Chester Gregory (aka Chess Gregory) is no stranger to the stage; an award-winning Broadway performer he has been wowing audiences almost every night for eight consecutive years. With roles in The Jackie Wilson Story, Hairspray, Tarzan, Cry Baby, and Donkey in Shrek; Chester is stepping out to share his own songs that are crafted with an expertise that belies a debut record.
In Search of High Love is an album that took years to make. Chester shares \"It started out as my final attempt at preparing a demo for record execs.\" but these execs did not understand his vision, and Chester soon realized that trying to please them was unavoidably compromising his music. Chester made a bold choice \"I started over and only the songs Questions and High Love remained. I listened to my heart and continued to allow the album to flow. Eventually, it started to assemble itself.\" Now completed, Chester is preparing for the July release when the world will be able to experience a record that he is incredibly proud of.
Chester grew up in Gary, Indiana. An only child, he did not always know that he wanted to sing. It was in fifth grade when he found what would be is career; \"One day in music class, when we were learning a song, the teacher paused and glanced at me with a smiling eye. That was all it took!\" Although Chester\'s ambition was clear to him, it was years later before he shared his dreams with his parents; but when he did he received their unequivocal support. Chester promptly began singing in school, and by the time he got to college at Columbia University (Chicago) he was a consistent show-stealer. This affinity with singing on stage lead neatly to a life in New York and a career in musical theater; one that has, and continues to be, very successful. However for Chester, Broadway was never enough; \"I had the opportunity to play a character and tell someone else\'s story, but I also wanted to share something more meaningful to me.\"
After exiting the Broadway stage in the evening, Chester would often be on his way to his own live show. In the past few years he has firmly established himself as a soul singer on the New York circuit and garnered a strong following of soul music lovers. Chester has performed as a solo artist at SOBs, Joe\'s Pub and The Blue Note and has shared a stage with singers including Eric Roberson and PJ Morton. Chester\'s live shows are invariably eventful; \"There\'s no take two when you\'re on stage. I approach every show as if it were my last performance. Sometimes I don\'t even know what\'s going to happen. One thing is for sure, it\'s going to be a ride.\" The result of Chester\'s hard work is seen on his MySpace page today, where he averages several thousand plays daily and is the owner of an ever-expanding friend list.
In Search of High Love is a strong soul record, but one that explores all facets of the genre. There are soulful dance tracks like On + On (Produced by Chandlar) that remind you of summer; renditions of classics like I Only Have Eyes 4 U (Produced by AFTA-1) that draw on the original whilst pulling it firmly into the 21st Century; and Clouds to the Ground (Produced by J. Most) that deliver progressive soul harmonies that transport you to the future. Although In Search of High Love is a journey through different elements of soul music, there is one thing that does not change on this album: Chester Gregory\'s powerful voice.
Chester is a singer that fully commits to each note, phrase and chorus of every song. With a five-octave range there is no need for gimmicks, and no need for auto-tune; his voice speaks, or sings, for itself. Chester\'s ability takes you back to a time when singers could really sing, when they had to throw their voices forward without microphones, when the voice was still respected as an instrument. Chester still believes in this time and he plays with his voice like it were any other piece of musical apparatus; \"I like to bounce phrases, bend notes and play with my vibrato.\" As well as being a master of technique, there is undeniable passion to be found in Chester\'s voice. \"I feel joy when I sing, but it also allows me to express my deepest pain.\" There is a sincerity and authenticity here: in the music, the voice and the man behind them both.
Chester describes In Search of High Love as \"…a journey through the ups and downs of love, ultimately ending in self-realization.\" In preparing the album he has worked with Dave Tozer (John Legend, Kanye West, Estelle Swaray), PJ Morton (India.Arie) and Dave Liang (Carl Thomas, The Shanghai Restoration Project, Ryan Leslie), as well as writing and production from Chester himself. It is an album from a man that still believes in love, despite his own heartbreaks. It is a beautifully crafted album that demonstrates that the beauty is often in the search, and not the destination.
The stage is set, the curtain is up, and the spotlight is shining on the newest force to be reckoned with in soul music. There is no need to search, a star has been found in Chester Gregory.