Chrissy Cummings is an ultra-charming mix of class and sass, a real delight to talk with – and she’s most photogenic. Her voice has been described by none other than Robert Oermann, music reviewer for Music Row magazine, "— As sunny as summertime down South. Her soprano has a charming innocence and wonder."
When she came to the interview booth, it was if sunshine had swept in - warm charm and bright smile, As you talk with her you realize that her life hasn’t been all sunny, and she chooses and writes songs that connect with people in the real world She’s making her way in the world on her own terms - optimistic and upbeat.
She’d just left her exhibit booth. She said that she’s enjoying her first Fan Fair and meeting the people. "You want to know where they come from and something about them. Did you know that many people plan their weddings and their honeymoons around Fan Fair? And then they come and ask for autographs … that’s very cool … spending their honeymoon with me." Her infectious laugh was a charmer.
An Arizona native, Cummings found her singing ability quite early and quite by accident. As a three-year old in The Cinderella beauty pageant, she needed a talent for the competition. Singing seemed like an obvious choice; a three-year-old’s singing captures everyone, even if mistakes are made. However, the musical story doesn’t end there. The talent turned out to be real, and the beyond-her-years skillful performance set the stage for a future as a singer.
The youngest of eight children, Cummings often found herself with one of her older siblings at school for some project. "I really didn’t know how old I was, since I was always with one of the others." Cummings was the only one in the family to exhibit vocal ability. "My mother is an artist. I have to describe things to her in visual terms. But she’s tone deaf. None of my brothers and sisters is musically inclined. I do have aunts and uncles who played and sang." Her mother and dad encouraged her talent, not only by finding opportunities for her to perform, but even providing opera lessons, so her technical background could equal her performance ability.
But Cummings chose country music. Cummings elaborates, "I’ve always been drawn to country music. It’s so conversational, and that aspect touches people more readily than others types of music."
Now, the years of her happy childhood behind her, she has many real-life experiences to draw from. As she talked with CSO, she showed confidence, an upbeat attitude, and a real sense of who she is and what she is. The baby of the family has stepped into her own life.
Her influences include Barbara Mandrell, Lee Ann Womack, Dolly Parton, Martina McBride and Emmylou Harris. Her voice is distinctly her own. Her ambitions are, too. To win a Grammy, to be given a Lifetime Achievement Award would signify the ultimate success.
As a songwriter she finds that life’s experiences are the fodder that feeds the material she writes. Asked about how the song writing process worked for her, she said she’d been up ‘till 2 am writing a song in the hotel room with a co-writer friend from out of town who was only here for one day. She said the idea for the song began while she was riding with a friend in Texas on the way to a radio station just looking out the window. Another time a song idea came as she was blow-drying her hair. "I like to co-write, I like to be able to bounce off someone else. I really like that."
"Writing is something that I’ve always done, but I’ve never had the confidence to sing my own material. I’m a single mom and I’ve lived a full life. There were so my songs I sang when I was younger and put my heart into, but you don’t know it. What I’m writing now is cool … Last night’s writing is titled, "Don’t I Dream" … and it’s about women, you know you get lost sometimes in a relationship, and our roles as women today – to work and to take care of the family. It wears on you."
Cummings single, "Whole Lotta Life," though not self-written, is along a similar theme. Who hasn’t worked on their life’s philosophy while sitting in traffic? There’s a "great big world full of possibilities – of things I’ve never felt and seen." Of her performance on this single, Dusty Edwards of KREK in Bristow, Okla., said, "She took a great song and made it her own … she owns that song. Such a great talent and grounded, too."
She’s living the story of her single, right now she’s doing the radio appearances that go with a new release. Cummings expects to be touring soon in support of an album.
The youngster who first stepped onto the stage at three years of age, now steps into life as a confident, competent woman not only ready to meet the challenges, but to bring those emotions and experiences to us in song.
We should be seeing and hearing much more of Crissy Cummings.http://www.crissycummings.com/
article by Helen Neal