I love exposing our readers to amazing people whose total trajectory of who they are spells GREATNESS. Powerhouse vocalist and Grammy Award-winning songwriter, Crystal Nicole definitely embodies that. Chances are if you are a fan of Beyonce, Mariah Carey, Rihanna, Natasha Beddingfield, Monica, Brandy or any number of other artists, you’ve at some point sang along to the creativity birthed by this phenomenal songwriter, and you ain’t even know it. But you gone learn today!
Peep the interview…
By: La Tasha K. Mason
Crystal Nicole “Long as You Love Me” live
Rihanna’s song, “Only Girl in the World,” was a BEAST. Once I saw that you had written that song, I instantly became a fan because you made me cross genre-lines and go out of my music preference zone. What was your inspiration for that song? Did you have Rihanna in mind when you wrote it?
Awww thank you!! Well, my inspiration for that song was Rihanna. I wrote it specifically for her, so I was thinking of what type of artist she was and where I’d like to see or hear her go next. I really wanted to hear her belt out a big vocal because I think her voice is very unique. I’m a very visual writer so everything with me starts with a picture of some sort. I began to envision her walking down a street or a road all by herself with this confidence that said “I’m the only one here, and I’m loving it” and from that picture came the idea of her being “The only girl in the World.”
How has being a Grammy-winning songwriter changed your life?
(lol) Not much from the way I look at myself but other people seem to have changed the way they view me or treat me because of it. I’m still the little girl from Decatur, Georgia, trying to make it in the music industry in my mind (lol). Same book, different chapter.
Monica’s “Love All Over Me” is musical soul food. You put your foot, neck and back into that song. Tell me about working with Monica and the process of collectively bringing that song to life.
“Musical Soul food!” Ok, I’m loving the way you put that (lol)!! Actually, Monica wasn’t in the session for that particular song. I’ve worked with her in the past prior to that song, and she is one of the most real, down to earth, genuine people I’ve met ever! As far as the way “Love All Over Me” came together, I was in the studio with Jermaine Dupree and Brian Michael Cox. All I know is, they started playing some chords and the whole hook just kinda hit me like a bus, and I was just writing faster than I could keep up with myself lol. It still stands as my favorite release. So far
Crystal Nicole with Jermaine Dupri and TLC
I imagine, like any other artist, a songwriter’s songs are her babies. Is it difficult handing over songs to other artists and entrusting them to execute it the way you envision it being vocally delivered?
Sometimes, yes. Some artists have such a signature sound and a part of me wants to know how they can bring certain songs to life in their own way. Then there are some artists who have yet to grow into their style and sound and I’m a little nervous that they will just make it into another demo rather than take my song to the next level. Thankfully I’ve been blessed to have worked with many great artists who pretty much know how to do what they do.
Crystal Nicole performs at SolVillage SOB’s
Out of all of the songs that you have written for other artists, do you have a favorite?
(lol) I love them all but if I had to choose, definitely “Love All Over Me” for Monica and “25/8″ for Mary J Blige!
Some people have to have candles, peace and quiet while others can have a song pop in their head while driving down the street. What is your creative process like when songwriting?
My process is just as random as the urge to go to the bathroom (lol). And by that I mean, at any moment, a song concept or lyrics or melody may pop into my head, and I have to either write it down or record a scratch of the idea right away! (lol) It’s very random and unplanned…Just whenever God decides to drop me something special, He does without warning and I love it! (lol)
Crystal Nicole with David Guetta and Tyrese
After being nominated for several Grammys and winning 2, do you feel pressured to receive a Grammy nomination for your solo project?
I feel no pressure as it pertains to my project. The goals I’ve set for myself don’t include awards or plaques or anything of that nature. My goals are to put out quality music with a sense of Spirituality and Style and in the process heal some people’s hurts and help them deal with some things they may be going through. I’m just living out my purpose, what was meant to be! No pressure. (lol)
Your first single, “Sundown,” is currently available on iTunes. You said it was as if God handpicked this song to be your first single. What about this song made you feel that way and is this what you were feeling as you wrote the song?
Yea yo!! I really feel like God is my Executive Producer!! (lol)
When I was writing that song, I felt that it was such a staple of Unconditional Love! For me, when I sing it, I think of my husband at times, I think of Jesus at times, and I even think of the love I’ll have for my child one day. It just felt so universal and refreshing. Not like I was tryin to go off on some guy who wronged me, or brag about what I got in my drive way. It just felt pure, spiritual, and powerful all while still being fun and clever! I just love it! (lol)!
CRYSTAL NICOLE live at Writing Sessions of America
Tell us about your BE THE VOICE campaign.
“Be the Voice” is a campaign I started with the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence. It’s basically a campaign that focuses on victims of domestic violence and how to help them and speak for those who are unable to speak out for themselves. To be a voice for the voiceless.
What’s next for you musically and philanthropically?
Oh, well, my long term goals in philanthropy are to build homeless facilities where people who have no where to go can not only have a place to stay but also a place to learn and grow in themselves and in society. But that’s like down the line unless God wants it now (lol). But short term, I want to help uplift young women in society today. I feel like my music is a part of my philanthropy. They work hand-in-hand to build up people of all ages, nationalities and genders. I don’t want to just be successful, I want to be significant!
Crystal Nicole, Ludacris and David Guetta
Crystal Nicole and Tiny at ASCAP Event
Crystal Nicole at Sing For Your Life
Catch up with Crystal online: