Cris was born in Chesapeake, Virginia. She is the daughter of a public school teaching mother and car mechanic father.

During junior high and high school, Cris sang in local country bands. Her passion for country music led her to Nashville in 1991. Upon graduating Vanderbilt University with a degree in English and Communication, Cris started work for Tom Collins Publishing as a receptionist. 

For the next 10 years, she worked as a songplugger for Fame Music, Island Bound, and Warner Chappell Music. In this capacity, she secured cuts and singles with Tim McGraw, George Strait, Diamond Rio, Carrie Underwood, Gretchen Wilson, Randy Travis, Kenny Chesney, Trace Adkins and many others.  

Most recently, Cris serves as VP of A&R for Warner Bros. Records Nashville. In addition to finding songs for the WMN roster, including Blake Shelton, Faith Hill, & Jana Kramer, she is currently working on records with Charlie Worsham, The Josh Abbott Band, Ashley Monroe, Randy Travis, Kenny Rogers, Frankie Ballard, Big Smo, James Dupre, and Johnny Gates & The Invite.