As a Singer Songwriter, Musician and Licensed Attorney, Miss Krystle gives advice to others trying to navigate the business world, an entertainment career and life.
In this inspiring and surprising talk, Miss Krystle tells her story of creating a life and business through determination sparked by creativity.
Miss Krystle – TEDxScottsdaleWomen 2019 TRANSCRIPT
All I’ve ever wanted to be was a Rockstar. And, I’ve never wanted to fail, but I’ve been knocked down more times than I can remember.
And, I have failed, painfully and miserably. I’m pretty sure I’ve become the poster child for keeping your dukes up. Not just as an independent musician, but also as a business owner.
When I was 16, I started my first music business. But, my journey as a tortured artist begins well before then.
Here’s me looking all cute around age 12. And, while I quickly discovered that I was pretty good at modeling early on, my true calling was music. And I am classically trained in instruments like piano and cello and a couple others.
But I started writing original music when I was 13. And I even had my very first performance, at the mall, about 14. Here’s me rockin’ my black onesie and my Britney Spears inspired microphone.
And I remember, I even signed my first autograph. And instead of writing, to my number 1 fan, I wrote, to my 1 number fan. Which was clearly just a work in progress.
So then, fast forward a couple of years. I started college when I was 16, but I was facing a tough situation. My parents had just split. And so, my dad was now out of the picture, and my mom, bless her heart, having raised and homeschooled all five of my siblings and myself, didn’t have the money to pay for my schooling.
So, I just needed to figure it out. And besides starting to apply for scholarships, it was basically a part-time job. I also saw a flyer that you could win scholarship money competing in pageants.
Now, side note, at the time I thought pageant girls were less than smart. But I was quickly proven wrong competing against these women who were not only highly intelligent, but skillful, articulate, and I had to become this chameleon to even be able to keep up.
But then, something amazing happened. I started to learn the rules of the game and I did start winning scholarship money.
And then, everything taken together, I was able to get out of college loan and debt free. But then, over the years, I did notice something. I noticed that a lot of these women seemed to almost give up after they stopped being, Miss whatever fancy title.
And I remember thinking, oh hell no, I’m never going to let some flimsy little crown define who I’m going to be. So, I became, Miss Krystle.
And over the course of the next decade or so, I was signed to a plethora of record labels and management deals to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. I, you know, played to sold out audiences of thousands of people. I also played many a show at a dive bar to teeny tiny audiences of ten. Half of which were my family, and the sound guy.
And through it all, I’ve learned quit a few rules. Three of which I’d like to share with you today.
Rule number one, be resilient. Resiliency just means that, regardless of what the world throws at you, you get back up and you just keep going. And for me, one of the first times I had to deal with this was in my teens. It’s the eleventh hour, my new hit single is about to be released, and then Mr Rock Star producer decides to basically try and extort money out of me. Money I didn’t have, money we didn’t agree on. And, certainly not money we had discussed.
So, safe to say, my entire project fell through. Now, today, I am an entertainment attorney. So, yeah, that will never happen again. But, nonetheless, being in my teens and having all of my hopes and dreams vested in this one project, I was crushed. Like, truly devastated.
But, nonetheless, I had to get back up and I had to keep going. Which then brings me to rule number two, embrace your fears and play your own game.
EMBRACE YOUR FEARS
When I was 16, I also decided I was going to go to law school. And for no other reason than, I just wanted to be able to protect myself in my own career. But then, when I actually received my letter of acceptance from law school, I remember I just had this unbelievable fear about, what would happen to my identity as a musician if I went.
Because, quite frankly, I couldn’t think of anything worse than being perceived as an attorney. But I did go. I went to law school, I graduated, sat for the state bar and was lucky enough to pass the first time.
But then, for the second time in my life, I lost someone who had become my entire support system. So, here I was with this big fancy degree, but no money, no job and no idea what I was going to do now.
Now, I did end up getting a job eventually. And I was making $12 an hour working in a law firm just doing administrative work. And that’s how it stayed for a while.
Now, when you kind of weigh making $12 an hour, and now you’re just trying to survive and support yourself, but then also fund a music career. Now you actually do have $200,000 of student loan debt from law school. I’m not, you know, I guess we all don’t have to be a mathematician to see where I’m going with this.