Chris Simpson Gone But Not Forgotten

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I want to tell you about my friend Chris Simpson…

By chance, I was fortunate to meet worship leader Fred Williams while visiting my corporate office yesterday [article originally written September 4, 2008].

We talked for a few minutes and I asked if he knew Chris Simpson. I hadn’t seen Chris in a long time and wondered how my old friend was doing.

Chris had already been a full-fledged gospel singer with John P Kee by the time I met him – a fact he conveniently hid from me for several weeks after we had met. I knew Chris had gone on to travel with Kirk Franklin and then cut his own album, but we hadn’t seen each other for many years. I was always extremely proud of Chris and kept up with his life from a distance.

What I didn’t know is that Chris was tragically killed by the injuries he suffered from an out of control car back in June ’08. My heart dropped inside my chest. I could feel myself struggling to catch a breath. Chris was only 36 years old.

My mind wandered to his family…

I wish I could tell them how much Chris Simpson meant to me as a friend.

Chris Simpson

So, here’s my story about Chris Simpson…

Read every word and you may find out a few things about Chris you never knew.

I met Chris back in the early 90’s. We were hired as telemarketers for NEST Entertainment and worked directly under Marshall Simms. Shannon Winn-Cannon was our manager.

This wasn’t my first gig as a telemarketer – it turned out to be my last. It wasn’t Chris’ first one either. He used to tell me about working the phone room for Televangelist Robert Tilton. He “accepted donations” and “seed faith offerings” for Robert Tilton.

The only problem was that Chris wasn’t allowed to handle callers wanting to “plant a seed” greater than $1,000. He laughed when he told me, but I could tell it bothered him too.

Chris and I hit it off almost immediately. I’ll admit, we were an odd pair. I was the big white guy and Chris was the super-cool black man. A telemarketing room is like that though… like a war-time fox hole… everybody is just trying to make it to payday. Nobody is there because they want to be. That’s where Chris and I became friends – in the bloody trenches of that window-less telemarketing room.

Chris could outsell anybody in the room… if he wanted to.

Most days, he let me have that “honor” while he entertained me with funny stories about life on the road and his incredible voice impersonations.

Our supervisor, Marshall Simms, would get mad at us for not staying on the phones, but Chris would crack a few jokes and she would just walk away shaking her head and laughing. I didn’t get in any trouble when Chris was around. He had my back!

I knew that Chris didn’t want to be tied up to that earpiece… nobody does.

If I close my eyes, I can still hear that auto-dialer beep in my ear and ramble off the first few phrases of my sales pitch… “Hi! This is Mike with NEST Entertainment. We’re the ones that make those animated Bible videos…”

Chris’ heart was in singing and ministry, but we were stuck in the telemarketing trench… together.

Chris did this impersonation of Martin Luther King Jr. sometimes when he was selling. It was so good. People would buy the dumb videos just to hear him talk.

We wasted a lot of time swapping stories… his stories were always better than mine… especially the stories about John P Kee.

If it wasn’t for Chris, I wouldn’t have even come to work most days. Chris would always tell me, “Hold on Mike. We’re going to get out of here someday.”

Chris hid the fact that he was a gospel singer from me for awhile.

When he finally let the cat out of the bag, he said, “Yeah, I do a little singing.” I said, “Cool, I can play a little keyboard. We should get together and do something.”

I can still remember Chris’ response, “Yeah, that sounds good”.

The only problem was that I really did play a little keyboard and Chris was a serious singer… real serious… best I’ve ever known personally.

I found out just how good he was when he accepted my invitation to come sing at my church in Grand Prairie, TX. one Sunday morning.

Our Sunday service started at 10:00 a.m.
Chris showed up right on time (CFT) at 11:00 a.m.

I motioned to him to the front and he sat down on the platform next to me. He had brought a home-made audio tape with his background music and I thought to myself, “God help me! I’m in so much trouble with the Pastor.”

I never heard Chris sing before that morning. I just figured he could sing… that ragged looking mix tape had me worried big time.

Chris brought the house down! There wasn’t a dry eye in the whole church. I don’t even remember the name of the song, but it was so powerful and fit right in with what the Pastor was preaching that morning.

I just remember thinking, “Chris, you told me you sing a little.”

Every note that resonated out of his body was God’s gift to anyone fortunate enough to hear a hint of what the angels really sound like.

Chris and I did some more ministry things together outside of work, but I lost track of Chris shortly after I left that telemarketing job – forever – just like Chris said would happen.

God got us out of there and I’ve never had to go back.

Chris went on to do some amazing things too.

People have come and they’ve gone leaving me all alone, but I heard you say, “Chris, be strong.” You keep me holding on. – Chris Simpson, You Keep Me Holding On

I always hoped Chris and I would hook back up…

I guess we will, but it will be on the other side of the pearly gates instead.

I miss you Chris.

Peace,
Mike

p.s. If you’ve got a minute, take a look at this video featuring Chris on vocals with Kirk Franklin… “I don’t need material things, all I need is the love you bring…”

p.p.s. Today is July 31, 2013 and I’m reading this article again… while listening to Chris sing, “He Can Do It!” from his Conversion album. Still miss you buddy. See you on the other side.

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20 thoughts on “Chris Simpson Gone But Not Forgotten

  1. Wilma

    I’m missing my brother terribly today and decided to search the web so that I could see and hear him. I ran across your article and it helped me a lot. Thank you so much for remembering my baby brother.

  2. Mike Post author

    I get searches from all over America wanting to read about Chris. Wilma, I can promise you that Chris isn’t forgotten, he’s loved and missed deeply.

