Phillips was born Gilliam Chynna Phillips in Los Angeles, California. She is known as a member of Wilson Phillips and for being the daughter of The Mamas & the Papas' band members John and Michelle Phillips and the half-sister of actress Mackenzie Phillips.
Phillips began her career in acting. She appeared in films such as 1987's Some Kind of Wonderful, 1988's Caddyshack II, 1989's Say Anything and as the title character Roxanne Pulitzer in the 1989 television biopic Roxanne: The Prize Pulitzer.
In the late 1980s, Phillips formed the trio Wilson Phillips with her childhood friends Carnie and Wendy Wilson. Wilson Phillips released their debut album, Wilson Phillips, in 1990. Their debut single, "Hold On", hit #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart on June 9, 1990, bumping Madonna's "Vogue" off the top spot.
The single was also #1 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary and became a worldwide hit, peaking at #2 in Australia, #6 in the UK, #7 in Ireland, #10 in Sweden, and at #15 in the Netherlands, Germany, and Switzerland. The single also won Wilson Phillips the Billboard Music Award for Hot 100 Single of the Year for 1990.
The second and fourth singles from the album also became number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100: "Release Me" (2 weeks) and "You're in Love" (1 week). The singles "Impulsive" and "The Dream Is Still Alive'", peaked at #4 and #12, respectively, on the Hot 100.
In June 1992, Wilson Phillips released their second album, Shadows and Light. The album was deeply personal and adopted a more serious tone, with tracks exploring issues such as child abuse ("Where Are You") and their estrangement from their fathers ("Flesh and Blood", "All the Way From New York"). The first single, "You Won't See Me Cry,'" peaked at #20 in the US and #18 in the UK, the first time they had a higher-ranking single in the UK than in the US. The album peaked at #4 on the Billboard 200 and was certified platinum.
Shortly after the release of Shadows and Light, Chynna Phillips announced plans for a solo career, and the group decided to disband.
In 1995, Phillips released her debut solo album, Naked and Sacred, but failed to recapture the success she found with Wilson Phillips.
In 1995, she returned to acting appearing as Kim MacAfee in the television movie Bye Bye Birdie. In 2004, she voiced the character of Kitty along with her husband William Baldwin as Johnny 13 in Danny Phantom.
Chynna appeared in brother-in-law Stephen Baldwin's documentary Livin It: Unusual Suspects. In 2009, she teamed up with singer/songwriter Vaughan Penn to form the duo "Chynna and Vaughan." The two released their debut album, "One Reason" on September 22, 2009.
In 2004, Wilson Phillips reunited to record their third album California which featured cover tunes from West Coast singers from the 1960s and 1970s.
In September 2009, Chynna's half-sister Mackenzie Phillips alleged in a her memoir that she and her father had a "non-consensual" ten-year incestuous relationship. While both Genevieve Waite, John's wife at the time, and Michelle Phillips, John's second wife, told the media that they did not believe her claims, Chynna Phillips stated on the record that she did believe Mackenzie was telling the truth.
Chynna Phillips entered rehab for anxiety on Feb. 12, 2010.
Chynna was a contestant on Dancing With the Stars in 2011, and was eliminated in Week 4 despite what many said, were strong performances.
Chynna has Announced that Wilson Phillips would be reuniting again for an original album to celebrate their 20 years together as a musical group featuring Mamas and the Papas and Beach Boys' tunes. The group was also featured in the blockbuster comedy film Bridesmaids.