April 16, 2024

The Rise & Rise of Chris Chambers

Ambassador Digital Magazine Editor-In -Chief Musa Jackson sits down for an inspiring interview with the legendary Publicist,media and brand strategist Chris Chambers. Born in the Bronx to hard working Jamaican parents he attended NYU with his sights set on being an on-air journalist.


An internship at Set To Run Public Relations, a small boutique p.r. firm changed his life and career trajectory propelling him into the music entertainment stratosphere along with Sony, Atlantic Records, Columbia Records and Def Jam. Working for labels like Polygram, Arista Records, Interscope and Sony BMG he handled some of their biggest stars Vanessa Williams, Tone Tone Tone, D’Angelo, Chaka Khan, Marilyn Manson, No Doubt, Dr. Dre, Tupac, Teddy Riley, OutKast, Goodie Mob, Drake and Prince to name a few. His namesake public relations firm The Chamber Group founded in 2006 continues to raise the bar working with legacy artists like Chaka Khan, Erykah Badu, Mariah Carey and the next superstars like Saweetie. His latest milestone the show stopping performance by his long term client Usher is proof he’s reaching new heights. He lays out the blueprint of his magical journey and how he continues to rise.

"When I look back I’ve been blessed. I look more at the blessings than the things are hard or stressful because that comes with life. What I’ve learned to is wake up and be thankful everyday. That’s where it starts for me and that’s where it ends. "


