There’s nothing better than sitting in a darkened lounge engulfed by smooth Jazz beats and sultry whispers of lost love. You can reminisce about the old Blues and Jazz singers that once stood on that smoke filled stage. Today a new talent takes center-stage. Her name is Krystle Dos Santos and her voice can take you back to the origins of soul.
Krystle was able to take some time out of her hectic schedule for an interview with Orange Country Reverb. Spoiler Alert: Krystle drops a secret about her upcoming projects!
OCR: The song “Ninja Soul – Intro” expresses a fear and distrust of technological advancements. It also explores how corporations use technology to ensnare and control society. As an artist, you have to use technology to edit and produce music, so what are your favourite technological gadgets? What is the one thing you dislike about the rapid advancement of technology?
KDS: Haha. Well let me first start by saying that I am a complete hypocrite because I am such a slave to my technology, and yet I’m writing songs and my whole album is based upon resisting that control and fighting for the freedom from it. Anyways, to answer your question, I am obsessed with my iPhone and Macbook…part of me wants to complete the Apple trilogy with an iPad (but thankfully my budget won’t allow for it at this time). I also just bought a little home studio set-up…still learning how to use it but it’ll be very convenient when I figure that out. I think the part I dislike most about the rapid advancement of technology is what it is doing to the younger generations (I think that makes me sounds really old). What I mean by that is, the older systems of communication, conversation, and education are rapidly changing. We may all assume that the changes are for the better but I believe that many of the basic forms of communication are suffering and younger generations can’t hold conversations in the same ways or articulate themselves quite as eloquently, especially when abbreviations like OMG and LOL are the only ways of expressing themselves. Basically, what I’m trying to say is I feel like we’re getting lazier and more stupid…myself included – which related to Fame Fatale, because technology allows the powers that be to have more control on us as a society!
OCR: Fame Fatale is your newest music conquest. This embraces electronic elements, which really contrasts your rhythm and blues beats. The songs have a very different vibe than your first album. How would you describe your musical experimentation and the process of approaching your second album?
KDS: My second album was very inspired by artists like Janelle Monae, Gnarls Barkley, Little Dragon, other musicians who were taking the norm, and the typical retro styles and flipping them on their heads. I love a good story and with my creative partner, Kaz Mega, we decided to create a story to really build the project upon. We also started a graphic novel to complement the project, but have only gotten as far as the introduction issue, and have yet to illustrate the character of Unit 9. By basing the album on a concept, it allowed us to send many messages regarding love, society, and corruption in a creative way and keep the project open for future collaborations and expansions. We definitely want to get some hip-hop artists on the project and create other characters that can come into the story and create a whole comic book style series of out the Fame Fatale Empire.
OCR: Your video “Remember” is a beautifully portrayed retelling of a strikingly emotional heartbreak. Do you find it difficult to perform songs that are inspired by sad personal experiences? Do your songs act as a form of healing?
KDS: I actually find performing sad songs much easier and more inspiring. I can really get behind the intention of the songs and perform it much more authentically and emotionally. I consider myself much more of a performer than a writer so I really channel the emotion when I sing the songs. I was going through a heartbreak when I recorded Fame Fatale, so I feel like a lot of emotion went into choosing and writing the songs – it definitely was a form of healing – and a great way to express my emotions.
OCR: Artists give every performance their all. What do you find more tiring: performing for a video shoot or performing in front of a live audience?
KDS: I definitely find performing for a video shoot much more tiring than performing in front of an audience. An audience gives you a lot of energy and feedback and a live show is so much more spontaneous. Video shoots are usually long days or nights that are awkward and have little to no inspiring qualities whatsoever. You have to act out emotion in an authentic way, but take after take, it starts getting quite difficult. Not that I don’t love the process of making videos, I just always prefer being on stage rather than any other place.
OCR: I find the title “Fame Fatale” very intriguing. As a young artist, what ambivalence do you have for the notion of fame?
KDS: Fame is the last thing I would wish upon anybody! It’s such a corrupt and dangerous part of life. I think the modern concept of fame has every average Joe, wishing for their 15 minutes through YouTube and every other similar outlet, but not considering all of the negativity that comes along with it. I would personally rather be the most successful person in my field of work and have no one ever know my name or what I look like, but in my field of work, that’s impossible. Again, I probably sound hypocritical, as popularity and fame drives the success of an artist. I think a lot of people lump success and fame as being interchangeable, but I’m definitely striving for success and hoping fame doesn’t get in the way.
OCR: Your voice resonates the sounds of an old soul. Who are some of your influences?
KDS: Ooh, thank you!! That’s the nicest compliment I could ever hear. I am hugely influenced by all of those amazing blues vixens of the past decades like Bessie Smith, Big Mama Thornton, Etta James, Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin, and on and on. My more modern influences include Lauryn Hill, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Joss Stone, Cee-Lo Green (I can sing the sh*t out of his songs – I think he actually may have a higher range than me) Adele, Amy Winehouse (I could go on and on…)
OCR: I couldn’t help but notice you have a very refined, eclectic, and vintage inspired style. Currently, what are some of your favourite pieces in your closet?
KDS: Why thank you! I do love dressing up! I just purchased a vintage brown leather camera case that I’ll be using as a purse. I’m also obsessed with onesie jumpers – like all in one pants suits – its like wearing pajamas, they’re so comfortable, and you still look cute! I also just got a pair of snake-print harem pants, again, super comfy, but I still look dressed up.
OCR: What’s next for Krystle Dos Santos?
KDS: BIG THINGS!! I’m actually SO EXCITED to announce my new project to you – I think you will be the first public outlet that I have told. The project is called WalkAbout – it’s a musical journey of self discovery. The idea is based on the Australian walk about where the aboriginal boys are sent out to “find themselves” and become a man. Basically, I am planning a “tour” that will allow me to visit the major music centers around North America and learn the elements of music (heart and soul) that cannot be taught, but rather just need to be experienced. I am planning on visiting and performing in the major music cities (Memphis, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Harlem) over the next 12 months, that have made famous or inspired the music styles that I hope to create in my new album (Blues, Soul, Jazz). I want to tour theatres, visit gospel choirs, sing at open mics, sit in smoky jazz joints, and just absorb any and everything I can. I will make a video documentary and diary of the process and acquire ideas, inspiration, and songs for my upcoming third album, which will in turn be called WalkAbout. I’m hoping that the experience will help me to create the most inspired and authentic artistic product I have ever made. The worse case scenario will be that I traveled and learned something…not so bad.
Check out Krystle’s shout out video to Orange Country Reverb! Don’t forget to visit her website (http://www.krystledossantos.com) and Twitter (@MusicKrystle) for news and updates!