Crystal Clayton knew what profession she wanted for most of her life.
In fact, she knew when she was just 3 years old.
“”I told my my mom every day when I was little that I was going to be a singer someday,” Clayton said.
The Blue Springs High School graduate is now living that – pursuing her dream to become a big-name artist in the music industry and performing all over the Kansas City area.
Tonight, Clayton will perform at 9 p.m. at the Jackpot Music Hall in Lawrence, Kansas, and will also have a show at 11 a.m. at the Plaza Art Fair in the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City.
At those concerts, she will perform her new single “Too Human,” which is ranked No. 1 for Kansas City region pop artists on Reverbnation. The cover charge to attend the show is $5 and she will be joined by Kansas City area artists Jake Wells and Crystal Rose.
“I’ve done some good sized shows,” said Clayton, who lives in Blue Springs. “I performed at the Plaza Art Fair last year on the bridge stage, so that was in front of a lot of people. This coming weekend, we are hoping to have a good crowd out.”
She’s began singing when she was 7 years old and had a vocal instructor named Lena Andrews, who taught Clayton the ins and outs of singing for 12 years. Clayton has also received lessons from teachers geared more toward pop.
Clayton always had the talent to become a singer and she remembers many road trips to Branson when she was 10 and 11 years old where she would compete in national competitions, winning a couple of them. Clayton and her parents drove to Branson a lot and she often entertained her parents with her singing for the 3-plus hour trip to southwest Missouri.
“Almost every weekend, we were driving down to Branson so I could compete,” Clayton recalls. “I would have all my costumes and outfits in the car and would put in a tape or CD and would practice along with them.”
Clayton said she thought she would go the theater route and become an opera singer because she was trained for that. But when she started writing lyrics for herself in high school, that’s when she decided she didn’t want to do theater and wanted instead to become a pop singer.
“I feel like I am good at writing for my voice,” Clayton said. “I can’t see myself singing songs written by somebody else. When you sing your own music, there is this connection you can’t have with someone else writing for you. It’s a connection to yourself that you are writing for people.
“I released an EP of six songs last year. This year, I released two singles. And I am releasing another EP (Sept. 15).”
Along with “Too Human,” Clayton has received a lot of good feedback on her other single “Blinding Lights.” The song “Too Human” is about dealing with mental health and crazy emotions and dealing with insecurities and anxiety, she said.
“Blinding Lights” is a song about wanting to break out and become a well-known artist rather than being stagnant and being complacent.
“I feel like for so long, I was in this same state of not wanting more for my life and not pushing myself,” Clayton said. “It’s about breaking free.”
“People have been responding well to these songs,” Clayton said, “and I have been getting a lot of messages telling me how much they love them. I think a lot of people can really relate to those songs.”
The aspiring singer has been building a strong following and has 10,000 followers on Instagram. She hopes to match or exceed the success of another famous Blue Springs singer and "American Idol" winner David Cook.
“I remember when he was on 'American Idol' and everyone was freaking out about him,” Clayton said. “Me and my friends were pretty young and I remember going to parade for him at (Blue Springs) South High School.
“I think it’s cool that Blue Springs has been represented in the music industry. I would love to take it even further and add to it. I want to make a name for myself in the music industry. I am just enjoying the journey.
You can like Clayton’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/criddleclayton or you can follow her on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/criddleclayton. Her songs can be downloaded on Apple Music or Spotify.