Kristine W. Performs at Miami Beach Gay Pride
The name Kristine W. evokes some dance hits with all of us, remembering a time we were at our favorite club and the DJ spun one of her many songs and we got lost either in her voice or the fabulous lyrics. After all, Kristine has released 7 albums and has had 16 number one hits on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs chart in the United States. In 2009 Billboard announced that Kristine was #3 on the Dance/Club Play Artist of the decade list just behind Madonna and Beyonce. In addition, Kristine holds the world record for most consecutive #1 Billboard Club Hits. Right before her appearance at Miami Beach Gay Pride, Kristine sat down with us here at Hotspots for an exclusive interview.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a singer/recording artist?
Oh my gosh, probably when I was 6 or 7. My grandmother had already started teaching me how to play the piano and by the time I was 7 I wanted to learn how to play the guitar.
Where was your first public performance?
I sang at church when I was 8, singing during the offering I sang a song called "Love Lifted Me" and people went nuts with applause which got me going and I was hooked. My mom was a great role model because she was a working musician.
Who was the first person in the biz to notice you and when was that?
I was in a farm town growing up in Portland so there weren’t very many show biz people. But there was a pageant director who noticed me in my teen years, Dorothy Sehoeppach. Every time I won a talent show or did something fabulous she was there encouraging me to go on and she encouraged me to enter Miss Washington. I had never done pageants, but I entered and won. I did this for the scholarship money and to get out of the small town. I then went on to Miss America where I won talent and swimsuit took the money and headed out to Vegas.
How did it feel the first time you heard your song on the radio?
I started crying my eyes out as I was getting ready to go into a meeting at RCA. I was supposed to meet the head of the record label and I was in the lobby and heard it on KCU and it was completely overwhelming; I lost it.
You have recorded so many songs, what are your favorite(s) and why?
"Land of the Living" is my favorite because it has gotten so many of my fans and friends and people around me through hard times. It’s a song about a lot of things and it stirs a lot of emotions! It’s an anthem for survivors; especially for my friends living with HIV/AIDS. I am very proud of this song.
Who were/are your inspirations in the music industry?
I like a lot of the Jazz people as I just find that they are quite amazing. Like Mel Torme, Al Jareau and Ella Fitzgerald. The people who were great at scat and have great rhythm. Patti LaBelle and Diana Ross are 2 more that rock me! I also love great dancers. I have a lot of respect for them.
You have toured all over the world, what has been your favorite gig and favorite city?
I think my favorite gig would have been in Australia for 8,000 people in this convention center. The show was called Queer Nation and there was like 20 dancers and we were really rehearsed and all the make-up, hair and costuming were amazing. It was one of those nights that just came together perfectly. It was an a-ha night!
In 2009 you released the album "Straight Up With a Twist," which was your first contemporary Jazz album. How did this come about?
My roots are in Jazz as my mom performed with a lot of Jazz musicians. Greg Grazinni was one of the guys my mom toured with and he taught me so much as he worked with a lot of the greats.
Your talent and brand has sustained over 20 years. How do you continue to entertain your fan base and how do you engage new fans?
After the shows I just love talking to my fans. I constantly communicate with them. Music is a mirror of our lives and what we are going through. I love the face time and I get a lot out of that and I think that keeps me fresh and current. The cool thing about music is that it keeps us all connected.
What would people be shocked to know about you?
That at heart I am a cowgirl. I am such a horse freak, it’s crazy.
What’s ahead for Kristine W?
I am doing quite a few shows this summer, all over the place, so I am concentrating on that now. I am also doing the West Coast Dance Explosion with 400 dancers from around the country. I am also performing (the day before pride) at the Centennial Cherry Blossom Festival on Saturday April 14th which will air on ABC. I am really proud of my new album coming out this summer...check it out!