APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) -
Take 200 musical artists, 60+ venues, and 900 shows, and what do you get? Mile 7 of the Mile of Music in downtown Appleton. It’s happening this weekend, and we wanted to know more about how this community festival came to be. In this week’s Get 2 the Point podcast, we talk with Cory Chisel, a singer/songwriter with strong Appleton roots but who’s also traveled the world as an artist.
Chisel and his family came to Appleton when he was 8. He grew up here, until he got his big break—a contract with RCA records. While in his 20’s, Chisel worked in New York, Los Angeles, and eventually Nashville when his contract wasn’t renewed. He continued creating with friends and mentors, writing, recording and touring the world. Still, Chisel was seeking more.
"When you are touring with the absolute most creatively inspiring people in the world, traveling in jets, and staying in the nicest hotels and you’re still miserable? Like no one else can do anything for you. You need to make hard choices and change."
A conversation with Dave Willems, who runs a marketing firm in the Fox Valley, led to that something more. The duo created the Mile of Music, which made its debut in 2013. They had worked together on various charity shows. Chisel knew the community had a willingness to try new things, but he had no expectations.
”I think everyone was curious if we could pull off what we said we were going to pull off. I don’t know if we knew that we could. There is a thing that I figured about about myself over time, when I look at why I’ve been in this so long is that, I have very little fear of failure. Because if it doesn’t work? Who cares? We tried.”
It did work, and Chisel has moved back to Appleton where he is again cultivating a new dream. He’s part of a non-profit "The Refuge Foundation for the Arts" that’s set up shop in a former Monastery on the Fox River. Artists can stay, create, and perform and in return for giving back to the arts community in Northeast Wisconsin.
Hear more from Cory Chisel about the Mile of Music, The Refuge, and his plans for growing the arts in Northeast Wisconsin on this week’s Get 2 the Point podcast.