  3. Pamela

    Hello Mike, my sister, Wilma, sent me this article that you have written about our baby brother, Chris, and your words were like salve to my wounded heart. Thank you Mike. I love Chris so much…and I miss him. Chris was/is the youngest of four and the only son…continue to pray for us.

  4. LaTonya (Niece)

    I have had such a hard time listening to my uncles voice, and I thought I would never be able to do anything regarding his time here with me, but I have to say to you Mike thanks because you have given me an out to share with everyone. Beside my name you see the word niece, and that’s because even though I was two years older than him, he always called me niece. I love this man more than I can express, and I miss him even more. Thank you for sharing what he has meant to you, I know he was something special in more ways than one.

  5. Ray

    Mike,
    Thank you for writing this article on Chris. Earlier I was watching the play “He Say, She Say, But What Does GOD Say?” on TV, and to my surprise, saw Chris in it; and to my shock, saw an “In Memory Of” message with Chris’ picture at the end of the credits.
    Chris and his wife were part of a community choir in Dallas around ’93-’95, and I played trumpet for that choir. He invited me to play at a musical that he was putting on, and I did. After moving from Dallas in ’95, I didn’t see Chris until the “JESUS is the Reason” Christmas video. I was (and am) extremely proud of how Chris let the LORD use him and his gift, and I am sorry to hear of his passing. I will keep all of his family and loved ones in my prayers. May GOD continue to bless and keep all of you.

  6. Mike Post author

    Thank you Ray for sharing your memories of Chris. I’m going to have to find a copy of the play because I haven’t seen it yet.

  7. Maurice Wilkinson

    Hey Mike,
    I ran across your article while doing a search for my dear friend Chris Simpson. I was also a co worker of Chris u can say that we starred in many plays together He Say She Say was one of them we were roommates also out on the road and when i say i am a better man to have met Chris is a understatement. I thank you for keeping his memory alive in our hearts and minds.

  8. Jermaine Simpson

    Hello Mike,
    I am Jermaine Simpson, and I am the closest person to Chris there ever was, I am his brother. As I sit here on this anniversary day of his passing, and not wanting to speak to anyone (because my phone has been ringing like crazy with people wanting to check on me), your article brought a smile to my face and a laughter within my spirit. I read the article shortly after you initially published it, but today it ministered to me. Theres not a day that goes by, where I don’t think about him, and it hurts as if everything happenend today and not 3 years ago. Keep praying for me and the family as we continue to try and keep things moving. I also found a youtube clip of Jesus is the reason..in the search bar type “kirk franklin he is the reason” and there you will se one of the most anointed and spirited singers ever! Chris Simpson will live forever. And you can find the stageplays he did at davidetalbert.com..he sya she say, and mr right now are the ones that he is filmed in, but he had a role in every play dave talbert completed..along with the great Maurice”Bootsy” Wilkinson! Be Blessed!! And thanks for uplifting me today…now let me start answering this phone…lol

  9. Mike Post author

    I wrote this article over 3 years ago…

    I still think about Chris all of the time because he was a special person.

    People from all over the United States and across the world search for him to this day because they miss him too. I’m thankful that I was able to share in his life for the short time the Lord left him here on earth.

    His music pops up on my iTunes whenever I have it on shuffle and his voice still blesses my soul.

    Some day, and I believe it will be soon, we’ll gather around the throne and worship together again. Until that day, be encouraged.

    Mike

  10. W J

    Wow! I have been looking for Chris for a long time. I decided to do a search and your article came up. I was so saddened by the news. It is unbelievable. I am in shock but at least it explains why we haven’t heard any new songs.I remember him being married to Karen. I was a dj at a gospel station and got a chance to meet hm. One of his songs I still sing all the time. It’s a short song of Praise..I think it’s “I Come”. Some of the lyrics…”Lord I come into your Presence with singing, Lord I come into your courts, with praise, Lord I come into your gate with thanks giving, Lord I come into your presence with gladness.” We miss you Chris, thanks for leaving a legacy of great songs.

  11. JCombs

    Thank you, Mike, for posting this. I had the pleasure of meeting Chris when he recorded lead vocals for my husband’s single, “King of Kings”. He was kind enough to share his gift with us, and we will be forever grateful. He is gone but will never be forgotten.

  12. James III and Sherry

    Mike, thank you for sharing. What a blessing. We did not know Chris personally but we were blessed by his ministry. May GOD continue to comfort and strengthen his family and love ones.

  13. J M H

    Still a little hard for me to believe to Mike. I learned of Chris’ passing last year. I spent alot of time out of the country and under the radar due to my previous employer. Chris certainly was blessed with not only a voice, but humor. The guy that produced his CD is an older brother to me. I did not appear on the project because I was out of the country. But I followed the project closely. I still from time to time sit down to play and out comes “You Keep Me Holding On”. And I at times dig the cd up and play it.

  14. MLK

    Uncle Chris was and is the bestest uncle – big – brother ever ! ! ! God , music and chix. Lol. The stories never get old. All of ur nephews miss u. The family miss u. See u soon. Tell everyone love loves @ all times.

    Lk 1 : 37

  15. Wilma Knight

    I miss my brother. Today is his birthday. I shall always sing the song you gave me…I’ll Bless Your Name Through It!

  16. langston coleman

    my father would be proud of both of my brothers christopher the third and cj. I really miss my dad so much and it pains me that he died when i was 4. but surprisingly i remember all the things we did before then. like when he took me to different places in texas, when he took me to the studio with him, when we ate at different places, watched movies, and alot of other things. both my dad and my nana(grandma) were the ones who tought me how to play the keyboard and they both inspired me to be the best i can, including my mom. dad, we’ll miss you.

    love,langston

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