Wildcat Tracks: Khris Stillman ’06
Sometimes when you are immersed in a culture, you start to envision ways to change it for the better. For Khris Stillman ’06, this is exactly what happened during his years spent touring as a musician, ultimately inspiring him to start his own record label, Kingly Common. Khris was a drummer for several artists all over the country. He says, “During that time in my life, I slowly started learning the management side of the business and actually decided to start my own management company.” This decision came after Khris saw an industry-wide shift of artists leaving major record labels to either sign with independent labels or create their own. “Years later I ended up crossing paths again with a good friend whom I had done some tour dates with in the past,” Khris says. “He was back in Missouri pursuing the idea of starting a record label with a local producer and mutual friend of ours. This led to the creation of Kingly Common, a place we wanted Christian artists from all over to be able to call home with a family-style atmosphere. We wanted to create a label that would support Christian artists in a way that no other label could. Our priorities include drawing up contracts that are more beneficial to the artist and providing personal relationships, much like family relationships, as opposed to ones that are about a ‘What can you do for me?’ mentality.”
When Khris talks about Kingly Common, his foundation of faith becomes apparent — a faith that was nourished while he was a student at Westminster.
Westminster was amazing for me — it taught me ways of approaching life while keeping my faith grounded through every twist and turn. Mr. Burkey is a teacher I’ll never forget. He was passionate about God, passionate about teaching, and cared deeply for his students. He made you feel like family.
“For me, what carried over into college and beyond was learning how to love people well and keep pursuing my faith. It’s something we even talk about often at the label: How do we love our artists well? Show them that love and treat them as if they are family to us?” Khris practices this philosophy as Head of Management for Kingly Common and all of their artists. “I handle the company finances, bookings, touring and event logistics, plus I do the same for all of our artists. With my background in touring this was a big asset for the label and one piece I always had a love for.”
Talking to Khris about the artists on his label, it’s easy to see his passion for them. He shares such excitement for the performers Kingly Common currently works with and even those they hope to sign down the road. “We started with a local artist by the name of Lloyd Nicks that we signed in 2020 and subsequently released his first single through our label. It ended up going to radio, then spending 21 weeks on Billboard’s Top 50 Christian Airplay chart. This began to open many doors for us and in turn led us to our newest signing — Chezzarai, a Christian female artist out of Nashville. As far as who we hope to sign, we have a collective understanding that we are just putting our sails up and letting God move us in the direction He wants us to move. Both of these artists have come to our label in a way that only God could have orchestrated, so we are focusing on what we have before us and will be ready when the time presents itself to expand the roster again. We are still new, but we are overwhelmed by the doors God has continued to open for us and how He has continued to bless our mission in the industry. I’m very excited to see where this next chapter will take us!”
When you are led by faith, the work you do becomes a blessing. Khris and his colleagues model a great example of that philosophy by the way they are running Kingly Common. “I would say the best part about what we do is being able to see the impact these artists make on people with their God-given talent. I still get moved at every show watching people pursue God in worship and by the fact that He has given us this platform to bring people to His throne. It’s a blessing to witness and a blessing to be a part of! There is a collective passion that we are all doing this because this is what we feel God has called us to do, and that camaraderie makes it a joy to put in all the work every day.”
To learn more about Kingly Common, check out @kinglyofficial on Instagram.