Cristyle: Writing With Morals

When you add a dollar sign to your name it means you must be about your business. Songwriter Cri$tlye’s discography includes songs for Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson, Mariah Carey, and other big name stars. Her start in the music business came under the tutelage of Grammy producer Jermaine Dupri, who signed her to his So So Def production company. Cri$tyle is most recently know for writing Mariah’s “Touch My Body” and Teyana Taylor’s “Google Me” singles. In our time with Cri$tyle we had a conversation on dumbing down lyrics, sampling older songs and songwriters becoming singers.

Singersroom: Today’s consumers are saying the lyrics are being dumb down. As a songwriter how does that effect what you put out there?

Cri$tyle: I wouldn’t necessarily say I had to dumb down but there are different types of music. Every song is not supposed to be this incredibly deep spiritual experience. Some songs call for that and some songs are just for having fun. A lot of people confuse down dumb with care free having fun. A lot of times when we write records that are just for that moment at the time people think where dumbing dumb but I wouldn’t necessary say that. I think there are a lot of different types of music and in order to be a great musician you should be able to explore all the types of music. You shouldn’t just be able to write “I Will Always Love” and then you can write “Laffy Taffy,” I think it makes you more of a creative person when you can go from one extreme to the next.

Singersroom: According to your discography, most of the artists you have worked with have been females. How is it different working with a male artist?

Cri$tyle: Well I actually worked with Usher when I first got signed to Jermaine [Dupri]. It really wasn’t a difference the fact that he was a male artist because I go off of character whenever I write for someone. I pretty much come in the studio thinking that I’m that person; it sounds slightly schizophrenic. I kind of imagine if I was Usher today what do I want to talk about, how am I gonna phrase this word, how am I gonna sing this line. I just do that with everybody so it really isn’t that much of a difference.

Singersroom: Are there words that you censor yourself from using?

Cri$tyle: I’m definitely a God fearing person so there a certain things if they go against what I believe religious wise I absolutely will not write it, will not sing it, will not be a part of it. Regardless of whom the artist may be. I have morals; I don’t need fame or money bad enough to comprise who I am as a person. There are some things that I will not do or say but for the most part I have never ran into the situation where I had to compromise who I am or had to make a big decision. Most of the songs I have been bless to write on are either inspiring in some way or just time to have fun and go to the club.

Singersroom: I know some people refrain from curse words or the ‘N’ word, they think it’s artistic.

Cri$tyle: I am stronger in the fact that I think, a lot of people feel that is just entertainment but I think there is a line that is drawn. Because music is such an influential language and people live their lives sometimes base on what’s going on musically. So I will not say and do anything and then go well its “just entertainment, it’s just a song,” because it is not just a song. It is a way of speaking, of communication; it is a lot of things more than just a song.

Cri$tyleSingersroom: In our digital age, when a demo song is created and a producer leaks it, how does that affect your business dealings?

Cri$tyle: It is frustrating sometimes. There are a few of my demos that have been leaked and though I appreciate the good comments about them, it is still kind of frustrating because those are songs I wrote for a particular artist and artist don’t want to come out with anything that they have heard before. It does affect the process of creativity and coming with something. Then next you go online and it is everywhere, whether they like it or not it is a let down. I’m not on the leaking thing, I don’t know why people do it especially people who were involved with the project. If you’re a songwriter or producer I don’t know why you leak things.

Singersroom: In order to create a new story what forms of media do you consume?

Cri$tyle: I actually watch a lot of TV. That is kind of my thing because everything hits TV first and then it hits everywhere else so I’m always watching the news, the new TV show that just came out with the new situations. I watch a lot of the kids shows, I watch a whole lot of Nickelodeon. (laughs) For one it just makes me feel like a kid all over again so I don’t feel old and then it keeps me current because kids always know the latest fashion before adults.

Singersroom: Is there a reason why people remake old songs rather than coming with something fresh?

Cri$tyle: I think that a lot of times when we take those records that are older and redo them, it’s pretty much a familiar sound to the listener. I guess I could say with the sampling process some things are amazing and they can be continuously used all the time regardless of what generation. There are some amazing records from way back when, before I was even thought of, that I listen to now and I get my writing skills, metaphors, melody; they all inspire those. Some things are hot and you just don’t want to let it go. (Laugh)

Singersroom: Artist talk about being able to make a hit record, do you think there is a science to it?

Cri$tyle: There probably is a formula but you can’t explain it. It is an “it” factor. I know when I’m sitting down getting ready to write a song…my first thing is I want to know what is my concept gonna be. With me everything is about a concept, I have to see exactly where I’m trying to get to before I can go a head and go there. It is almost like a house. The house would be the concept, and then you have to furnish the house and that would be the lyrics. Then you have to add color and paint and the little accent things of the house would be the melody. That is the way I approach a record, I don’t know if that will be called a formula but it is something I continuously do every time I approach a record.

Singersroom: Currently several songwriters have become singers, is that the next step for you?

Cri$tyle: My take on it is a lot of times people don’t know where somebody originated from. Myself for example, I have been singing since I was three years old and professionally songwriting since three years ago. I kind of fell in love with it, I woke up one morning and God blessed me with another talent. I have been singing as long as I have been talking and a lot of people when you come out doing one thing they want to stick you to that. I know for example Keri Hilson was in a singing group and she was a singer first and now she has been blessed to do her own project. It is not that she is a songwriter turned singer, it is the other way but the world first met her as a songwriter. The same thing with Jamie Foxx, Jamie Foxx was a singer from the day he started doing entertainment then he went to comedy, then acting and it just came back full circle into doing an album. Some people are blessed with all kinds of gifts. —— By: Interview By Adeniyi Omisore


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