RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW USA ARTIST CRISTAL B.
Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
What made you decide to become a soloist?
The pandemic made me realize life is too short and unpredictable to not do the things you love to do. I also needed an outlet for all the stress I was feeling and music has always been my favorite way to process life.
Introduce us all to you and your musical history?
Hi, I’m Cristal B. I’ve been releasing music since September 2021, but I’ve been singing since I was a little kid and writing since I was a teenager. I took a long break from making music in my early 20s and became a nurse. Eventually though, I realized that making music is essential to who I am as a person, so I started my music journey again.
What’s one question you’re sick of being asked when interviewed?
I wouldn’t say I’m sick of it, but it’s always really challenging for me to figure out how to describe my music style to people when they ask me to.
We set up RGM USA to share music with America and the UK, good idea?
I think it’s brilliant! My favorite thing about music is how people connect with it, so the more people it reaches, the better!
Do you subscribe to any conspiracy theories?
I don’t, but there are a handful of amusing ones out there.
Did you buy anything you didn’t need in the pandemic?
I was hyper-focused on learning how to produce my own music at the time, so everything I bought during the pandemic was related to that. Worth it!
What useless party trick do you have?
I don’t think I have any “party tricks” per say (unless you count knowing every single word to ‘Wannabe’ by the Spice Girls), but I fold plastic bags into tiny triangles for easy storage. It seems to amuse my friends for some reason. They always say they know I’ve been to a friend’s house recently if they find one of my tiny triangle bags.
What was the most fun you have had on stage?
The first time I ever played my own songs on stage was incredible! So many things went wrong leading up to it, but it turned out to be so much fun. It was awesome to connect with the audience in a totally new way because I had only ever performed in musicals or performed cover songs before that.
What was the worst experience on stage?
I don’t think I’ve really had a bad experience on stage yet. I’ve been really stressed going into performances before. But that’s the beauty of performing music live – everything just kinda melts away once you’re up there and you’re just having a great time even if you mess up.
Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about?
I’m a big fan of K-Pop. I feel like that always surprises people because of the language barrier, but music connects with people regardless of language in my opinion.
If you had to describe your music to an alien how would you describe it?
My favorite question, haha. I would probably just have them listen to it because I can’t imagine they would know what I mean by pop music with elements of soul and alternative. My songs tend to be very emotionally raw and real. There’s not a whole lot of fluff in there, but I think that’s what makes them special and relatable.
What makes you stand out as an artist?
I’ve been told I’m unapologetically present in everything I do and that my heart really shows through my music and how I connect with my fans. I think what makes me “me” is that I’m not afraid of being honest and vulnerable with my audience. I want to make genuine connections with them through my music and as a person. You can always count on my songs being full of heart and passion and understanding.
Right now, what’s pissing you off the most?
There’s a lot to be angry about nowadays, all you have to do is turn on the news and you’ve got about twenty different options all at once. I’m choosing to be “happy instead” though.
What’s your favourite song to play live and why?
My favorite song to play live right now is probably “Bittersweet” because there’s always someone in the audience who connects to it deeply and personally. They always come up to me afterwards to tell me about it and it makes me feel like I’ve done my job as a songwriter when that happens.
I hear you have a new single, what can you tell us about it?
Yes, it’s called “Happy Instead” and it’s my most cheerful song to date. It’s deceptively upbeat and summery; the music feels so lighthearted you might not even realize it’s about struggling with mental health right away. It’s a touchy subject, but the song doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s supposed to be fun.
Talk me through the thought process of the single?
As someone who has struggled with anxiety and depression my whole life, I’ve had countless experiences with people telling me it’s all in my head or to “just think happy thoughts” to feel better. I wanted to write something that captured the frustration surrounding those conversations and the frustration that comes with knowing it’ll never be that simple, but still wishing it could be. All that seriousness needed to be offset in some way, so I made the song completely sonically opposite to the lyrics.
What was the recording process like?
The recording process was fairly quick for “Happy Instead” because I always record and produce my demos at home before I take them into the studio. Some of those vocals stay in the final version, while others need to be redone.
For this song, I went to Bryan Encalada’s home studio to record the final vocals. Bryan contributed to some of the production on this one, as well as the mixing and mastering. It wouldn’t be the same without him honestly; it’s always so much fun to work together.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the single?
It was a very new experience for me to be writing a happy-sounding song, even though I listen to a lot of fun pop music. That’s why I called in Bryan to help me with the finishing touches on the production, I wanted to make sure it felt and sounded right.
Would you change anything now that it’s finished?
Honestly, I wouldn’t. No song is ever “perfect,” but I’m really happy with how it turned out! I’m very excited for other people to hear it and hopefully love it as much as I do.
What are your plans for the year ahead?
I’m working on my very first EP, which I’m super excited about. I feel like I’ve finally figured out what direction I’m going in musically and the songs that I’m working on for the EP truly feel like an extension of myself.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
For those of you that are hearing about me for the first time: I hope you’ll go listen to my music and that it speaks to you in some way. If it does, please come say hi on any of my socials. I’d love to hear from you!
For those of you that have been here with me for a while now: I appreciate you endlessly and I’m so incredibly excited for the new music I have on the way for you. Thank you for being patient with me and for your support. It means the world to me.