RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW AMERICAN ARTIST CRISTAL B.
Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
Introduce us to you and your musical history.
Hi, I’m Cristal B. and I’m an independent artist based in South Florida. I started releasing music in September 2021, but I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember and songwriting since I was about 10 years old.
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
Music has always been such an important part of my life, even as a child. It took the pandemic for me to really go for it as an independent artist though. It showed me life is too short and unpredictable to not do what makes you happy, and for me that’s making music.
What was the first song you heard that steered you into a music path?
Perhaps not a specific song, but I know for sure that Selena Quintanilla’s music had a huge impact on me as a child. I used to dress up like her and put on shows for my family after I watched the Selena movie. I was obsessed with the songs and sparkly outfits.
Name your 3 favorite Albums?
This is such a hard question because I have so many favorites. The following albums changed my life though and they’re really important to me:
1. Evermore & Folklore by Taylor Swift (I’m counting these two as one because it’s it’s impossible to pick between the two)
2. Dance Fever by Florence + The Machine
3. Ashlyn by Ashe
Honorary mentions: The King by Sarah Kinsley, Rae by Ashe, 21 by Adele, Dear You by Sarah Catharine
The music industry is the hardest industry in the world to progress in. How do you feel you are doing?
Honestly? I’m just glad to be able to put out music on my own terms. I’m probably always going to wish I was making more progress, but right now I’m happy to be connecting with people who care about it.
I’m seeing a lot of debate about women not feeling safe at music gigs. Any thoughts on what we need to do to help?
It would be really nice to see more women involved in different roles at gigs and in the industry in general. I think it would help us feel safer if we weren’t so outnumbered all the time. Also, we all need to do better about treating each other with respect and professionalism at gigs and everywhere else. It should feel safe for everyone involved, regardless of gender.
As you develop as an artist and develop using socials, what ways do you get new ears on your music? Any tips?
Social media is the main way I get new ears on my music. Posting on TikTok is probably the best way indie artists can get their music heard by different audiences online.
Offline, the best way is performing! Perform any time you get the chance to and don’t be shy about sharing your music with people. You never know, that new person you talk to about it might just become your next biggest fan!
Tell us two truths and a lie about you.
I once stepped on Joe Jonas’s shoe at a meet & greet.
I need coffee to get through my day.
I’m on Taylor Swift stan twitter.
Keep reading to find out the lie below I suppose.
What are your thoughts on Spotify’s monopoly on the music industry?
I hate it, of course. They’re really not out to help the little guy, but it gives me somewhere to post my music that is easily accessible to a large chunk of people.
Do you subscribe to any conspiracy theories?
Not really conspiracy theories, but I’ve been clowning a whole lot ever since I ended up on SwiftTok and Taylor’s side of Twitter, haha.
To be clear, I only interact with the positive, fun side of those things. Also, I’ve made some really nice Swiftie friends from ending up there, so no regrets!
What can I say? I’m a fangirl first, musician second.
What do you do in your free time?
I go to concerts as much as I possibly can! It’s my happy place. I love being at shows singing along to my favorite songs, seeing how the crowd connects with the music and artist, and also getting to dress up. Otherwise, you’ll find me curled up on my couch binging a K-Drama or watching a rom-com.
What was your worst experience on stage?
I don’t think I’ve ever truly had a bad experience on stage. I’ve had wardrobe malfunctions, I’ve messed up lyrics or chords before, and I’ve had to deal with equipment not working right. But even still, none of that really matters much when you’re doing what you love. You really do get a performance high.
Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about?
I don’t consume caffeine at all, so there’s the lie from earlier. Also, I work as a nurse at a local hospital. I know, a nurse that doesn’t drink coffee – shocking.
What makes you stand out as an artist?
I think what makes me stand out is that I’m not afraid of being honest and vulnerable with people. I really try to make genuine connections with my audience and create a safe space for them. I put my heart into everything I share, and I think you can really hear and see that.
I hear you have a new single, what can you tell us about it?
It’s called ‘Better Off’ and it’s one of those songs that you just want to scream-sing along to. It’s a ballad about realizing you’ve moved on from someone and that the mark they left on you is fading. It may sound sad initially, but this song is really about relief and it’s quite hopeful in my opinion.
Talk me through the thought process of the new tune.
There was a very specific moment in my life that inspired this song. I remember I was brushing my teeth one morning and it suddenly occurred to me that I couldn’t remember my ex’s middle name anymore. It made me giddy honestly. I wrote down the bridge in my notes and didn’t come back to it for a while.
A few months later, I had a writing session with my co-writer, Carrie Bussen. We wanted to write a ballad to pitch to another artist and we had a very short deadline for it. I showed her the idea I had and we ended up finishing the rest of the song within an hour or so. I produced it and recorded vocals by the end of that day. I sent it over to Bryan Encalada to mix and master it, and voila! We had a song to pitch.
What was the recording process like?
We really thought this song was gonna go to another artist initially, which made the recording process really freeing. I’m the type to record the same line over and over to get it just right, but with this song I didn’t really do that because I figured the vocals were going to get re-recorded anyway. I was so amped up from the writing process and the emotions felt so fresh still that you could really hear that vulnerability in the vocals. It only took a couple takes and we kept those demo vocals in.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tune?
Well, we wrote it to pitch to someone else, but that didn’t pan out as we had hoped. We ended up tabling the song for a few months because we kept thinking we might pitch it to someone else, but I couldn’t shake the feeling of wanting to release it myself. I really didn’t want to release another ballad yet, but that song felt so special and true to who I am. I had played it for a few friends and they asked me why I wasn’t releasing it and I didn’t really have a good answer. It was the little push I needed.
Would you change anything now that it’s finished?
No, I don’t think I would. It’s not perfect by any means, but that’s not what music is about. I wouldn’t be opposed to releasing an updated version of it in the future, with bigger production, but I love where it is right now. I think this song really meets me where I am.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
I hope you love ‘Better Off’ as much as I do and that you’ll check out my other songs if you haven’t already. It means the world to me that you’re listening and I hope you’ll come say hi on my socials! Thank you for your patience and support, sending you big virtual hugs.