Award-winning Krys K is a musician and songwriter who has caught the ears of multi-platinum artist and songwriter Ne-Yo. She’s performed at countless private events, corporate parties, Alpha Kappa Alpha Debutante Balls, the NAACP Eastern Chapter Banque and, Pixar Studio’s XV Annual Pacific Voice Conference. However, to fully understand her as an artist, her struggle and story is what makes her story one of inspiration and success. Surviving her entire life with a brain tumor, most people would have been reluctant to follow their dreams but Krys K has used her physical struggles to push her to achieve her dreams even more. From writing and releasing her own music, to creating books of poetry, and even writing and producing her own stage plays, Krys K has been a force that refuses to let life get the best of her. As a mom of two, she makes times for her own ambitions, while focusing on being a mother to her two young children. Multi-platinum artist and songwriter Ne-Yo recently took notice of her music on social media. He showcased her music online as well as interviewed her to his millions of fans. But just days before her interview, she was involved in a snow-mobile accident where she fell 30 feet off the side of a cliff and miraculously survived. The medics called her recovery a “miracle”. Krys K describes her survival as another reminder that she has a purpose and that life is too short, to not go after her own goals.
- Can you tell us a bit about how you got started in the game, and when you began to take it seriously?
Krys K: I’ve been singing since I was about a 4 years old, and then as I got older around 6 I started singing in church choirs. At first, it was just a way to express my love to God, but then it took on a higher calling in my life as I got older when people around me expressed how my singing made them feel. That’s when I knew there was power in what I was doing.
- Do you handle both the songwriting, and beats on your songs or do you collaborate with different producers and writers?
Krys K: Majority of the time I am the complete songwriter. However there are times when I will interpolate someone else’s song because I’m inspired by it. As for the beats, I may have some ideas here or there, but I let the creators of those masterpieces pretty much do they thang, lol.
- Who were your first and strongest musical influences that you can remember, and who areyou listening to right now?
Krys K: That is such a big question for me, because there are a lot of musical legends and icons that helped to shape my vocal style. I honestly can say that my firsts and strongest musical influences are Whitney Houston, Luther Vandross, En Vogue, Mariah Carey, Michael & Janet Jackson, Missy Elliot, and Destiny’s Child. Who I listen to today is pretty much the same people with the addition of Bruno Mars.
- What do you feel are the key elements in your music that should resonate with listeners?
Krys K: I have the ability to tell stories that actually relate to my audience. I have the gift of recalling emotional muscle memory and bringing my audience back to the very moment that I’m expressing. I connect relatable emotions with timeless storytelling. Listening to one of my songs is like having emotional muscle memory in regards to certain situations in your life whether good or bad – your gonna experience it all over again but with me.
- For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development as an artist and music maker, and the transition towards your own style?
Krys K: I would definitely say that as a creative growing up I was inspired by many of the great artists during that time who are now our legendary icons. All of them played a part in both teaching me how to train my voice to do different things through emulation and taught me how to tell stories with my music. I also learned how to act out a musical story in front of an audience by watching their examples. They are/were a wealth of knowledge on how to perform, how to connect with your audience, how to draw your listeners in with just one lingering note. These tidbits and so much more helped to secure my sound and music persona.
- What’s your view on the role and function of music as political, cultural, spiritual, and/or social vehicles – and do you try and affront any of these themes in your work, or are you purely interested in music as an expression of technical artistry, personal narrative and entertainment?
Krys K: I honestly believe it is our duty as artists to be relatable to what our listeners are going through. While I do also believe that music can be an expression of technical artistry, personal narrative, and entertainment, it is important to me to always remember music is just as much for the listener as it is for the creators.
- Do you write a song with current musical trends, formulas or listener satisfaction in mind, ordo you simply focus on your own personal vision and trust that people will empathize and vibe with your sound?
Krys K: It all depends. Sometimes I’ll go into the songwriting process with an idea fully flushed out and ready to go. Other times I’ll be a blank slate and let the music be my guide, and take me on a creative journey that’s totally authenticity free and see where I end up. It all just depends.
- Could you describe your creative processes? How do usually start, and go about shaping ideas into a completed song? Do you usually start with a beat, tune, or a narrative in your head?
Krys K: I get inspiration from many different places-a movie I’ve watched, a poem I’ve written, a beat I’ve heard, a phrase someone said. There’s literally creative breadcrumbs everywhere waiting to be noticed. I pick those little pieces of inspiration up and figure out the story around them. I enjoy building the story out and separating the pieces of its puzzle, because it sets up the framework for the hook, the verses, the bridge, and all the other little elements that make up the song. After that it’s just pulling everything together.
- What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in your life or career so far, and how did you overcome that event?