MUSA A true New Yorker who hails from the Boogie down Bronx. Who were some of your early influencers?
CHRIS My influencers were broad. I didn’t set out to be in p.r. and marketing. When I was at NYU, even though I was an English journalism major I was always influenced by the arts and culture. My great aunt, my grandmother’s sister Hazel was an artist. She painted and did poetry. She was just an artist all around. This was a woman from Jamaica who came to this country in the late ‘40s. I had her in my life growing up. So I was exposed to the arts. She was that early influence. In regards to my thought process to think broader. Being into discovery and things you didn’t know came from her. Then later in terms of my career, it would be people like Bethann Hardison. Bevy Smith was a big influence in my college early adult life. There were many people who came from different sectors of my life. That helped me to figure out where I am, who I am. All of it.
MUSA You went to NYU as journalism major which led you into the public relations industry? How did that come about?
CHRIS While I was at NYU, being in New York in such a competitive market as an English major. I wanted to work at one of the networks or one of the daily newspapers. It was just really competitive so the department that handles internships found me an internship at this boutique p.r. firm called Set To Run Public Relations. It was a small boutique firm but it handled Sony, Atlantic Records, Def Jam, Columbia Records. All of the majors. This was that era when Russell Simmons and Lyon Cohen were still running Def Jam. Donny Ienner and Tommy Motola were still running Sony and Columbia. Sylvia Rhone was at Atlantic. Clive Davis was at Arista Records. The Icons. I was fortunate that it was their first year doing this internship. Set To Run just wanted you to learn. It was a complete learning experience. Taught us how to write press releases. Took us on set to photoshoots. We were really involved. It is what makes the whole intern program very important in my own company. That internship changed my life.
MUSA Tell us about your time at Arista Records as Senior Vice President of media relations.
CHRIS My whole career has such a colorful journey and blessing. After Set To Run. I left there launching Phat Farm. Russell Simmons clothing line. As we know that was one of the early indicators of this whole urban meets luxury movement. The Streets into the fashion heads on how urban culture really is an influence on fashion. I then went to work for Polygram Records. I was a p.r. manager working with Brian McKnight, Vanessa Williams, Tone Tone Tone. From there I went to EMI Records. I had Prince, launched D’Angelo. Stayed there as a director until the company folded. I got a call from Jimmy Iovine, his team at Interscope Records wanted to meet with me. Honestly that was the life changing moment. This is when Jimmy Iovine ran Interscope. Interscope at the time was on fire as a label; Marilyn Manson, No Doubt, Dr. Dre, Tupac, Teddy Riley, all the Atlanta scene OutKast, Goodie Mob. It was where I found real nurturing, real support, where my voice and ideas really mattered. It was the most learning experience of my life. It was an amazing time to work with real artists. People that didn’t need instagram, or Tik Tok. The art came from within them. They were real creatives. That was a major part of my career. And just by chance when L.A. Reid took over Arista I was l going through contract negotiations at Interscope. L.A. is a different beast then Jimmy. L.A. is tailored suits, fine dining. You come to his mansion in Atlanta, the butler opens the door and says, “Mr. Reid is waiting for you in the music room”. I was like Black people really live like this. It was on a whole other level. Honestly I had no plans on leaving Interscope. By the time I got to New York my lawyer was like L.A. Reid really wants you there is deal on the table right now. Before I knew it I was working for L.A. and doing all the LaFace stuff under Arista i.e. TLC, OutKast, Usher. Again it was such an experience. Jimmy Iovine would show up in baseball cap, jeans, the rockstar look. L.A. Reid was refined. Everything was refined. You had to come to work looking like an executive with power. We moved as a real team. It was a movement. He brought that Atlanta sound to the world and made it commercially big pop music. I was a part of that. It was good for me to experience different styles of being an executive within that whole music space at the time. From there Arista folded into Sony BMG and then Clive Davis who came back into power of running it all asked me to stay. They created a position where I worked across all the labels under Sony BMG. I worked with Arista, J Records, Jive Records. It was a unique position. The universe lays it out for you in terms of what it is going to be. As much as I was a creative that position was more upper management. Which prepared me from there to start The Chamber Group. It was an interesting time in which things organically went from one step to the next step to the next step preparing me for something I wasn’t even thinking about.
MUSA When you founded The Chamber Group in 2006 you had established relationships with so many famous clients. Did some of them come with you to help build your own brand or did you start completely fresh?
CHRIS I was fortunate because when I decided I was leaving Sony BMG. A year before my contract was up I spoke with Clive and his partner Charles Goldstuck and they were not going to let me leave early. They were like we love you. We would love for to you to stay. They offered me a consultant contract. That’s how The Chamber Group started. I wasn’t leaving to start my own company I was literally interviewing for jobs. I was up for a job at MAC Cosmetics, Ralph Lauren. People saw that the skill set I had within the music world could easily be transferred into other areas. Sony BMG gave me so much work that I brought my assistant with me and that’s how The Chamber Group was formed.
MUSA The Chamber Group at one time or another has worked with well known artists likes of Chaka Khan. Drake, Naomi Campbell, Erykah Badu, Future, Jill Scott, Mariah Carey, Teyana Taylor. Is it more challenging working with established artists or helping build newer artists?
CHRIS I enjoy nurturing and coming in at that development stage because that’s the fun part of the job. To see something grow from a seed into this flower. It’s such a great feeling because when you see that you realize that person established their dream. I don’t know what it’s like to have a child but it is birthing this thing to see it explode in front of the world in a good way. Working with some of the established icons like Chaka Khan for me that is like wow. I grew up listening to Rufus & Chaka and then Chaka. Now she’s calling me on the phone. Asking me what are we doing. It’s in those moments where I look at my career and say I’m blessed. I am blessed to have had those experiences to have worked with true talents which I think has been a good thing for me. Because it keeps my own taste level of the kind of people I want to work with at a certain bar. I do think that those artists like Chaka, Mariah Carey and Usher is a level of artistry that we just don’t see anymore. So committed to their art. Erykah Badu is another one. When you see that level of commitment along with creativity.
MUSA Your client Usher recently performed at the Super Bowl. How much planning does something of that magnitude take?
CHRIS It takes months of planning. It’s a long process. Even the process of the NFL and their partner Roc Nation to see that this person is worthy of that experience. It’s like campaigning. Then when you’re fortunate enough to have it come to fruition. I think for all of us who were involved in that process it was such a learning experience. You’re learning the NFL which is big business. Much bigger than sports or football it is global big business. That whole superbowl halftime experience for me I was just in awe at this stage of my career I could be in a position where I’m excited to learn this machine. That was the biggest take away for me. And of course being happy for an artist like Usher who has had a thirty year career to be recognized in that way. Especially as a black artist we know how the fights that artists of color have to go through to gain what they deserve. It was special moment that I will never forget.
MUSA As the proud son of Jamaican immigrants did you ever feel like that gave you an edge in how you pursued the American dream?
CHRIS Coming from the mindset in which I grew up it was just more about education. It was once have your education that’s something that no one can take from you. So arm yourself with education so you can pursue whatever you desire. That’s how I was raised by my Jamaican parents. It was always strive for A. That is what was instilled in me. B and C was never good enough. Aim for A if it lands on B that’s fine but don’t limit yourself. That’s how I’ve always lived my life. With my career, personally I believe we are filled with greatness in our own way. I think we are afraid to reach for certain things because we think it’s unattainable. That’s the one thing coming from Jamaican immigrants knowing that they came here really pushed through and built an even better life for themselves. It’s just what I know. You work hard and strive for the best and carry yourself with pride and respect for yourself. Once you respect yourself that’s what you expect from others and that’s what you will receive. I’m so proud of my Jamaican heritage. I can say that my family is amazing and I love them. Any of this wouldn’t be possible without them.
MUSA What was your Mama I made it moment?
CHRIS I think it was working with Prince. When I was at EMI Records. I’m at Paisley Park at midnight. I’m having a meeting with Prince. He’s calling on my office phone asking what were the reviews. It was just one of those moments that was beyond what I imagined for my career.
MUSA For anyone wishing to be a publicist what advice would you give them?
CHRIS If you can intern with a p.r. firm. I feel the internship is a major part of building a career in p.r. If that’s what you want to pursue. We’ve hired amazing interns over the years that all started out as p.r. assistants. Now they have grown into directors, V.P.s and have flourished into major players in the public relations field. I think that when one is fortunate to land an internship where you’re learning your able to be thrown into the mix of what are everyday work life. It really gives you an idea of if this is for you or not.
MUSA You’ve been a Brooklyn resident for a long time. What is it about Brooklyn that makes it so special?
CHRIS To be really honest I was a Manhattan guy. No one even thought I would ever move to Brooklyn. I was like nope I’m that New Yorker. The thing I love about Brooklyn it’s so rich in culture. You feel the influences of every culture that lives in the borough. People are more accepting of different cultures. I love black people who have been here for many years and are homeowners. Absolutely amazing brownstones. This a neighborhood that I was lucky to be a part of. It’s like you moved into my neighborhood and you can feel that.
MUSA Since founding The Chamber Group in 2006 what are some of the fundamental changes you’ve experienced in the public relations space?
CHRIS I think p.r. has changed so much because the media has grown so much. Newspapers, magazines and other media outlets are hanging on to survive. Technology has changed the space. Social media has changed the space. We are constantly adjusting. You have to be okay with learning a new way by using different tools to get the job done. I feel p.r. is so much closer to marketing now than ever before. But I also one of those people who embrace change. I like to challenge myself. So it doesn’t scare me or move me to an uncomfortable place. I don’t think without that challenge I would still be able to do what I do.

