Interview with Krystal Harris
There is a new breed of supergirl in the entertainment industry. She writes songs, sings, plays an instrument, dances and acts. Krystal Harris is among these supergirls. So how come you haven’t heard of her? Don’t worry you will. And when you do, two million of you will say “I saw her when she was the opening act on the Backstreet Boys’ Black & Blue world tour.”
That’s right folks. This 20-year-old phenom was swept out of oblivion by Backstreet Boy, Kevin Richardson. When Kevin heard Krystal sing he knew the girl was on her way and he was getting in on the ground floor. So there it was for the singer/songwriter from Indiana, she was signed on to open for one of the most popular concert tour in 2001. “The Boys,” as Krystal calls them, signed her as the first artist on their record label KBNHA Records. Okay, well maybe it wasn’t that easy but her story should spark the imaginations of all those struggling songsters that it could happen to them too.
Some people are just blessed with luck, timing and most of all talent. Krystal has been singing since she was 18 months old and playing the piano since she was three years old. Now all those years of training has paid off.
Currently you can hear Krystal sing the title track for this summer’s Disney’s The Country Bears. It is also her big screen debut. (She plays herself) But it was last year’s title track “Supergirl” from Princess Diaries that spurred that soundtrack to gold and put Krystal on the radar.
It was during the shooting of the video “Supergirl” that an agent for the William Morris Agency saw her. They asked her manager if Krystal ever wanted to act. She had done some acting previously and they hooked her up with an agent. Repped now by the William Morris Agency, Krystal has acted in the pilot “Save the Last Dance”, based on the movie starring Ones2watch4 Julia Stiles.
The black spikey-haired Krystal plays one of the students at the arts school. Krystal says the show has been described as the next “Fame,” that 80s show that featured kids in New York’s School for the Performing Arts. She says she did not see the movie before shooting the Paramount pilot.
“I purposely did not see the movie and of course I watched it afterwards, I just wanted to hold off till afterwards,” said Krystal. “The movie was really dope but the TV show is a little more like rugged and straight and very raw.”
So now we know that Krystal can sing, write her own songs and act…but doesn’t a show based on dancing require the actors to dance?
“Oh yeah absolutely, we all dance. Basically we all had to do that in order to get the part. When I was about 6th grade I studied 3 to 4 years of believe it or not traditional ballet training.”
Although the pilot doesn’t have any songs written by Krystal, she wowed producers when her and co-star Keith Robinson sat down at the piano during a break in filming and wrote a song together.
“We talked to the producers about it and they were like ‘okay when you’re ready to do the show you guys need to do that in the show.’ So there is much, much talk of that,” Krystal bubbles over with enthusiasm.
It’s hard not to get caught up in her excitement. She trips over her words that are liberally peppered with “like” and “you know.” Every so often she stops and translates what the meaning of a word is that she uses like dope (cool) and geeked (excited).
Krystal’s first love is writing music. Her debut album Me & My Piano sold an impressive 200,000 units with little radio play. Despite the title of the album, little piano can be heard over the driving dance beats and the lyrics are far from the mindless drivel heard on so much music out there. Her vocals are strong and are never overtaken by those dance beats. One could hardly categorize Krystal’s music as Christian, although her lyrics certainly reflect her strong Christian beliefs. Whether it’s in the song “Or Someone Else Will” where she slips a lyric in there about a girl who was the first to take a boy to church or whether it’s “Lead me” where she obviously talks about Christ being the man in her life, Krystal doesn’t feel her music should be considered Christian alone.
“I’m a singer who’s a Christian and for me there are really no labels on music. Once you hear my music especially, you know. Like you check the next album that’s coming out you’ll see how real the lyrics are there in your face. I’m not really worried. I just want to be all myself that I can be.”
And being herself includes Christ in her life.
“I try really hard to really to be myself and Christ is such a big part of my life. There have been times when I felt like giving up, felt like quitting, needed insight and he was always, always there. So when I write a song about an experience he automatically has part in that experience so it just comes out. Other artists that I look up to like Mary J. Blige and Faith Evans, they’ve done that in the past as well. When they have incorporated their faith into what they do and I think it’s really uplifting and it changes people lives.”
For someone so new to the industry, Krystal understands it well. She knows that there are executives who control the show and the image. She know she needs to pay some dues before people start listening to her. With her next album, due out before Christmas, Krystal says she has been able to inject more of who she feels she is into it.
“You know, the record industry in general, you do what you have to do. It can be hard. Thanks to Kevin and the Boys, I was sheltered from some of that. But of course the business is the business and you are still going to get ‘We just don’t think it’s going to be acceptable if you do this or do that.’ But we were so thankful for the things that happened. I was so thankful to be able to play the piano and they (BSB) took me on the road.”
With her new album comes a new name. Krystal Harris will now be known as Miss Krystal. And the new album is tentatively called Miss Krystal presents Hip-Pop Soul Volume One.
“I’m glad to have all this new music that I feel is like 2 million percent me. I will be even more excited to get up in front of live audience and play that music and see how people are going to react. You know after being on the road with Backsteet Boys for a year almost, being away from it does makes me, like you know, each time there is an opportunity makes me twiddle my fingers and go ‘O gosh I can’t wait it will be awesome!’ Because those are the times when you really, you know, impact people’s lives when your right in front of there face and your giving them what you got from the inside, you know?”
If things pan out with “Save the Last Dance” and she is committed to doing a series Krystal assures us that she will do spot dates to support the new album.