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Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Inner-view: Crystal Night

In Her Words: Crystal Michelle Petit

Singer – Crystal Night)

"I’m a dreamer on a quest for the happiness I had as a child. I love to smile, love to love, and am about as sensitive as they come."

What is your mission statement/quote for how you approach life?

Just go for it and do it with dignity.

Please tell us about your work and what inspired you in this direction?

I’m a singer/songwriter who grew up in a family who loves and lives music. My grandmother, the matriarch of the family, instilled a sense of music and spirituality in me that I have carried with me to this day. Growing up, I listened to gospel, jazz, pop, soul, and 80’s music, and just knew that I wanted to make music when I grew up. The music I make is mostly inspired by 70’s soul, but has changed a bit over time, through my travels and the fact that I’ve worked with people from all walks of life with various influences. It’s become a bit more “worldly” if you will.

Has there been any particular memorable time in your Self journey where you faced Self challenge and changed/transitioned in your journey?

I have definitely been hit with some challenges. When I first moved to Paris, it was hard for me to create a place for myself musically, and it was as if I kept taking two steps back when other people took steps forward. Between projects that never saw the light of day to record label folks who wanted me to sing things that I didn’t believe in, I sometimes questioned whether I should be pursuing my singing career. But then I met so many people along the way who were put in my path to encourage me at critical times.

Please share your favourite affirmations.

These are ones I tell myself in order to make it in this hard music industry:

I am strong.
I am healthy and have people who love me so I won’t stress about the small things.
I am unique and have no need to be like others.
I am doing what I was placed here to do.

How would you describe the creative-culture scene in your part of Europe for those who are interested in finding out about it?

People in France are in a period of transition musically speaking. This is a culture that once prided itself on its language and its song lyrics, rather than the quality of the music or the singer. Jazz has existed here for quite a while, but French people are now trying to create their own pop, R&B, and soul scenes with quality music and singers. There are lots of places in Paris that showcase these artists, and a lot of their music is starting to be exported internationally.

Can you recommend any places to visit in your country that you enjoy visiting/growing with?

Definitely Paris and Marseille. Paris is full of art galleries, museums, historical landmarks, jazz clubs, and wonderful restaurants. Paris is great because you can literally walk the streets and discover something interesting and new everyday. Marseille, on the other hand, is a city in the south of France that is laid-back and carefree. I like going there just to hang out on the beach, bike riding, and eat some great local dishes.

Please share any links to websites that focus on your favourite creative events.

I love this one:
It’s a fellow American living in Paris who gives great info on all the happenings of the city.

Do you have any daily spiritual or/and motivational rituals that keeps you focused in your Self growth and creativity?

Very simple – I pray to God and “speak” to my granny who smiles down on me… And, although I don’t do it as much as I should, yoga when I can.

I love your hair - do you have any routine that you could share with natural hair lovers?

I’m a very simple person, and I like a minimum of “products” in my hair. I wash my hair with authentic black soap and do an apple cider vinegar rinse every now and then. I may occasionally use a mix of grape seed oil, olive oil, vinegar, and bottled water and spritz my hair down. Every few months or so, I may put coconut milk in my hair and/or honey and rinse it out…This leaves my hair shining and smelling good all day long.

Could you recommend any must-read and must-see books and films that inspire you?

Books - I love the series by Alexander McCall Smith (“the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency”) as well as “Breath, Eyes, Memory” by Edwidge Danticat. I first read this book in my African Diaspora and the World course at Spelman College 11 years ago and I just reread it recently and really loved it.

Films- I always turn to “The Color Purple” when I need a boost. It reminds me being with my cousin and reciting all the lines. I also love “To Sir With Love.”

What would be your top tips to being motivated and living in truth to Self?

Being motivated goes hand in hand with being healthy both in body and in mind. Do everything you can to keep that balance (eating right, keeping your mind healthy by meditation, prayer, etc), and believe that you “can,” and that should help keep you on your path.

Do you have any advice/tips for anyone who may be wishing to take their creativity to a Higher-Self level?

Take in your surroundings. If you want to be a painter, go hang with painters and visit their worlds; the same if you want to be a singer. Try to find people who can help you grow and will be constructive in your journey. Lastly, go with that inner voice – If your body or mind tells you that the person in front of you is negative, head for the door and don’t look back. You don’t need bad energy in your life.

Please share any projects that you are working on.

I’m currently working on my 2nd album. I’m under no time constraints, and no record label executive is pressuring me to finish. It’ll come when it comes. Also, I hope to start a family over the next year – My biggest project yet!

Where do you see your Self in 10 years time?

I see myself with several kids, taking them to rehearsal and the studio with me and living with my hubby between Paris and the US somewhere. I also see myself exercising more and eating better in order to live as long as possible on this Earth.

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