Meet The Team: Cryss
Tell us a little about yourself… Where were you born? Where did you grow up, married with children?
I was born and raised in the Mississippi Delta, which is a very poverty stricken part of the United States that is full of fields and farming. The Mississippi Delta is known for one other thing, the “Home of the Blues.” I believe the fact that I am from a place that signifies the creation of a music style is one of the reasons I have such a passion for music. People around here do not have much, so I have been very blessed to have everything I need and more. Growing up, I spent a lot of time in church. I have a big background in gospel music and choral music because I have been singing solos in church and the church choir since I was about eight years old. As a teenager, rather than getting into trouble and doing things I shouldn’t, I spent my weekends singing in my “karaoke studio.” My mother has always fully supported my music, and we dedicated a room in our home to my karaoke machine. I could go in there and sing anytime I wanted. While I did dream to one day make it big as a singer, I also had a passion for teaching. Throughout college, I was in the university choir and a traveling music group that raised money for summer missionaries. After college and beginning a career, I started a family, and I did not seem to have time for music anymore. I have two beautiful kids, who I love more than the world. I am thankful that I found SMULE and VOCAL EDGE, which have both inspired me never to give up on singing (even in it is in my bedroom).
Do you remember the first CD/ Cassette you bought?
When I was four years old on my way to pre-school, I had to hear two songs before I could go into the building. The first one was “Kokomo” by the Beach Boys. The second was “Don’t worry be happy”. I remember listing to lots of cassettes growing up, but they were mostly things that were given to me by my parents or grandparents. The first CD I ever got was a Grammies Award CD from 1995 which had amazing artists on it like Mariah Carey and Seal. I consider myself someone who likes a little bit of everything, maybe that’s why I liked a CD like this.
What are your favorite genres and era of music?
I like a little bit of everything, but my favorite genres would be gospel, RnB and probably country music. For some reason, these songs fit me somewhere deep inside. On the other hand, I like music from decades ago like Fleetwood Mac (Stevie Nicks) and Cher, but the 90s has the best music of any other decade!!
You were the runner up in Season One of Vocal Edge. How did you feel?
I felt robbed. Saralinda is great, but I am better than she is. I cannot believe she won. (We joke but she knows I love her dearly, and she is an incredible artist.) Vocal Edge was one of the first SMULE competitions I had ever joined. I was very blessed to have made it that far. I was mostly disappointed in myself because I didn’t put harmonies in my song “You Were Meant for Me”. Therefore, I gave the judges a reason to give me a 9. I had been in the TOP 5 since round 1 of the competition. SaraLinda got brought in from a secret room. (Brett and his plot twists to keep things interesting.) She describes me as “the pain in her side” the whole time, as she was mine. Competing against her, challenged me to do better than I ever thought I could do. But if I would have done the harmonies, it could have been a tie; then we could have had the tiebreaker of running totals. That would have made me the vocal edge WINNER… Tips to contestants- unless it says not to do harmonies- ALWAYS DO HARMONIES!!!
And now you’re a senior judge, moving into your third season of judging… what do you like about being a vocal edge judge?
There are lots of things I love about being a Vocal Edge Judge. One thing I love about being a Vocal Edge Judges is getting to listen to incredible talent on SMULE that I probably would not have run across. Vocal Edge shocks me more and more each season with the level of talent rising. I have made valuable friendships through Vocal Edge, such as Brett and Nina (and all the other Vocal Edge Staff). I did know Brett before Vocal Edge, but we were not very close. Each season I meet new people and get to challenge them like I was challenged to be the best they can be. Vocal Edge continues to challenge me to be better and better. As a judge, I want the contestants to feel that they can learn from me. This concept helps me to push myself to another level continuously.
Do you have any words of wisdom for those considering auditioning? What YOU personally like to hear in the initial audition?
Anyone is welcome to audition. If you want to be challenged or receive help to make yourself better, please audition. When you audition, bring your best self. In everything I listen to, I want to hear the passion in what you are singing and the potential to do great things with your voice.
Last but definitely not least... Pussies or Puppies?
I love kittens and puppies. I love all animals, so this is hard to choose. I did write a parody song saying that I am all about that pussy cat. My answer will be HORSES. (Just ask Brett how much I love horses... almost as much as he loves pigs)