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VSCC Alumni: Where Are They Now?

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Madison West

Volunteer State Community College Alumnus Chris Vest, once a student at the community college studying music, went on to be the drummer for the rock band, Framing Hanley.

“I knew that I wanted to do something in the music industry, at the time I had aspirations of becoming a producer,” Vest said.

Growing up Vest always dreamed of pursuing a career in music, he said.

“It sounds strange to say, but I honestly did fulfill my childhood dream. I wanted to tour the world playing music and I was fortunate enough to do that. As I got older and had a family, my priorities and dreams changed. I am forever grateful for that time and where it led me now,” said Vest.

Vest grew up in Hendersonville, Tennessee, and chose Vol State because it offered opportunity to complete core classes and stay close to home at the same time, he said.

According to an article published in Modern Drummer, Vest grew up next door to the drummer for Patty Loveless.

“I would occasionally go over and attempt to play drums, but at the time, it sounded more like drums being thrown down-stairs. He eventually gave me my first snare drum, made out of some spare parts that he had lying around the house, and that was the beginning,” he said.

According to Vest, while attending Vol State, Vest and a few friends formed a band that they called Embers Fade. Vest put up a bulletin in the music department saying that Embers Fade was looking for a singer. This was how Vest met Kenneth Nixon, Framing Hanley singer, and Embers Fade began to play when and wherever they could.

“There are two stories from my time at Vol State that stick out to me. One was when my band played in the cafeteria and how obnoxiously loud we were to anyone that was trying to eat. The other would be hosting a radio who on WVCP for a little while. I was pretty terrible at it, but I still enjoyed it a lot. It gave me a chance to play some music that I was a fan of and occasionally sneak in my band’s record from time to time,” Vest said.

The bands original guitarist, Brandon Wootten, had this to say about Vest.

“Looking back, that feels so long ago. If I could say anything about Chris, its that he is a hard-working family man and back then he was very dedicated to making his dreams come true. He was going to class, working part time, running late night Vol State radio, and booking one of our most memorable shows in the Vol State cafeteria. All to lead the band to small success. Chris is a true example that hard work and dedication does pay off,” said Wootten.

When asked if Vol State was helpful, Vest said that it was very helpful, and he felt like it prepared him well for when he transferred.

According to Vest, after he graduated from Vol State in 2006, he continued his education at Middle Tennessee State University to earn a degree in Recording Industry with a Music Concentration.

Vest ended up not completing his degree, as his band signed a record deal and he began touring causing him to leave school just a year shy of graduating, he said.

According to Vest, Embers Fade turned into Framing Hanley after they signed their record deal and changed their name.

After being signed to a label, Vest played with Framing Hanley until they split up in 2015, he said.

According to Vest, the most interesting experience while working with the band was being able to tour and visit and experience different countries and cultures.

Currently, as a songwriter based in Nashville, the most interesting experience about the job is getting to work with new people from different backgrounds and influences, he said.

Vest encouraged inspiring musician in the Nashville areas to “go out and immerse yourself.”

“We’re in a city full of music. There are a lot of real-world experiences that will either reinforce or change your desire to pursue a particular path,” he said.

According to his LinkedIn, in addition to songwriting, Vest is also a loan consultant with loanDepot in the greater Nashville area.

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