Christian contemporary pioneer Crystal Lewis spoke to BREATHEcast about crowd funding her new album, the sometimes slow paced living of Montana, and a possible upcoming tour. With her new album coming in September, the singer just wants us to 'Love Each Other'.
As stated in the first part of this interview, Lewis launched a Kickstarter for this album in June 2013. At the time she didn't know that a new album would take a little more than two years to finish, but all the funds were there nevertheless.
Crowdfunding affords an artist the opportunity to constantly have something to create as long as their fans are full time supporters and willing to invest in the cause of the project. It is a medium that has only been around for a few years, and now artists, entrepreneurs, businesses, and essentially anyone can see their idea turn into something tangible.
Lewis loves crowd funding because "I love the idea of engaging with people."
She continued, "Coming up through the '90s there wasn't even social media. The only way to communicate with fans was at a concert or if you ran into someone somewhere." The singer thinks it's great for both the artists and the fans, "It almost feels like one on one."
Ultimately Lewis believes God would have made a way if the campaign wasn't around, and she is very grateful to all the people who supported the effort.
Along with this new record, Lewis wants to do something she hasn't done too much of in a while, tour. She has played shows and conferences mixed throughout, but there has not been a steady stream of dates in support of a record.
"It is almost as if we are exploring new territory," she described it as. "Having lived in Montana for the last nine years, and having just done what needed to be done to keep working to raise my kids and get them through school, now to be at a place where I have to just roll up my sleeves and jump back in here."
Lewis admitted she never thought a move to Montana was in her future, and figured she'd one day be in New York.
"Montana really is Narnia, it's spectacular, it's magical; the snow and the trees. It feels like some weird wonderland or something," said Lewis.
Now she said it feels like she's walking back through the wardrobe into the old world that she thought she knew - today's music industry. Social media is different, technology is different, the music industry is different. "Not to say that I left it, but you're isolated here. It is a different type of world, and as I said I took an intentional step back to raise my kids."
She said Montana is clean, beautiful and relaxing, but "slow as molasses" so it's hard to find inspiration, and maybe that is what led to her struggle in writing.
With Lewis' self-titled album coming out September 11, she has already released two singles, "Faithful" and "Love Each Other."
It has been several years since she had singles on the radio, and joked about stations who say they play her music all the time. "'We play your songs all the time', 'oh what songs?' 'People Get Ready' and 'Beauty for Ashes'" she laughed. "Ok those are 19-years-old."
The song "Love Each Other" is her first single and it's super funky. So far fans have received it well, and are encouraged by such a simple yet poignant message for society.
"I love that song, and it's so fun to have a song that you like. I've annoyed my family to no end, by singing it," joked Lewis. "It feels like such a miracle and victory to me to actually like what I did."
She continued, "It came at such a pivotal point in time for our world, our churches, our community....We are called to put ourselves aside, and love each other. That's the message all across the board."
The singer then revealed that as an independent artist with her own label, it's tough to get those radio singles. Yet again, Lewis is finding herself in uncharted territory for music in 2015.
"As an independent artist, I have to fight twice as hard to get half as much as other artists on major labels," even with the veteran status she revealed. "Still a struggle and a battle with mainstream radio."
One of the other battles she has to fight on her own is booking a tour. When booking a tour she can't just play anywhere at anytime. There is a lot of strategy involved. The timing and situations have to match up perfectly, along with the finances it takes to make it happen.
Lewis currently has a handful of dates booked in September to support the initial release and a full scale tour may start later this winter or early spring.
Lewis said, it's not as easy as people think to book a tour. She sees comments all the time on social media that ask her to come to Atlanta, or Brazil, or wherever. "I don't pick a city and say, 'I'm gonna go there'. I have to be invited, and somebody has to support you, fund your way to get there. I can't afford to bring my whole band and life and all of that without the support of tickets sales or church paying for something or promoter, whatever."
Check back with BREATHEcast for the third and final installment of our interview with her where she talks about her daughter, the singer Tori Kelly, and what's to come next.
Be sure to read part one here, where she speaks about the new project, writer's block, and learning new things after almost 30 years in the business. Read part three where she talks about her daughter and relationship with Tori Kelly.