Chic travels extensively performing in clubs, colleges and universities, theaters, special events, high schools, middle schools, elementary schools, festivals and benefit shows. His lyrics focus on the positive alternatives while entertaining in a spirited manner. Chic's music transcends cultural and attitudinal barriers, bringing home his message of racial harmony and ethnic diversity through acoustic bluesy ballads, funky rhythms and jazzy upbeat originals.
Chic is a graduate of UC Santa Cruz with a B.S. Degree in Psychology. He served as Head of the Department of Psychodrama at a Community Hospital in Carmel, CA; the Executive Director of a Fair Housing program in Hayward, CA; and the instructor of a class titled "The Creative Process" at Occidental College in L.A. before deciding to focus exclusively on his music. He recorded his first album, "Growing Up," in Paris, France in 1975. He toured throughout France and later landed in Santa Barbara, CA where he founded Chic Street Man's School of Performing Arts.
In 1987 he released his second album, "Make It Thru The Night." Chic was the Artistic Director of the Boston production of the international play, "Peace Child," touring with the company in Russia and Poland also in 1987. He was a featured performer at the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York for the International Day of Peace. In 1991 Chic gave benefit concerts for the United Nations Human Rights Center in Geneva and in 1992 a benefit for relief to Somalia, also in Geneva. In 1999 Chic returned to Geneva as a featured artist for the United Nations Awards Celebration honoring indigenous care-givers.
Chic composed the music and starred in the off-Broadway hit show, "Spunk," adapted by George C. Wolfe from three short stories by Zora Neale Hurston and performed at the New York Shakespeare Festival, The Crossroads Theater in New Jersey, The Royal Court in London, The Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, The Berkeley and Seattle Repertory Theaters and The Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He received a 1990 Audelco Award and a 1992 NAACP Theater Arts Award for his music and performance in "Spunk." Chic also composed the music for "Permutations," a segment of PBS's "Great Performances" presentation of George C. Wolfe's "The Colored Museum." In 1994 Chic composed the score and starred in the Berkeley Repertory Theater's production of "The Caucasian Chalk Circle."
He was a contributing author, performer and musical arranger for the Denver Center Theater Company's "It Ain't Nothin' But The Blues" in 1995. In the year 2000 Chic composed the score for the Alabama Shakespeare Festival's world premiere of "A Lesson Before Dying." In that same year Chic composed the score and was the featured performer in the Cleveland Playhouse's world premiere of "Touch The Names"--Letters to The Vietnam Veteran's Memorial. In 1998 Chic starred in the Mark Taper Forum production of "Lost Highway," the story of Hank Wiliams, and has appeared in the films "Triple Bogey" and "Hangin' With The Home Boys."
Chic was a featured performer at the 1991 Paleo Festival, the 1992 Montreux Jazz Festival and the 1993 Berne Jazz festival in Switzerland. In 1994 he released two albums, "Guns Away" and "Everybody Be Yoself." In 1996 he released his fifth album, "Beau-ti-ful."
Chic composed the production music for "Spunk," a play adapted from three Zora Neale Hurston tales, produced by Joseph Papp and Directed by George C. Wolfe for the New York Shakespeare Festival. He was one of seven cast members, Guitar Man- a sort of musical narrator. For his role in this production Chic won dual acclaim as outstanding music creator and music director of 1990 by Audelco, a New York-based organizaton that recognizes excellence in black theater.
Early in his career, listening to the likes of John Lee Hooker and B.B. King shaped "what I'd say is my music today," Chic said. "It's a music that is rooted in the blues but branches out into many different directions.
The musical tree, he said, bears the fruits of reggae, folk, pop, and jazz. His vocal style has been placed by critics into a potpourri of esoteric musical categories: acoustic funk...cat-gut jazz...black people's folk...and urban folk." It may be all of that.
Chic points out that his vocal style is just that...his. The phrasing, he said, is influenced by the earthy rawness of such blues giants as Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, Lightnin' Hopkins, Big Bill Broonzy, Muddy Waters. "Mississippi" John Hurt, Memphis Slim. However, "the feeling with which I express the music comes from my own experience," said Chic, whose moniker stuck when his uncle Willie called him "chicken" because he thought the child was afraid of the nearby train, cars and dogs.
Born in Augusta, GA., Charles Streetman moved to the Roxbury section of Boston with his family when he was only three months old. He got his first guitar when he was seven.
"I didn't know how to play it but it was mine. We didn't get too many things back then and when we did it would belong to all of the children. But, for some reason I got a guitar and it was all mine. It would just sit there in the corner and I'd look at it and marvel over it. Then one day our house was burglarized and somebody put there foot right through it. I couldn't understand why anybody would do that. Why they didn't leave it alone or take it with'em. Why put there foot through it. It didn't make any sense. Of course, that's when mama said, son, sometimes things just don't make no sense. They call that nonsense. But, out of nonsense...you make sense. Mothers are good like that sometimes."
A decade passed before Chic got another guitar. By then, however, he showed enough athletic ability to play semi-pro baseball and subsequently ended up at Northeastern University in 1964 under the auspices of a program intended to expose promising young blacks to higher education.
Chic's interest in music was growing, however. "My older brother brought home a guitar one day and showed me a couple of chords." However, still unsure about his calling, Chic placed music on the back burner and eventually earned a degree in psychology from UC Santa Cruz in 1971.
After these tentative forays into sports and psychology, Chic had come full circle and was ready to channel his energies. He took off for Paris, France where he met Pierre Barouh of "A Man And A Woman" fame (Pierre had written the lyrics to the theme song for this film and had subsequently won lots off money and fame. He'd opened his own recording company "SARAVAH" and later, upon meeting Chic, invited him to do his first recording). Chic did his first recording that year and toured all over France. The standard blues he played in France earned him continual appearances on national TV and radio. But, "the music," he said, "wasn't serving my total person. There were spiritual and social and political issues going on in the world that weren't being addressed in my music and I wanted to learn how to integrate it all." It took a while, but that one year stint in France in 1975, helped Chic determine a direction for his music.
He returned to the States and settled in Santa Barbara, CA where he founded Chic Street Man's School of Performing Arts while continuing to perform shows with some of the folks who were at one time his idols...Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, Lightnin' Hopkins, B.B. King, Taj Mahal, etc.
Subsequently, Chic has earned the title of "Musical Ambassador For Peace And Human Rights," in part through appearances at the U.N. General Assembly in New York, three appearances as a performer at the United Nations in Geneva, and with his involvement in three Peace Child theatrical productions touring to Russia and Poland.