A native of the North Hills of Pittsburgh, PA, Chris Jamison was 19 years old when he stood on the Hollywood set of The Voice in 2014. The lights were hot and bright, and the audience was cheering as he started singing the John Mayer song, “Gravity.” He’d prepared well for the televised blind audition, and about 10 million people were watching in their homes.
The four big-name coaches listened carefully to see if they wanted him on their team. Signaling they wanted to be his coach, one by one they turned around . . . Blake Shelton . . . Pharrell Williams . . . Adam Levine . . . and finally, Gwen Stefani.
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Chris selected Adam Levine as his coach, and things took off. He was tutored well on how to sing and perform to please the audience. People liked his voice and, performance after performance, voted for him to stay on the show. He ended up taking third place in the competition, and was thought of as a new teen pop star. He was signed to a record label for the next year, putting him on a pathway that could lead to even bigger things. It was exciting time for Chris.
But it was also troubling, he explains. “I hadn’t performed much on stage before the show. I was kind of quiet and introverted. I kept to myself. I’d had the same girlfriend since I was 13. I wasn’t sure about fame, but I was sure I wanted a family.” He felt a friction between where he was headed and what he wanted.
One day, he was studying business and music technology at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, and then he had to leave college because of time requirements for the season of The Voice. Then he was in the midst of the Hollywood lights – and finding success.
Then, just as suddenly as he was performing on the Hollywood stage, he was back in Pittsburgh, sitting on his parents’ couch in the home he grew up in. What was he supposed to do? And what did he really want?
He didn’t have a firm foundation to stand on and he wasn’t certain of his path.
That state of uncertainty was where he found himself in December of 2015. Chris was never much of a church goer, but every Christmas Eve he went with his girlfriend, Jansen, to Orchard Hill Church in Wexford, PA. The church has at least a dozen Christmas Eve services every year, drawing as many as 2,000 people to each one. The music was always beautiful, the message interesting, and it was a good way to celebrate the season.
So in 2015, in a state of angst about his identity, Chris walked into Orchard Hill and heard the pastor, Dr. Kurt Bjorklund, speak about individual identity. Pastor Kurt explained that we don’t find our identity in what we do, which can change at any time, but in a relationship with Jesus Christ, who is always the same. He also used an example that giving a blind audition on The Voice doesn’t make you who you are, it’s based on what you’re doing at the time.
Chris’ heart skipped a beat. He knew he was the only one listening to the message who’d been on The Voice. And the pastor didn’t know him or what he’d done. But Chris knew, from his core, that God was reaching out with a message to him.
The Voice wasn’t his identity. His identity was much more.
“I couldn’t walk away without being changed,” he says. He soaked in the truth of the message and began going to the church with Jansen every week to find out more.
At first he didn’t want to join the music team. He simply wanted to grow in his faith. Over time, he learned more about God and his identity as a believer in Him.
But after a year, Chris reached out to some members of the music team and met Dan Shields, the Worship Director. Chris had a lot of questions beyond music, and Dan helped him with the answers. They met in the church lobby over coffee every Friday morning and talked about life, faith and God. “Dan discipled me,” Chris simply explains.
Chris began volunteering for the music team, and felt compelled to do more.
In 2016 both he and his girlfriend Jansen were baptized, publicly stating their faith in Christ. And then he turned around and asked Jansen to be his wife. She said yes.
In 2017 Chris and Jansen got married.
And in 2019 he started as a member of the music ministry staff at Orchard Hill Church, becoming the full-time Worship Leader at the Wexford campus.
When asked to describe himself, Chris says he is Type A – organized, liking structure and routine. But he’s also creative – arranging tunes, notes and words to make give them impact. That’s an ideal balance for his position at Orchard Hill, where each week he plans and creates musical worship sets, while also working on the administrative side of numbers and spreadsheets.
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And Chris also sees where he is now as the result of God’s grace and finding his life’s direction. “When I was on The Voice, receiving applause and acclaim, God was showing me an opportunity for a life of fame. ‘Here’s what fame looks like and feels like,’ He was saying. ‘This is it.’ But that’s not the life I want.”
While music is part of who Chris is, he keeps it in perspective. He continues to perform and record as a solo artist. He’s had chart-topping singles and worked on an EP (extended play) project called “Puzzle Pieces” that can be heard anywhere music is available. Each song, he explains, is like a piece of a puzzle, that is put where it needs to go. We don’t see the picture until we look back someday and see the whole, with all the puzzle pieces in place.
And, in what is quickly becoming a favorite tradition for many, Chris produces a Christmas show every holiday season.
His song, “Coffee in the Morning,” which he wrote for Jansen and sang at their wedding, expresses his love and commitment to his bride. He later produced it.
Coffee in the Morning (excerpt) by Chris Jamison
We grew up together, we've built our own lives From now till forever as long as there's a sunrise I'll bring you coffee in the morning Even if we're in a fight Hold your hand when you get worried Whisper, "It'll be alright" Fix whatever becomes broken I'm not handy, but I'll try We'll get old, life may get boring But I'll always bring you coffee in the morning
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So Chris has his full-time position in music ministry at Orchard Hill Church and also his solo music career, at a pace which is comfortable. And his favorite part?
“Most nights I go home and enjoy my family. That time is the best!” he expresses.
He and Jansen now have two children, a girl and a boy. Scarlett will be three in March, and August will be one in March. His wife and children are treasures to Chris.
“I can’t say enough about how important Jansen is in my life,” he says. “I’ve known her since the fifth grade, when she played soccer with my two sisters. She’s been my best friend and my constant. Now I see her with our children and am so grateful God has gifted me with the blessing of a beautiful loving wife who pushes me and challenges me, and two beautiful healthy children.”
For a young man, Chris has gone through quite an evolution and growth to be where he is today. He loves theology and studying the Bible. And he loves his church community.
“I am content where I am,” he says. Thinking back to the 2015 Christmas message at Orchard Hill, he is glad that he doesn’t find his identity in what he’s doing, as either a famous singer or a quiet family man. He has an identity that doesn’t change with circumstances.
He said if he could speak now to that 19-year-old Chris Jamison on The Voice he would say, “You think you know now, but you don’t.”
No wonder a gem in Proverbs is his favorite scripture.
In their hearts humans plan their course,
but the Lord establishes their steps.
- Proverbs 16:9
Chris Jamison’s music is available on iTunes, Spotify or anywhere else music is found.
You can also go to www.iamchrisjamison.com.