in human relationships, and more specifically with the way relationships break down and fail. “I’ve noticed when I am around certain people, some see the best in me no matter what; others see the worst. I had to learn that neither is true. All I can do is do the work daily to become my best self.”
According to Gregory, another important lesson he’s learned down the years is that one needs to learn “letting go of narratives assigned to you from other people”. As a man of many faces through his professional nature, Gregory has carried various attributes and mantles down the years, and it’s through that experience that he’s learned when it’s important to shed those mantles and expectations.
He also learned the importance of carrying this lesson over into his art. “I then stopped caring so much about what impressions I would make with my art. I focused on things that are interesting to me that I want to express and just truly live in the moment and enjoy that.”
Interestingly enough, this is also one of the lessons that he reinforces for his students, as well, steering them toward focusing on the creative process itself, rather than the skewed perception of the audience. And that’s perhaps one of the greatest lessons an artist can ever figure out, since the creative process is a deeply personal affair, and only once you can connect your innermost emotions to it, will you truly succeed.
So naturally, we wanted to know how we could learn this lesson, and perhaps even achieve the same level of transparency that Gregory has in his music.
“The simplest way to put it is, the five closest people to you are the average sum of your life,” Gregory explains, with a smile. “If you have five people close to you that are miserable, guess who’s going to be miserable? Surround yourself with people who aren’t afraid to tell you the truth but also inspire you.”
Those words of wisdom can be implemented by just about everyone. We are excited to continue to follow his journey as he mentions five years from now, he’d like to be known as a multi-disciplined artist who inspires people to go beyond their fears. Without a question is already on that path to create that legacy.