Crystal Rose Speros: A Soulful Voice with A Heart of Gold

With her golden locks and Olivia Wilde cheekbones, Crystal Rose resembles Hollywood starlets of the 1940’s. But don’t be fooled by her charming attitude and daydreamer qualities. As an ambitious singer-songwriter, she hopes to inspire souls, both old and young, with her infectious lyrics.

The Rundown:

Name: Crystal Rose Speros

School: Gallatin ‘19

Concentration: Music Performance and Composition

Minor: Childhood Mental Health

Hometown: Ocean Beach San Diego, California

HC NYU: Where do your musical inspirations come from and how would you describe your musical style?

CS: I was first inspired by gospel and blue music, but my number one influence was Aretha Franklin. She was a huge impact on me. Nowadays, I always try to listen to a variety of music including jazz standard, soul music, and Debussy. Even going outside and listening to nature can be calming for me. I wouldn’t be able to put a name on the type of music that I actually write or perform because so many different genres have inspired me to become the performer that I am today. However, I would say that there are heavy jazz and R&B undertones in the majority of my songs.

HC NYU: When was the moment you realized that you had to pursue performing as a profession?

CS: When I was in the first grade, I had to participate in the church choir and Christmas plays. I distinctly remember the feeling whenever the curtains pulled up to reveal the crowd. I was so excited to see the audience! It wasn’t because I liked the attention, but because I could share a part of me that often remained guarded. Even at the age of seven, I felt super comfortable whenever I had the opportunity to perform. It was definitely more of a home to me than a platform. I knew from then on that this was something that I absolutely had to pursue.

HC NYU: Does writing songs ever get strenuous or tiring for you? How does the process of coming up with a song normally go?

CS: Honestly, songwriting always varies for me. There’s really no consistency or predictability. Sometimes, I’ll have this feeling or emotion that I’ll absolutely need to put words to. Sometimes, I’ll hear a tune in the back of my mind, and I’ll try to piece together a string of lyrics that I think will go well together. Other times, it might not be as successful. The chords that I play on my guitar might not fit right with what I’m visualizing in my head so I’ll end up scrapping it all out. The most satisfying moments for me is when I complete a song that I’ve been working on for days.

HC NYU: How does your minor in Childhood Mental Health play into the grand scheme of your personal career?

CS: In the future, I want to be a musician and a vocal teacher. Having a background in this particular field is really important if you want to teach kids music. You have to understand what they’re thinking in order to build a meaningful relationship with them. Childhood is a really delicate stage of life, and I want to create a safe space for kids who have the same passion for the musical arts as I did at that age. The knowledge that I gain from my psychology courses help me to better understand the human condition. In effect, I hope it will bring understanding and awareness to my future teaching as well as my songwriting.

HC NYU: How has moving from California all the way to New York changed your musical style and image?

CS: It’s definitely given me more confidence and freedom to pursue what I really want to do.  In New York, you can do anything that you want to do because it’s the city of opportunities. Because of this, I feel like my musical style has a place right in the city. Everyone has something unique to contribute, and I feel open and unburdened when it comes down to sharing my music and performing. In Ocean Beach, I didn’t really have as much freedom as I do now.

HC NYU: What are the differences between the music scenes of CA and NY?

CS: In New York, there are tons of more places to perform live, especially for singer-songwriter types. I think it’s because there’s more of an emphasis on playing live. I also have more opportunities to play my jazz-oriented songs. But, in general, music is literally everywhere. Even when I walk across the park to get to class, I get inspired by the local musicians strumming out their songs. In Ocean Beach, the music scene isn’t as professional as it is in the city. A lot of people pursue music as a hobby than an actual career.

HC NYU: Have you ever worked with other artists/and or bands? How would you incorporate your own style into future collaborations?

CS: I actually grew up playing in bands! Even if my past members were influenced through similar music, I was almost always into slower music while they liked electric jazz-fusion. Speaking of collaborations, I have been consistently working with other artists from NYU. I’m also working on producing my first EP, and it’s a very collaborative process. I think the most important thing to learn before working with anyone is to know it can get a little tough. You might not see eye-to-eye with them and you might not even have the same ideas, but it isn’t to say that it’s really interesting and fun.

HC NYU: If you could give advice to any other burgeoning singers at NYU, what would you say to them?

CS: Practice making the stage of no worry, and be completely vulnerable. A song is un-sculpted time; it’s your chance to say what you want to say.

And Just For Fun:

Favorite Song: “My One and Only Love” Johnny Hartman and Johnny Coltran

Favorite Book: Freeplay by Stephen Nachmanovitch

Dream Vacation: Greece

Favorite Place to Perform: Humphrey’s Backstage Lounge in San Diego, CA

Follow Crystal on Social Media!

Instagram: @crystalrosesperos

Facebook: Crystal Rose Speros

Youtube: Crystal Rose Speros

Photos Courtesy of Evelyn Stetzer Photography