Exclusive interview with Chrysta Bell by Christine Barnett. New Style Magazine, March 2015
Christine Barnett: Chrysta Bell you are a performing artist, recording artist, and model “who incorporates dynamic theatrical and multimedia elements into unforgettable performance experiences,” according to your site. How do you manage to incorporate them all so successfully?
Chrysta Bell: I can’t say all of them have been successful! It’s important to experiment and go out of your comfort zone and try things that may or may not work. But if you don’t try you won’t know. Occasionally they are ‘unforgettable’ because I imagine the audience was wondering what in the hell was I thinking to do such a thing? But I’m ok with that. And sometimes the experiments lead to very emotionally satisfying aspects to the performance that I would not have discovered without being willing just give it a shot.
Christine Barnett: During your musical career you have performed in over 30 countries, what were your favorite concert nights and why? What would you say make a great band/performer upon reflection?
Chrysta Bell: Choosing favorites is hard. Most gigs have their special ‘thing’ about them. Whether it’s an unusually decked out backstage or talented and considerate staff at the venue, or that the promoter makes sure I have my favorite unfiltered sake for after the show. But of course there are some super stand outs for obvious reasons. We recently played the Ravello Music Festival in Ravello, Italy, on a stage that was literally overlooking the stunning Amalfi coast. The grounds around the stage were storybook perfection. Incredible and memorable. We played at the Cartier Foundation in Paris around all of this amazing and intense modern art. We’ve played old cinemas in Prague and state-of-the-art private stages in Moscow. I’ve been vey fortunate on my tours to perform at some wonderful and bizarre venues.
Christine Barnett: You had an amazing opportunity to write and record songs with iconic film director David Lynch in your collaboration yielding both the haunting ‘Polish Poem’ from his ‘INLAND EMPIRE’ soundtrack and an 11-song album titled ‘This Train’. You always gush about the incredible creative energy you both share when collaborating. You always, promote the benefits of transcendental meditation. David Lynch has introduced you to this. Please tell us more and how beneficial is it to creative process and mostly importantly your own.
Chrysta Bell: Transcendental Meditation allows greater access to the creative ideas that come because your brain relaxes it’s relentless onslaught of daily drivel long enough to let the gold in. I had no idea how constant the inner chatter was until I consciously made the effort to relieve myself by way of this very simple and effective practice. Its like taking a leaf blower to a neglected home and realizing there’s a gorgeous mosaic floor you never saw because it was covered up with debris. Make space for the creativity to come through. Clear out the trash to get to the treasure. That’s what TM helps me do.
Christine Barnett: Last time, I interviewed you, it was just after the hurricane aftermath in NY where you were shooting for Italian Vogue. Tell me about the story.
Chrysta Bell: One of the very few things I can think of that would compel me to fly to New York City at the cusp of the ‘super storm of the century’ is the opportunity to be photographed for Italian Vogue. I got in the day before the storm hit, two days before we were scheduled to shoot. It was a miracle the shoot happened at all. We had to wait a day but the production coordinator found one of the only studios in the NY area that still had power and water. It was a crew of 15 or so people for the shoot and everybody got there despite the fact that many were coming from homes with no power, internet or running water! I was beside myself. It was a 16 hour day and yielded some of the most beautiful photos I have ever taken. Plus, what a story to have! I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.
Christine Barnett: On general level what inspires you in life and what do you seek to advocate as a woman which lacks in todays society.
Chrysta Bell: I’m inspired by passionate people dedicated to their chosen missions and causes. My personal cause other than creating and distributing art is educating people around the death process and bringing awareness to alternatives to the so called “death industry” that preys on people in their times of extreme grief. There’s so much about the death process in our modern society that is counter intuitive when it’s truly considered. It’s a delicate and multi faceted topic that really should be brought into more conversations for the benefit of everyone. My father left me a natural burial cemetery and through owning it I have learned so much about far better ways to handle a loved one’s passing than how it is generally done today. Do a bit of research on ‘green burial’ to get a taste…
Christine Barnett: I have heard you like chilled, unfiltered sake. I normally down hot sake with sushi, preferably in Zuma. Any particular preference for a perfect place for a date? And why?
Chrysta Bell: The perfect place for a date could be the bathroom floor if you like your date enough! But I’m all about romantic locales as well. A dark candlelit restaurant tucked away on a cobblestone street in Naples sipping Italian red wine would work pretty well for me.
Christine Barnett: You manager informed me you have a new album coming out in spring. What are we in for? I’m still lusting for the same sultriness as in ‘’Friday Night Fly’’.
Chrysta Bell: Lusty and sultry will always be words that connect to my music. Couldn’t shake it if I tried. I won’t let you down.