We had the good fortune of connecting with Crystal Stark and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Crystal, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I am inherently opposed to risk, but I’ve consistently jumped head first into many different experiences throughout my life and career. Risk taking has been at the core of the biggest experiences of my life. Whether it be jumping out of a plane or trying out for American Idol, every risk I’ve taken has paid off in experience, knowledge, and career advancement. I told my husband the other day “I am constantly terrified.” I explained that I wasn’t in any danger, but I’m constantly pushing myself into new things that scare me. Immediately before COVID hit, I had the opportunity to write, produce, rehearse, and perform one of the biggest one-woman shows of my life: A Tribute to Whitney Houston. Paying tribute to an icon is no small task, but paying tribute to Whitney is an overwhelming undertaking. I wanted every detail to be perfect so I practiced day and night, hand picked and tailored every outfit, planned stage backdrops and lighting, and painstakingly researched as many details of Whitney’s life as I could. I’ll never forget the moment before I stepped out on the stage, I was physically shaking, but knew I was as ready as I could ever be. I took a deep breath, and marched onto the stage ready to give it my all. The show ended up being a huge success. Fast forward a few months and I decided to make the hard decision to leave my 8 year Band/Choir/ General music teaching job to start my own virtual voice lesson studio: Crescendo Vocal School. I was leaving behind friends, job security, health insurance, and a formidable band & choir program that involved over 40% of the school’s population. I lived in constant anxiety for the first month wondering if I had made the right decision, but my choice paid off and my private vocal studio is currently maxed out with a full waiting list! One of my favorite stories of personal risk is the time my husband and I went to see the Great Wall of China. I was performing with a Jazz Big Band on a month long tour and my husband (then boyfriend at the time) was able to come along as a roadie. Beijing was originally on the tour, but was taken off of the itinerary at the last minute. We were devastated to have come all that way and wouldn’t have the opportunity to see the Great Wall. One afternoon I scoured the tour schedule, researched flights & hotels, and realized we could fly by ourselves between tour stops to go see the wall. When I asked the tour leader if we could leave, he informed me that if I didn’t make it back in time for the next show I’d be in breech of contract and wouldn’t be paid for the tour. This was quite the risk indeed, but didn’t stop my husband and me from draining our savings accounts and hopping on the next flight to Beijing. It was hands down one of the greatest experiences of our lives. The view from the wall was breathtaking and our time in Beijing was priceless. I’m happy to say we made it back in time for the next show and finished the tour strong. In short, take the risk, do the thing that scares you. It might lead to some of the greatest experiences and accomplishments of your life!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am the most proud of being my own boss. It still surprises me how when people call to book me they assume I have a manager or someone who handles things for me. It’s just me! I’m the one calling the shots and coming up with new creative ideas. I got to be where I am today by a lot of hard work and a solid support system. It was my mother who talked me into pursuing a career in music. I wanted to be a veterinarian! Knowing that my family believed in me definitely caused me to push further and work tirelessly to get to where I am. I’m still pushing myself towards new goals and new experiences, and I’ve learned along the way to stop and enjoy the ride once in awhile. Through performing I’ve been able to travel the world and meet the most amazing people. It’s important to appreciate all of those moments that might only come around once in a lifetime.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
There are so many great places in Tucson! I’d definitely head down to University and 4th Ave for some food and shopping. Maybe we’d take the streetcar downtown or to Mercado San Augustin to catch some live music. A Tombstone / Bisbee day trip is a must to get a dose of the Wild West, and take the mine tour. Riding the ski lift on Mt. Lemmon and visiting the cookie cabin is always a fun getaway, and a friendly game of mini golf at Golf n’ Stuff is always a good time!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to give a huge shout out to my mother Christine Everett for raising my brother and I while being a single mom and holding down multiple jobs. I definitely owe everything to her! I’d like to thank my music teachers who believed in me and pushed me to take risks! I’d also like to thank Big Brothers Big Sisters for matching me with amazing mentors who are still a huge influence on my life today!