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Apostolos ’13 lights Chance the Rapper’s path to success

The “chance” to serve as the lighting designer for an up-and-coming hip-hop artist during his senior year of high school has paid off for Mike Apostolos ’13.

Just before graduating from Saint Patrick, Apostolos was hired to design the lighting for the performances of Chicago native Chancelor Bennett – now better known to most as Chance the Rapper.

Apostolos had just finished an internship at Performance Lighting of Elk Grove and was eager for the opportunity to hit the ground running. While working as an intern at Performance, Apostolos was a lighting assistant to a few larger-named acts and always had the goal in sight to work as a lead designer.

He and Chance clicked from the start and Apostolos has been alongside his friend throughout his recent journey to stardom. The St. Pat’s graduate now serves as Chance’s creative director and production designer – in addition to continuing to work on lighting – and has traveled to and helped produce performances at the White House, the Grammys and on “Saturday Night Live.”

Apostolos, 21, said he knew he found something special right from the start working with Chance.

“He has a great mindset, a great heart. There was something about him that I just knew I wanted to work with him,” he said. “I wanted to help him grow in any way shape or form that I could, and grow with him as well. … Being with Chance is one of the best experiences of my life. One minute, you’re sitting at home in Chicago, the next minute you’re walking the red carpet at the Grammys.”

While much of what Apostolos learned about the industry came outside the walls of Saint Patrick, he did gain some valuable experiences at Belmont and Austin. He served as a lighting designer for the student-written play “The Tragedy of Lucifer,” and said he learned a lot about perseverance from his St. Pat’s teachers and counselors.

“The staff at St. Pat’s really helped me grow as a person,” he said. “I learned to keep going as things got hard. They were very supportive, even of my outside endeavors. Pat’s did me well. The school helped me grow and I felt prepared for the outside world leaving Pat’s.”

Working with Chance has been a valuable experience for Apostolos in more ways than one. In addition to learning from Chance himself, he has also established a freelance company that has allowed him to work with the likes of Alicia Keys and Maren Morris, to name a few.

Apostolos is not sure of exactly what the future holds, but he does know that having the opportunity to work with Chance and other popular artists is allowing him to live out his passion for music and to create memorable experiences for others.

“I’ve always wanted to put on a show, whether it’s behind the scenes or on stage,” he said. “As a lighting designer and creative director, my job is to enhance the performance visually and bring the music to life. Therefore, I get to put on a show.”

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