" lot of times people think they are interviewing us or hiring us but we are hiring you. I’m deciding if I want to work with you. If I can I add to your plate. If I’m the right person and my team that can help you reach your goals."

MUSA How do you decide who you will represent? Are there some famous clients with say to much baggage or negative press that you just have to decline?
CHRIS I mean there are so many different ways as to who we take on or people we don’t work with. For me I always compare that to when you’re choosing a doctor or dentist. It really has to feel like it’s the right fit. That’s how I decide who we work with or don’t work with. A lot of times people think they are interviewing us or hiring us but we are hiring you. I’m deciding if I want to work with you. If I can I add to your plate. If I’m the right person and my team that can help you reach your goals. I’m okay with sometimes wanting to work a project and being a realist and realize that this may not work for us. But I’ll recommend others when I feel like it’s not right for us. There are a lot of talented people out there. It’s usually that natural energy space this feels like The Chamber Group. This feels like something we can sink our teeth into and really add to the clients goals.
MUSA You have an extensive fabulous wardrobe. How would describe your personal style?
CHRIS My personal style goes from A to Z. It depends on my mood that day. It can literally go from Rick Owens, very black, goth to tailored and classic like Ralph Lauren and Thom Browne. I love fashion and that came from my Mom. My mom is one of those Jamaican women that when she would get ready for work she would look amazing. She was that influence. Growing up she would buy me suits from Saks Fifth Avenue. It really is the influence of growing up like that.
MUSA With so much responsibility. What does Chris do for himself to keep balanced?
CHRIS Hang around my family helps me to be balanced. Taking time for myself. Alone time is really important for me. Connecting with my spirituality. I go to church every Sunday. It means a lot to me because it’s that little sacrifice of my time and connecting just giving thanks and being grateful. Those are the little things keep me balanced.
MUSA Our mutual dear friend media personality & actress Bevy Smith says, it gets greater later. How would you describe this season in your life?
CHRIS It’s an amazing season. But I honestly feel like my life and career has been a complete blessing. Not to say that everything has been amazing but when I look back I’ve been blessed. I look more at the blessings than the things are hard or stressful because that comes with life. What I’ve learned to is wake up and be thankful everyday. That’s where it starts for me and that’s where it ends. I don’t have time to worry about what was not working or what was not given to me. I stay focused on the things that are for me and I’m happy for others. Being happy for others is really important to me. I don’t feel competitive against anyone I want everyone to win, to thrive. I really do feel this way. I say this all the time. I want that feeling because I don’t want my own blessings blocked. I want everyone to do well.

Cover Star: Chris Chambers @chamberschris

Creative Director / Photographer:

Marc Baptiste @marcbaptistephotos

Interviewer:  Musa Jackson

Styling by @the_real_re_edit for @thestylemonsters

Stylist asst @tourecoffey

Grooming @camaraaunique


Jacket by @CultOfIndividuality

Hoodie by @NeilBarrett

Jeans by @UniqLo

Glasses by @RickOwens

Jacket by @Eppersonstudios

Tank by @ysl

Jeans by @Levis

Boots by @ysl

Shirt by @Prada

Pants by @Gucci

Watch @Bredastudio

Shirt by @ysl

pants by @Gucci

Shoes by @Gucci

Ring by @MaikoSuzuki

Jacket by @Chanel

Shorts by @DriesVanNoten

Slides by @FearOfGod

Socks by @OffWhite

Shirt by @ysl

Pant by @Gucci

Jacket by @LouisVuitton

Sweater by @GiorgioArmani

Pants by @addidasY3

Sneakers by @RickOwensOnline

Bracelet by #BottegaVeneta

Ring Chris’ own

Coat, sunglasses and sneakers by


Sweater by @GiorgioArmani

Pants by @addidasY3

Bracelet by #BottegaVeneta

Ring Chris’ own

Location: Chris Chambers home. Brooklyn, NY


Founder & Editor In Chief:

Musa Jackson

Art Director/ Cover & Editorial Graphics:

Paul Morejon @Paulmorejon



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