Doors Opening for Central Vocalist

Singing for Jennifer Hudson is just one of Chris Weaver's musical successes.

Singing for Jennifer Hudson is just one of Chris Weaver’s musical successes.

Chris Weaver ’10 is having a pretty great 2016. So far, he’s landed a recording contract, performed at venues across New York City and had the chance to sing for one of his heroes. In early January, a friend invited him to a party, but kept the host a secret. He was standing at the bar, when his friend told him to turn around. “It was Jennifer Hudson!” Weaver says. His friend and Hudson were both performing in the musical “The Color Purple” on Broadway. Later in the evening, Weaver had the chance to sing for Hudson.

Things like this keep happening to Weaver, a native of Long Island who recently returned to his home state. Now living in New York City, he is exploring where his musical talent may lead him and finding quite a lot of success.

Weaver came to Central thanks to a little prodding from his godmother, who had known about the college for years and encouraged church members to visit. He visited and at first felt the difference from New York was too great. “When I first stepped on campus, it was definitely a ‘no,’” Weaver says. But by the time the day was over, and he had spoken with people across campus, his viewpoint had changed. He appreciated the genuine interest people expressed in him, as well as the “gorgeous campus.” He decided to give Central a try.

A general studies major, Weaver spent a lot of time on the stage while at Central. He participated in A Cappella Choir, Chamber Singers and Vocal and Instrumental Combos, as well as Campus Ministries. Some of his favorite memories from college include the opportunities he had to travel with ensembles, as well as his semester spent studying abroad in London.

After graduating, Weaver worked as a worship coordinator for Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines for three years, then he spent some time in Iowa City. But the music kept calling, and in December 2014 he moved to New York to pursue his dream of singing. He’s been singing at clubs and cabarets across the city, as well as a weekly karaoke show frequented by celebrities like Kelly Rippa.

Weaver’s hard work is paying off—he recently signed a recording contract with a house music label based in Italy. And last October, Weaver toured Columbia with New York’s Harlem Jubilee Singers. He says the speed of his success is “kind of surreal, but it’s also kind of awesome.”

Weaver says his vocal style is best described as soul. “I believe when you get onstage, you do it not just for you, but for everyone in the audience,” he says. “You sing from your heart.”

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