When you’ve been in the industry for a few years, you’re bound to run into some hardships, but Chrystina Sayers didn’t let that keep her down. Her positive attitude and passion for music has kept her going, and now she has some big things in the works. I was lucky enough to get to chat with one of my favorite ladies in music and talk about her experience in Girlicious, her latest solo project Leo, and advice to aspiring creatives. Check out our interview below.
I was first introduced to you when you were a contestant on The Pussycat Dolls Presents: Girlicious. What made you want to sign up for the show, and what was your experience like while filming?
Well actually, before I heard about the show, I was recording at Nick Cannons San Diego studio called ‘Can I Ball’! During that time, I was completely a up and coming solo artist/singer-songwriter that was more in the Aaliyah type vibe. I had never really thought of anything on the super pop side other than my number one music influences being Michael and Janet Jackson. Nonetheless, Lamont Pete, who was a casting agent for BET and MTV, stumbled into Nicks’ studio and was seeking some fresh new girls for the second season of Pussycat Dolls Presents: Girlicious on the CW. So, the engineer played him every female he could remember but Lamont just wasn’t feeling any of them. On his way out, he saw my head shot chillin’ on the table and asked “Well who’s this girl?” The engineer then said “Oh this is Chrystina Sayers! New up and coming San Diego R&B artist.” So he played him all my demos and Lamont said, get me her fathers contact info asap! An hour went by, he was in my living room with my father and I telling us about this opportunity! A month later, I was on the show. Two months later, I had won the show out of thousands of girls with my new boss’ Robin Antin (Pussycat Dolls), Ron Fair (Christina Aguilera, Keyshia Cole, and Black Eyed Peas) and Jimmy Iovine (Chairman of Interscope Records). As well as mentors Lil’ Kim and Mark McGrath (of Sugar Ray). So to answer the question, it was never my idea to try out for Girlicious, nor any girl group on top of being a reality star. I never wanted that but it ended up to be the best decision. When I became a member of Girlicious, I turned away from a solo artist and turned into a group member! Ultimately, I fell in love with it! We were a group of girls who loved one another, who fought for one another, who lived their dreams with one another, who sang and performed with one another. That was the freshest part of it all. Being trained as a singer/ dancer/performer was a hands on experience that you can’t pay for. So making the decision was the best one I could have made which led me to where I am now which is a full out performer, and I couldn’t be more grateful to Robin, Ron and Jimmy for choosing me.
My experience while filming was really really fun! I mean to talk and share about your life experiences and have people actually care to listen to your gibber, was incredible. Especially for me, it was a MASSIVE challenge because I came from the singer-songwriter world, not performing world. So to incorporate singing and performing live at the same time was so heavily nuts for me but I just kept working and working at it until it became apart of me.
At the season finale, you were announced as one of the four winners of the show. While you were a part of Girlicious, you girls experienced great success, especially in Canada. What was it like putting out albums, having singles on the charts, and doing live performances?
First and foremost, I consider Canada my second home and if everything hits the fan here in America, I’m moving there for good! But in all seriousness, the success that the girls and I had, many do not even know in depth. It was so phenomenal I have to share some. So not only did we headline and sell out most of our tours, but our first tour was with Backstreet boys which was beyond a day dream because we all grew up to them! So that in itself was impeccable! Also, while headlining our own tours, the prince Justin Bieber when he was like 12, opened up for us and then a month later, blew up! The same with queen Lady Gaga opening up for us! As well as being friends with Drake before he blew up! So to share a bit, we started in a huge way!
So for the albums, singles on the charts and live performances, it was absolutely amazing! It’s like people would die for the platform we fought for! To hearing your song on the radio then turning the tv on and your music video is playing on television while you just got back from your show that was sold out all in one hour… was beyond fresh! So yes…it was very phantasmagoric! Which I am planning on having again but this time, as a solo artist!
Fans were all devastated when we found out that we wouldn’t be getting “Tell Me Lies” due to a sample clearing issue. On a scale of 1 to 10, what would you rate that song? (Since you’ve heard the full version of it. Haha)
Awwww! I know sooo sad and can I say, you’re a true Girlicious die hard! But on a scale of 1 to 10, it was an 11!
