Crystal Sawyer, Freelance Harpist “Lady of Harp” in South Florida
I was born and raised in Miami, FL. I freelance throughout the South Florida area as well as internationally for various events from weddings to the most creative of parties. I recently began composing different works for artists of all genres (dance/poetry/visual) while continuing to improvise over modern day tracks for recordings and live performances. Also, I graduated from Florida International University as an Invitational Scholar and received a Master of Science Degree in Reading from Florida Memorial University.
When did you first know you wanted to be a Jazz singer/mucisian?
I would not call myself a jazz musician; however, by the same token, I do not necessarily classify myself as anything other than a musician. After I was accepted into an Arts middle school, the environment stimulated my growth and I knew from then that I would be a musician for life.
What was the first tune/song you learned? That was a very long time ago. Perhaps something out of a John Thompson piano book. I remember playing Flamingo on the organ.
What is the most amazing thing that has happened to you on your musical journey?
Just one experience? I would have to say the artistic collaborations that I have been a part of over the last two years which have included erotic poetry & different forms of dance.
Where have you performed? What are your favorite and least favorite venues? Do you have any upcoming shows?
I freelance throughout South Florida as well as the islands. Performing at the Hard Rock is amazing. There are a few hotels down south where I will not perform again. I may have a show in March.
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs? Do you think these topics will change over time?
I compose my own music. The first cd had different inspirations and objectives. I had to compose songs for a theatrical dance production that as based on GEMS which meant I had to translate the vision of the writer/artistic director. Flamenco, mystery, ballet…had to be brought to life through my compositions. That was a wonderful experience for me because I was given the room to create something of my own doing. There is one song that was the product of a Reiki experience, another was written for my favorite poet, and many of the others were sheer inspiration that dropped from the air at the time of recording. The topics will change over time because I will change over time.
What is a typical day in the life of a musician/singer?
Because my schedule is dictated by my performances, there is always a new schedule. I wake up at 7am and pray. After that, I can be found teaching, exercising, rehearsing repertoire for the next performance, or planning the performance.
Tell us about any new projects you have coming up.
I am hoping to be able to produce myself in concert for my birthday with all new compositions, improvisations, and of course surprise or two just to entertain myself.
What is the biggest risk you ever took professionally and/or the biggest obstacle you have overcome?
The day I realized that I would no longer allow circumstances to define my musical career, I made a profound statement. It is called, “THE BEGINNING”, my debut cd. Ever since then, life has been quite different.
What are your fondest musical memories? In your house? In your neighborhood or town?
I remember my father taking me to see the New World Symphony perform a concerto by Rachmaninoff. Whenever I would watch the ballet, I would go look at the orchestral pit during intermission. I still do that do this day. The performance that I did at my godsister’s wedding ceremony was very special for me. There are quite a few musical memories of which I am quite fond..
What do you do to keep yourself sharp? What one thing have you done in the past year that has made a significant difference in your life/your business?
I schedule fun things for myself to do. It could be lunch with a friend or shopping with my mother. The one thing that has made a significant difference in my life over the past year is that I took notes on the lessons that life taught me.
What one thing would you like to learn this year?
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Performing in an art gallery in France…lol
What do you do for fun/relaxation/entertainment?
I do a lot of reading, attend different cultural events(if I am not in it), exercise almost daily, teach Middle Eastern Dance, and feed my candle obsession. I love talking to my friends and meeting new interesting people.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Love yourself first. If there is something about your life that makes you unhappy, do something to change it.
What’s the best way for our readers to connect with you?
NOTE: Crystal Sawyer is one of 14 women in music that WE interviewed for the WE Magazine for Women in Music Spring 2011 Issue. You can read more about these Women in music by visiting: http://www.staging.wemagazineforwomen.com/pdfs/2011WEMagSpring.pdf