“When did I start singing?” she asks, repeating the question. “Birth.” For a moment, she holds your gaze and you wonder if she is serious. A few beats pass and she smiles, revealing a row of straight white teeth and the hint of a dimple.
“Oh, you mean in public! It was in church at age three. I actually have a recording of it.” At the time, her father was a pastor. Krista, her brother and the two daughters of the church’s music minister were brought up to sing this song in front of the congregation. The song? “I am a promise.”
Krista looks away as if viewing the moment on a private video monitor on the floor to her left. “I’ll have to let you listen to it sometime. It’s quite cute.” She smiles again and you can feel the enthusiasm she has for music and its creation.
When you ask about her influences, she cites dozens of artists. She begins with her mother and adds pop superstars Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston and Madonna. She nods and adds jazz legends Etta James and Ella Fitzgerald. Then notes poignant songstresses Sarah McLachlan and Fiona Apple. Then the eclectic pop and rock of groups such as Coldplay and Pink Floyd.
Another pause. Perhaps a moment to reflect on the disparate voices she has referenced. “I find that I take inspiration from just about any artist that I have the privilege of hearing or seeing perform.” Her speaking voice is rich and clear, an inviting alto that commands your attention. “All of these artists are from different genres, but one thing is congruent – they all sing and/or play with so much passion and soul, it is evident in their music.”
I liken it to soaking up a little bit of their mojo. I truly need to take in a variety of concerts throughout the year so that I can get inspired to create my own music and to express myself through song. Each of these genres and artists feeds my soul.”
She uses the back of her hand to swat bread crumbs from the starched white tablecloth. Perhaps it’s apropos that you are sitting across from her at this intimate Italian restaurant. She speaks warmly of her Italian heritage. “My family is from Sicily, an area known for song, family and good food.”
A strict vegan, Krista is eating grilled eggplant bathed in spaghetti sauce. She talks about the cruelty to which animals are subjected – female cows having their newborns taken away to be raised for veal, male cows castrated and butchered, chickens forced to lay eggs at an unnatural rate. “Once I stopped eating meat, food started to taste better. And what do we really like about meat anyway? Is it the meat or the spices we use to season it?” She hoists an eye brow. “You stop eating meat and you take a half dozen things off your menu. But you open your palate to hundreds of other possibilities.”
In a few hours, the restaurant will be filled. Krista and her band have earned a strong following. You ask if she gets nervous performing.
She shakes her head. “People are a source of inspiration – just like my crazy life.” She laughs and you can’t keep from laughing with her.
“I haven’t been on the planet as long as some, but I’ve certainly experienced my share of heartache, trials, struggle, love, joy, passion, let down, rejection, hurt, confusion – all of these things inspire song in me. It’s this dynamic journey that requires met to write, requires me to sing. And the sound I create often comes from the deepest parts of me. And sometimes it’s the only way I know how to process through.”