Memphis Music Feature: Chris Milam

Discover new music and get to know the amazing people making that music with these I Love Memphis Music Features. Check out all the music features here.

Memphis artist Chris Milam is set to release his third album, Orchid South: a kinetic, slyly subversive rock record inspired by the music and events of his teenage years. The album which is set in 1990s Memphis will be released in May of 2024.

Ahead of the release, we're getting to know Milan in this interview.

Chris Milam singing and playing guitar
Drew Fleming

Our Interview with Chris Milam:

How would you describe your style of music?

I tell people I'm a singer-songwriter--that seems to click. But the style shifts from album to album. The first album Kids These Days was folk-inspired with electronic elements and strings. The second album Meanwhile was stripped down and leaned Americana. The next album (out 2024) is rock & roll. If I ever make the same album twice, please throw cabbage at me.

Is there a song of yours that is especially special to you and why?

Dang! If I pick one, the others are gonna sulk in the corner. I'll say the new single, "Cut Myself Shaving." It's the first single off the next album, and it's a good introduction. This record is about my teenage years, written from the perspective of a teenager. It's the album I wanted to make since I picked up a guitar, but it took me a long time to feel ready. It's equal parts 90's alt rock, Memphis power pop, 3-part harmonies, and plenty of horns. Big, layered rock and roll for the big, layered feelings of adolescence.

What about Memphis inspires you creatively?

Everything. Like a lot of writers, I eavesdrop shamelessly. Many of my songs take phrases from everyday conversation and reframe them. Memphis is full of poetry--all you gotta do is listen.

What do you love about the current Memphis music scene? 

Younger artists. I recently played the Tambourine Bash benefiting Music Export Memphis and was blown away by the other artists on the bill. Memphis has always been a special place in terms of the depth and breadth of musical talent. It still is!

Which place gives you that Memphis vibe?

The thing about Memphis is that it's Memphis everywhere--you don't have to perch upstairs at Ernestine's for something funny, weird, musical, or memorable to happen. I just checked out at Kroger and the cashier said "you're gonna be hungry but you're gonna be clean." Put it on my headstone!

Do you have a story that changed you as an artist, a moment in time that moved the needle for you?

In 2017, I was lucky enough to spend a month collaborating, traveling, and performing with Stax legend and personal hero William Bell. The last night, we performed at the Liverpool Philharmonic--it was the perfect cap to an unforgettable experience. Towards the end, Mr. Bell said some really kind things about my songwriting and told me he expects great things from me. I think about that moment on my bad days. And my good days. 
photo of Chris Milam full
Lisa Mac
Chris Milam

What is the most unexpected music interest you have?

It's possible I'm the biggest Gin Blossoms fan on earth. Apologies to everyone who's heard me link the intro for "Til I Hear It From You" and the bridge for Big Star's "Way Out West." Also I'm not sorry.

Where can we hear you?

You can stream my music everywhere online: Spotify, Apple, YouTube, etc. There's no Memphis show currently on the books, but that'll change soon. I recommend following me on IG (@chrismilammusic) and checking

What are you working on currently or any recent projects? 

My third album, Orchid South, is on the way (early 2024)! I have a bit of touring this fall, then I'll hit the road hard and heavy in 2024. I can't wait to share this album with y'all.

photo of musician Chris Milam
Tommy Kha

About the Author

Hello! I'm Jalyn Souchek, the Director of Content for I Love Memphis Blog! I love calling the 901 home. When I'm not running the blog you can find me cheering on the Grizzlies, at a concert, exploring a new restaurant or kicking back at one of our breweries. I hope you'll love experiencing Memphis with me.

Build your perfect Memphis meal:

I love to eat so if I were to have only one meal left.. I’m going all out. I’d start with an app of Gumbo Fries from Blue City Cafe or Bayou Fries from Chef Tam, wings from Good Fortune or Central’s (honey gold and Jamaican Jerk), potato salad from Fat Larry’s, side of bbq spaghetti from Bar-B-Q Shop, and fried okra from Soul Fish. All paired with a Beale Street Brewing Space Age Sippin’.

Your most memorable Memphis moment:

College GameDay on Beale Street. That was an electric and perfect morning. I was still working in news then and was able to take it in up close and on the stage at some points. The fun and joy of everyone down there that morning is unbeatable.

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