Contest Winner Interview: Kryssy Samson – Victoria, BC Canada
KS (Kryssy Samson): I wish I could say it was a stage name. My real name is Krystine – so going by Kryssy just made sense. But I have this conspiracy theory that my parents were like ‘we don’t want you to ever find a keychain with your name on it’. I actually have a super hippy name: Krystine Lyndsay Zera Samson… and a partridge in a pair tree! But as far as stage name goes, if I progress with my music (and that’s the plan), I’d like to go by Kryssy. One name… like Madonna (laughs). I went by Kryssy Samsonator for the past nine years and just a week ago I was like ‘you know what? It’s time to make this legit’ because people genuinely believe my name is Kryssy Samsonator.
SB: So when you’re not wowing people in online contests as you’ve just done – how do you like to spend your time?
KS: I recently made a big change in that I go back and forth between the States now. I gave up my stable life with a normal job to pursue this, so I spend my days recording music and exploring the city – whether that’s in Seattle, Tacoma, Victoria or Vancouver. Seattle has been really fun because they have a huge scene for solo artists and bands here. Every place has an open mic and there are constantly music events happening… the local artist scene here is unbelievable. It’s a huge community and everyone helps each other network, so I’d say ninety percent of my time is spent in meeting other artists and getting out there. The rest is spent on this one (holds up dog) – aw don’t be mad, I know you don’t like the camera!
SB: How would the Lower Mainland’s music scene compare to other places on your travel list?
KS: Victoria was really fun. I love Victoria – the music scene is cool, but I found I could never really take the next step. I played regularly at an Earls; There are lots of great artists that play there on Thursdays. In Seattle though, it’s all about the coffee and music so that’s where I want to be. Vancouver compares quite well though; I think the music scene is just as big but Seattle has more of a scene for big rock style bands and Vancouver covers anything. Honestly I could see myself spending some time in Vancouver as far as the music scene goes.
SB: What are your creative plans for the future? Have you got a band lined up – or are you planning on progressing as a solo artist mainly?
KS: Most of my time is spent working on solo stuff – that’s primarily because it’s hard to find band mates that can make this their only thing. Right now I’m in a good position where I can focus on music; I don’t need to do it on the side. That’s not the case for everybody.
But I’m also doing work with a couple of artists in Seattle – in fact I have friends from all over the world who are calling me up saying ‘hey lets go do some work together.’ Currently, fingers crossed, I’m getting processed for cruise ships. I had an opportunity a while back to work for one but I couldn’t at the time so I’ve just finished reapplying and did my final audition interview yesterday – it’s Carnival cruise lines. I’d be doing anything from a six to nine month contract playing music for up to four hours a day. My ideal situation in life is being able to do music as a living and being able to travel and that’s exactly what I’m looking for. If for some reason that doesn’t pull through, I have a couple of options: go back to Hawaii and get with my old band, or do solo stuff. But anything is possible. In a week I could decide I’m going to move to Toronto. I’m pretty footloose.
SB: Totally sounds like it! Well, let’s pull back a little. So the Starbeat Genie gives you three wishes – what aside from an infinite number of wishes would you wish for?
KS: I’d definitely wish to meet some of my favourite artists. If I could pick one band I’d go with Red Hot Chili Peppers. I have an entire tattoo sleeve dedicated to them – pretty die hard. Another wish would be (it’s so clichéd but) I wish I could give happiness to everyone. I have so many people with whom I want to share my experiences. When I decided to make this big change in my life and travel around, I wanted to bring so many people with me. I had so many friends and I wanted them to experience this too – people who deserve this release and happiness. I think when I’m in the right position in the future to do crazy things and travel the world doing music, I’m going to bring SO many people with me. Third wish? Dogs. All the dogs.
SB: All the dogs?
KS: 50? No – every dog ever. I want to pet every dog in the world.
SB: You’re not a cat a person then?
KS: It’s not that I’m not a cat person, I’m just such a dog person! When I was a kid, my dad and I used to sneak out and feed a couple of stray cats in the neighbourhood. My mom never found out (cus she doesn’t like cats) so when she finds out now she’s going to be like ‘What?’ I’ve always liked cats but I’m such a dog person. Everyone that knows me well knows that my dog Kovu is my best friend ever.
SB: Ha! Other than your Kovu, any shoutouts you’d like to give at this point?
