Crystal Aiken cam to fame after winning Sunday Best in season 1 in 2009. She didn’t let grass grow under her feet after winning the gospel competition. In 2010, she was nominated for a GMA Dove Award for New Artist of the Year at the 41st GMA Dove Award.
Her sophomore album is entitled ‘All I Need’. While many things have stayed the same in gospel music, since her win, some things have changed.We talked a little about life post the show and two special events she will be part of next week.
Elev8: How has gospel music changed?
Crystal Aikin: Gospel music has evolved in such a way that “gospel music” is so diverse, allowing so many different people to enter this industry, from traditional, contemporary, hip-hop, praise & worship, choir, and soulful, etc .. We no longer just have middle-aged and older audiences, youth are so inspired in their music and so inventive and creative in their deliveries. And they are influential to where even the middle-aged and older audiences now bop their heads to the sounds of hip-hop and soulful gospel. Gospel on a larger scale has crossed over to mainstream and now gets played in clubs etc. It has evolved, but moreover has transcended time.
Elev8:What ‘s the lesson that being in this industry has given you so far?
Crystal Aikin: My greatest lessons in life have been to pray and listen to the words of my parents. I know that prayer still works. And when I wasn’t praying I know that my mother and father were praying for me. But I really attribute my NOW to my THEN, when my father gave me some pivotal words of advice. He was a bit frustrated with me not applying my education to a career, basically stated, not making the money I could of and should of for the degree I had. I remember him telling me that, “If you put 100% into your natural career, Crystal, I just believe your singing career will take off.” Well at the time I just thought his words were meaningless and he was deflating my love for music and discouraging me from singing. But really he just wanted me to be able to take care of myself, be independent, and not live with regrets. Ultimately I realized, upon his sudden death due to a massive heart attack, Time is critical and seize the moments. Also, when I applied his words, went back to school and got my nursing degree, I put a 100% into my natural career, that the opportunity for being a contestant on BET’s Sunday Best Competition was revealed and this singing ministry took off … and it all happened just like my dad had said. His words came true, but ONLY because I obeyed him.
Elev8: Who is your hero and why?
Crystal Aikin: My mother is my hero. I have watched her be strong in the face of adversity. I have seen her help others and be selfless with her children. My mother has ministered to me when I was at my lowest, and she has inspired me to be the BEST woman, mother, wife, and friend, that I can be. She is such a wonderful woman.
Elev8: Being in the music industry can be hard. What encourages you to get up and go on each morning?
Crystal Aikin: Crazy thing is I don’t sleep enough … as I am sure most artist don’t, but since I don’t have a husband or children yet, I find that my “get up and go” encouragement is the WILL to Succeed. I always still feel like there is another thing to get done, accomplish, win, help a friend, meet a need, etc .. and so when I get up I strive to still be fulfilled in my life, accomplishing the goals that I have set. Some days, I reach them and others I may not, but I look forward to another day to get ‘errr done!
Elev8: What Is the most shocking fact about you that people don’t know?
Crystal Aikin: You know I try and remain private about my life. But most people would be shocked to know that I once fell off a stage back in 1997 at the GMWA while I was singing with my group SOUL. Oh listen, I was singing my little ol’ heart out, and somehow lost my step and all of a sudden heard a crash… like I had fallen on some plates and silverware. I was sooo embarrassed and thought, “I am so glad this didn’t happen in Tacoma,” my home town. But I jumped up so fast trying to shake off the fall, and thought I could avoid bringing major attention to the fall, so I got up sinigng, “I’m ok. I’m ok.” I could see some men running to my aid and I just put my hand out and sang, “I’m ok.” and finished the rest of the song, as if nothing had happened. Got back up on stage and finished the set with my group. Oh.. but the pain I felt when it was all over. Ouch!!!!!!! (laughs).
Elev8: How do you stay encouraged?
Crystal Aikin: I stay encouraged by constantly reading my Word. Honestly, I feel less secure when I am out of my Word and learned that I must constantly strengthen my faith by the Word of God. It truly gives me hope for tomorrow and my future.
Elev8: How has working with The FACTour Frank McComb, Aziza Miller and this time in your life changed you and made you better?
Crystal Aikin: This project has changed my life because it has forced me to trust my gifts and trust that He knows what’s best for me. This project afforded me the opportunity to write, create, and speak the sentiment of My Heart. I am made better when I get out what is deep rooted within me. And being insecure or fearing what others thought about my ideas had once crippled me or left me handicapped to create and grow. I now know that if I don’t share or utilize the skills, talents, and expertise I have been afforded that it atrophies and stops working. This project MADE me WORK and grow. Changed my life. But I do believe there is more to come for the next.
Elev8:When all is said and done what do you want people to remember about you?
Crystal Aikin: I want people to remember my God-given SMILE that I did my best to share with others to brighten their day. I want people to be inspired by my life that they will choose to live a life WITH Christ; that my labor will not be in vain.
You can catch Crystal joining Frank McComb for two special shows. She will be blessing all with her song, “Even Me” and doing her own set and, though she’s never met Frank before, she plans to prepare one duet to make both nights extra special. She can be seen on ‘THE FACTour – IN CONCERT‘ on Sunday, July 19, 2015 with Frank McComb and Aziza Miller at Annapolis, MD The doors open at 7:30PM. Showtime is 8:30PM. Admission is $35.00. Crystal will also be part of ‘INSPIRE A LIFE: KEEP PUSHIN’: Cancer Research Institute Benefit Concert on Tuesday, July 21 at The Howard Theater in Washington D.C. The price for tickets ranges between $20 and $45.
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