After nearly 30 years in the Christian music industry, Crystal Lewis has cemented herself as a legend; and with every legend comes a legacy left behind. Lewis spoke to BREATHEcast about the legacy left for daughter Izzi Ray, and perhaps another newcomer to music, Tori Kelly.
Last time BC interviewed Lewis, she said her daughter was coming out with a record, and the excited mother was anxious to see Izzi really dive into the industry. That album arrived in October of 2014, and the young Ray moved back to California where the family is originally from.
Lewis said the path for her daughter is almost one of discovery as it is "an interesting balance between her wanting to make her own way and being willing to benefit from my connections."
The two have done a lot of events and women's conferences together over the last year but it is generally not where either of them want to "ultimately land." Crystal says she respects that her daughter wants to find her own way and not just be affiliated as Crystal Lewis' daughter.
Right now Izzi is in California looking for places she can sing, and has gotten situated with many talented musicians. Crystal believes her daughter has seen a legacy through the hard working of what they do with the label MetroOne, fighting hard for goals, and learning how to balance people's expectations with beliefs desires and dreams.
"I think she's doing a really good job already of doing that," said Lewis. "She's way ahead of where I was at 19 - in terms of writing, thinking, in terms of just having a good head on her shoulders and thinking for herself. I'm really proud of her."
Another person Crystal Lewis has influenced greatly is new pop sensation Tori Kelly. Kelly recently said in a radio interview that Lewis was one of her favorite artists and an inspiration to her.
Lewis explained that she and Kelly became friends four years ago before the newcomer was managed by Scooter Braun and before getting signed to Capital Records. Kelly, like Lewis, is originally a southern California girl and "her mom and I have a little history although we didn't know each other way back then but our parents knew each other."
The two singers got to know each other through social media and mutual friends. They became close and go to each other's shows. "I'm so proud of her, and thrilled that she would consider me an influence and I have her mother to thank of course because her mom played my music."
She continued, "It's awesome, it's a total honor...I love her, she's remarkable, and a great writer, and she has a heart of gold. Just an awesome kid."
Lewis' music has undoubtedly had this effect on countless artists coming through the ranks over the years and with all the inspiration being dished out by her, sometimes it's a struggle to find some of her own.
As BC documented in part one of this interview, Lewis was suffering some severe writer's block when creating this album. After pushing through and completing the writing portion of the project, sparks of ideas finally hit the singer while in the studio.
She excitedly shared that conversations and thoughts with some of the producers working on her record became ideas and concepts for later use.
"The creative process for this record was so uphill, I found it thrilling to be in the middle of the recording process, and at varying times we would have these conversations about, 'You know what we should do next time?'"
Lewis is already thinking about the future of her music, and trying to cultivate and capture a sound she may not have ventured into before.
"I did things on this record that I've never done before." The people who worked on her record "rescued me" she said. Musical mentors helped her out, and helped to "push, sharpen, challenge, remind."
"I really felt that I just utterly lost my confidence and lost myself and sense of ability in anyway," said Lewis. "It's been a weird learning curve of, I need people, and figuring it out on my own at the same time."
One other project that came to fruition while making this album, is the "Beauty for Ashes" remix by her son Solomon. The classic song was revamped for a movie, and after two years, it is finally coming out. The 20-year-old song also has a new music video as well.
Lewis said people approached them about the song a couple of years ago. It's a family film called, "Beyond the Farthest Star," which is about a pastor's family and a rebellious teenager. This is a story Lewis said she could relate to albeit, she was not as rebellious as the girl in the film. Overall, "Beauty for Ashes" ties in nicely with the themes of the movie.
As Crystal Lewis continues to make music, her status as one of the most consistent and important gospel artists will keep rising. With the release of her new album on September 11, also her birthday, fans will get to celebrate the big day with her as she gives them a present, her voice.
Be sure to check out part one of our interview with Crystal about the creation of the album and learning new things in the business. In part two, Lewis speaks about he upcoming tour, being an independent artist, and her newest single, "Love Each Other."