KS: A huge shoutout to my mom because she’s been the biggest support in everything I’ve done – especially the Starbeat competition. She was emailing, calling and texting people saying ‘Hey can you check out this contest?’ I have a lot of friends who’ve been super supportive through my music in general but also with Starbeat. My videographer, Dan Gooda – he’s the one who actually shot the video I won with. He’s awesome – a great videographer and he’s moving up in his own music scene too. I could name so many people but I’d like to thank my friends and family for supporting me and never being like ‘Oh, are you sure you don’t want to get a real job?’ No one has ever doubted me like that. It’s nice to know people who are like – ‘go chase your dreams. Go make it happen.’
SB: Looking back, what are your fondest musical memories?
KS: I remember when I was about sixteen I made a New Year’s resolution. Have you ever seen the movie Yes Man? He has this curse where he has to say ‘yes’ to everything? Well, I adopted it because I realised I’d been missing out on a ton of life experiences by being shy. So if even one percent of me wants to do something now, I’ll be like ‘Okay. Let’s do it!’ In the past five or six years I don’t think there’s been a moment where I’ve been like ‘Oh I should have done that.’ Cus every time I’ve wanted to do it, I’ve done it.
I was on a cruise ship when I was sixteen and there was a gentleman performing and he was like ‘Any musicians out there?’ My mom throws my arm up so he yells ‘You come on up here and play!’ I looked at my mom and then him and thought – Just say yes. So I went up and played on this cruise ship – Carnival cruise ships. That’s one of the reasons I want to work with them, because I had this huge experience and it was so much fun. So that was one memory. The other I have a bit of a prop for. I play regularly at an Earls in Victoria. One of my best friends showed up to one my shows… I had this joke that whenever I rap (which is like two songs) I call myself Ludakryssy. I’m always like ‘Oh, everyone calls me Ludakryssy’ – but really nobody calls me Ludakryssy, only I do. Still, it’ll catch on (laughs).
So she showed up to one of my last shows and I always shoutout this one song to her: Bad Touch by Bloodhound Gang. In the middle of playing it, I was looking for her. ‘Where is Abby? I don’t see her.’ All of a sudden she’s coming up from the stairwell and I was like ‘Wow, she missed half the song. How rude is that?!’ Then I realised she went to put on a shirt that she made (holds up shirt) that says Ludakryssy.
And I’m dying! I started laughing in the middle of the song, I couldn’t even breathe but kept going – the whole restaurant was just roaring. So she ended up giving it to me as a gift to sort of say: ‘go follow your dreams.’ So you know what, when I book my first big gig, I’m going to wear that shirt on stage. And maybe someone will start calling me Ludakryssy, besides her and me.
SB: Fantastic! So Kryssy before these live shows you play… iron stomach or butterflies?
KS: I would say – Iron butterflies. They’re definitely dancing around. I get a small amount of nerves but I can’t tell the difference between nervousness and excitement anymore. I’ll always get this weird feeling before and I’ll need to take a deep breath. But I’m so excited to get up there that once I’m there and see people, I can just get going. As a musician if you mess up on stage, you just have to keep going. I’ve been pretty lucky in that it’s only happened a few times and I’ve always been surrounded by people who just clap through it.
SB: It’s fantastic that you have a support system like that. So what are you working on right now?
KS: I’m working on a lot of my original stuff. I’ve spent most of my music career doing covers because I play in restaurants but now I’ve been focussing on constantly writing new stuff and not criticising myself too much. Original work is really tough for me – it’s been a huge barrier. So I’ve been working with other musicians who are better than me and man, there are so many of them out here. Victoria, Vancouver, Seattle… anyone I meet, it’s another opportunity to better myself and grow with them. If someone says ‘hey, let’s co-write’ – the Yes Man is like ‘Yeah, lets do it!’ I’ve already noticed my confidence has shot up and I’ve met some amazing people that want to see me succeed… and I want to see them succeed too. I want to focus on growing my original music and getting myself out there – whether on a cruise ship or in California or wherever.
SB: Kryssy thank you so much or your time. I’ve really enjoyed chatting and we’re definitely going to be one of those groups that support you as you move forward! All the best for the future.
KS: I’m really thankful I got this opportunity in general. So thanks so much!
Kryssy’s StarBeat Links
Kryssy Samson Profile: http://contests.starbeat.tv/users/view/2627
Audience Fav (video): http://contests.starbeat.tv/videos/view/129/stronger-acoustic-remix-by-kryssy-full-music-video
BC Winner Announcements & Prizes: http://contests.starbeat.tv/blogs/view/24
Top Talent in BC Contest: http://contests.starbeat.tv/blogs/view/21/top-talent-in-british-columbia-contest