We had the good fortune of connecting with Crystal Lewis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Crystal, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I think the idea of RISK can be interpreted differently depending on the person or circumstance. I think it’s possible to gain varying degrees of ‘rewards’ based on varying degrees of ‘risk’. I suppose it depends on what your desired outcome or end game is. I do believe that in order to experience any level of growth or evolution, taking risks is imperative. For me, personally, I’ve definitely experienced the full spectrum of risk vs reward. There have been seasons when I risked little to nothing, and simply stayed stagnate, virtually stunting any growth. And I can say with confidence that it’s been the higher risk endeavors that have produced the greatest rewards. Over the course of my 30+ year career (creative/musician/singer/songwriter), risks have taken the shape of: asking for help, calling in favors, moving out of state, investing my own money, saying no, saying yes, dreaming bigger, stepping outside my comfort zone, doing the thing that was/is unexpected, and simply believing that I could. Looking back, I realize that the courage to take risks has always been a part of the fabric of my Modus Operandi. And while I can also remember those seasons when it was harder to see… it was, and still is, there.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I started as a 15 year old in the contemporary Christian music scene. After being signed to a label for a few years, my then husband and I started our own label. Artist owned labels were rare and we took a massive risk creating that business. I recorded 20+ albums over the following years, all within the confines of that particular genre. I won Dove awards, received ASCAP awards, was nominated for 3 Grammys, actually performed on the Grammy telecast with Kirk Franklin, Bono and Mary J Blige the year our song, Lean On Me, was nominated! In 2016 I divorced and began forging a new path outside the box I’d been living in my whole life, musically and otherwise. I was 47. After a couple of new singles, some youtube videos and lots of thought put into ideas for what to do next, I successfully funded a Kickstarter campaign in 2019 and breathed life into a long held dream… a unique jazz album of swing+soul. Created with the help of some of the best musicians in the world at one of the most iconic studios in the world (Capital Studios), RHAPSODY set my wheels in motion and helped steer me onto the path I’m walking now. It has been, and continues to be, uphill. I’m an independent artist, after having been signed to labels, including my own, for so many years. I’m 51 years old. And I’m doing NEW THINGS! Dreaming big dreams… and bringing them to life.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
When my friends or family come to visit, our first stop is almost always In-N-Out. Growing up in Anaheim, Disneyland was basically my backyard, so I often encourage a visit there and I always recommend a stroll through Old Towne Orange… there are vintage shops and restaurants galore… including my favorite shops Elsewhere Vintage (https://www.facebook.com/elsewherevintage/) and Joy Ride (https://www.facebook.com/JoyrideVintage/) as well as yummy gelato at Pandor Bakery (https://www.pandorbakery.com). Other fun food spots to consider exploring are the Anaheim Packing District (https://www.anaheimpackingdistrict.com), a grand food hall located in an old citrus packing warehouse and Steel Craft (https://steelcraftlb.com), an outdoor urban eatery built with repurposed shipping containers, with locations in Long Beach, Bellflower and Garden Grove. A trip to SoCal isn’t complete without a trip to the beach… my favorite spots are Balboa Peninsula, where you can eat at the Original Ruby’s Diner out at the end of the pier! Bring your skates or rent bikes and cruise the boardwalk or take the ferry over (by foot or car) and grab a frozen banana on Balboa Island. OR enjoy a day at Corona Del Mar State Beach, a beautiful cove just south of the mouth of Newport Harbor. There are rocks to climb, tide pools to see and the waves are manageable so swimming is easy. As an Orange County native I’m more familiar with the the OC than with LA, but I will say that a morning in Malibu is worth the drive. And lately I’ve enjoyed coffee from https://www.kumquatcoffee.com, tacos from http://www.guerrillatacos.com and noodles from https://www.bangbangnoodlesla.com. Oh and my favorite vintage stores in LA are https://recessla.com and https://www.thekitvintage.com
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are countless people in my life that have inspired me and paved the way! But I want to dedicate my SHOUTOUT to my daughter, Izzi Ray. A fellow artist/songwriter, she is, in my opinion, ahead of the curve as a writer, observer, adventurer, thinker, musician and singer. I find incredible joy knowing that I’ve paved the way for her while at the same time finding myself inspired by her.
Jeremy Ryan Brienne Michelle