Krys K: I wouldn’t say I’ve overcome anything yet. I would say I’m in the process of figuring out a way to create balance in my life. That is the biggest obstacle. As creatives we are often celebrated but rarely understood and rarely have the time to do all that is required of us. At the same time that I’m a creative I am a mom and a wife still pursing my childhood dreams. It can be hard when you are to be everyone else’s world and sometimes have no world of your own to fall into and belong, especially when your priorities are no longer options. So I would say creating balance is my biggest obstacle that I’m still in the process of overcoming.
- On the contrary, what would you consider a successful, proud or significant point in your life or career so far?
Krys K: That’s an easy one, my kids are my heart’s joy! As a creative they are my greatest creation and biggest blessing! There is no love like the love of a child who knows what’s it like to hear your heartbeat from both the inside and out. I will never do anything in my life as remarkable as being a mom, ever!
- Putting aside any accolades or criticisms that fans, the industry, or the media may afford your persona or music, is there anything about you or your music, you think people may overlook, underestimate or misunderstand at all?
Krys K: So I love to tell stories and create characters for my music to go along with those stories. My debut song “Kiss” is a rap song-however, even though my creativity came out in rhythmic bars: I AM NOT A RAPPER, lol. I started singing at the age of 4 years old and most everyone knows me for singing so imagine the world branding me as a rapper, lol. Needless to say, I can write raps-but I really don’t want the smoke of a cypher or a battle. Lol.
- Do you think is it important for fans of your music to understand the real story and message driving each of your songs, or do you feel everyone should be free to interpret your songs in their own way?
Krys K: I think it’s important to understand the message of the song, while figuring out how or if it applies to you. If it does great and if it doesn’t great, but also understand that I’m telling stories and relaying messages in a creative way. It’s all art just like an artist who paints pictures to be looked at and hung in a gallery. It’s my interpretation of a scenario or event.
- With social media having a heavy impact on our lives and the music business in general, how do you handle criticism, haters and/or naysayers in general? Is it something you pay attention to, or do you simply ignore and move on regardless?
Krys K: Everyone has a job to do. Without the haters, naysayers, critics, and so forth and so on – where would the motivation and the drive to prove them wrong come from? I welcome it, no – I don’t necessarily go searching for it, but if it should find me I don’t shy away from it because art is subjective, including mine.
- If you had a choice to collaborate with any acclaimed international artist or producer right now, who would you choose, and why?
Krys K: I don’t think I could choose just one. My heart says Missy Elliot off top because she is a multi-hyphenate in the music industry and her talent is beyond anyone I can call out. I would also say Cardi B, because her style is amazing, I love how relatable she is and how unapologetic she is about being a Mom.
- Could you tell us something about the making of your latest project and the message behind it?
Krys K: So my EP “she is Krys K” is a story about a woman who is on the path of self-reflection and discovery while being neglected, and mistreated by her husband. The message behind this EP is simple, “you still must know what you bring to the table before you sit down for dinner.” So often women and men loose who they are in the creation of “us” and that is in my opinion unacceptable. The job of defining who you and the need for growth doesn’t stop because you say “I do.” You must still grow on your own as well as together.
- What’s the most exciting part of being an independent music artist for you, and which is the part you like least?
Krys K: Having creative control to decide what stories I want to tell, who I want to work with, and having control over my time is the best feeling in the world. I work for me, no one is pulling my strings and I still get to be a Mom and a wife which has it own set of priorities and obligations as well at the same time!
- Creative work in studio environment, or interaction with a live audience? Which of these two options excite you most, and why?
Krys K: Although I could live in a music studio, there is nothing like being on stage with a live audience. I love being able to connect with the room I’m in and make every experience a little bit different, because I’m catering to needs and fulfilling the desires of my audience -while sharing myself with them. It’s true relationship.
- Do you have a favorite motto, phrase or piece of advice, you try to live or inspire yourself by?
Krys K: I love quotes and mottos and I do live by quite a few. One of my favorites is a quote by Erma Bombeck, which states; “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left; and could say I’ve used everything you gave me.”
- How essential do you think video is in relation to your music? Do you have a visual you could suggest fans see, to get a better understanding of your persona and craft, or will you be working on something new soon that fans can watch out for?
Krys K: It is very essential in relation to music as a whole. I am currently working on more visuals for my music, but if you would like to check out the lyric videos they are available on YouTube and my website https://sheiskrysk.com.
- What do you find most rewarding about what you do as an artist? And do you have a specific vision or goal set in your mind that you would like to achieve in the near future?
Krys K: What’s most rewarding for me is having the creative ability to tell the stories I want to tell. My music goals include multi-platform storytelling where music is at the forefront and envelops every listener, watcher, and reader who is a fan of what I do. As both a writer and a musician, it is important to me to tell stories in a way that gives my audience not just a show but a true experience from start to finish through all of my gifts and talents.