After Girlicious disbanded, you decided to go solo. You’ve been very vocal in the past about how it was a difficult journey for you to keep pursuing a solo career. What was the most important thing you learned during that time?
Yes super vocal! You see, the best hope you can have coming from a girl group to solo artist, is that your ‘solo artistry’ goes out into the world asap! Cough Cough… Camila, Zayn, Beyonce, Justin Timberlake and so on… That didn’t happen for me, hence is why I’ve been so open to share ‘the struggle’. The most important lesson I’ve learned now being an independent artist ‘for now’ is to not count on anyone except yourself. Learn as much as you need to, focus and go.
You released your first official single “Alive” back in 2012 and fans were excited to see that you were back. What were some of the feelings that you were dealing with while recording and after you released the track?
Honestly, my feelings were and have always been very passionate! My feelings and focus was that I was just praying that from this single, I could finally get back on a music/entertainment routine! Which was, and still is, to put on a fantastic energetic show touring, getting great endorsement deals, creating amazing albums, singles on the radio, acting in incredible films and TV shows, giving back in a massive way and so on!
After releasing “Alive”, you released 2 more tracks, “Blame You” and “Feel Lit”, both of which fans loved. How did you feel being able to give fans more music to hold them over until a full project was released?
Honestly, I loved that my fans could finally hear what I’ve been working on as both these songs were co-written by me which made me 100% connected to both songs.
You’ve recently released your new EP “Leo”, much to the delight of music lovers. What was the creative and recording process like while you were working on “Leo”?
The creative process behind ‘Leo’ was super super fun! As well as the recording process was fairly easy and simple. Every song off my EP except for “Here We Go” was Canadian Produced. For my single “From Here” and song “Go Hard” I wrote those solely by myself. How I write, is I grab onto a subject of what I want the song to be about, if I haven’t already had a song written that would fit the track. Then, I work on my melodies for verse, pre-hook and chorus. Then, I fill in! Super simple and straight to the point! I actually wrote both songs about a past relationship of mine that was on the brink of destruction and I wanted to know “Where do we go from here? Do you love me, do you want me or nah?” Even though I didn’t know if we were meant to stay together I chose to reminisce on the best times which is then where ‘ Go hard ’ came in. ‘Go Hard’ was a representation of a reality that was turning into a memory as I prayed that it would remain my reality. Songs ‘My Crew, Here We Go and Love You’ were all co-writes. For ‘My Crew’, I wrote majority of this song and I pretty much based that song as a club song! I wanted a ‘sister’ song to ‘Feel Lit’ because I loved how it came out so ’My Crew’ was birthed. “Here We Go”, I wrote a majority of this song as well, and it was produced/co-written by a Swedish producer by the name of Leyla Ek. Loved this song so much and I feel like it came out super super strong. This was another song for the club, but a more pop version! And last but not least, “Love You” was actually already created 4 years ago as a tri-collab and I remembered the depth it carried! So I decided it would be a fresh addition! I know a lot of fans wanted me to ‘belt’ more so I’m planning my next musical project will for sure include A LOT more ! The thing is I love to party and love to always be surrounded by my squad hence is why so many club songs but… I promise next musical project, whenever this is to be done, I will SANG and BELT a lot more for my Slayers, but it still might be over a club beat. Hahaha
You also gave fans a visual treat with the video for “From Here”, one of your fans’ favorite tracks from the EP. How did it feel to be working on a video for your own solo material?
Empowering. Absolutely Empowering.
Who would you cite as some of your favorite artists? (Whether they be current artists or artists from the past)
Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Bob Marley, Mariah Carey, ZHU, Sia, Jennifer Lopez, Fetty Wap, Justin Bieber, Adele, Whitney Houston, Calvin Harris, David Guetta, Justin Timberlake, Ryan Tedder (One Republic), Odeeza, Steavie Wonder, Lana Del Rey, The Killers, Aretha Franklin, Bruno Mars, Britney Spears, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Incubus.
What can your fans expect to see from you next?
My fans can expect more music videos and touring for now.
What advice would you give someone who’s considering pursing a career in music, whether it be solo or as part of a group?
Be Strong. Hold onto your truth. Be outside the box. Learn everyone’s job. Be kind to everyone. Respect everyone. Stay Focused. Have patience. Your number one competitor is you.
Be sure to keep up with Chrystina on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.