INTERVIEW: Chonna Cristelle

Hi Chonna, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hey! I’ve been great, scared, elated, vulnerable, but overall very relieved to have just released my first single. Thanks for asking, haha.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Ink Blot”?

Absolutely. “Ink Blot” has been a long time coming. Not necessarily as a song, but just as a release for myself. I’ve had a lot of built up tension and doubts about life experiences. I’ve always written in journals, often times in the form of poetry. Writing has always been freeing for me to help handle the things I could not actually handle in real life. Many of these thoughts and feelings got funneled into “Ink Blot” as a poem. Singing has always been a tough thing for me. Other people encouraged me to sing more than I felt comfortable with. It was always easier writing in a journal, you know?  I finally pushed myself to submerge fully in music, and “Ink Blot” is my first dose of inner turmoil getting released from off of my shoulders. The song is loosely about a therapy session. In reality, writing and singing it has kind of been my own personal form of self therapy.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

When I sit down to write, I usually have nothing in mind. I will see something, or think of something random, that will then spiral into a story about my past or how I am feeling at the time. I must have been thinking for a while,  because I had not formed a sentence before my pen starting forming an ink blot on my journal paper. It was then that I started to see images within that ink blot. And, well, I guess that’s the spoiler alert, haha. From there I just kept the poem going along the lines of a therapy session. Too many people try to paint this picture of perfection while they’re truly broken inside,  but not willing to ask for help. I hope this song helps people come out with their feelings.

Was the song always meant to deal with the mental health stigmas or it rather evolve into this?

I think for me it always needed to deal with the stigmas around mental health. I think I needed the expression and vulnerability of the lyrics to put this into light. I have spent my whole life trying to hush the darkness by portraying a strong, independent woman. Asking for help was a sign of weakness. I see it everyday on social media. All you see is perfect little people with their perfect little lives. We know that isn’t always the truth. This song was meant to bring to light that it is ok to be sad, or to ask for help, or to show how you are really feeling.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

Filming “Ink Blot” was like my partner and I trying to win a Cricket tournament. Neither of us had a clue what we were doing. I didn’t have a budget for a video, but knew how important it was to have a visual to go along with the song. We got a camera, headed to the desert, and started recording. We were surprised any of the footage was even usable. We edited it together and quickly realized it needed a story line. We figured a therapy session would be the obvious choice. An even more obvious choice was to ask my good friend who is a real life therapist to star in it. We basically fumbled our way through the entire process, but are super thrilled with the end product. My next video is due to come out June 7th, which I can’t wait to share.

Why naming the EP after this track in particular?

I feel like “Ink Blot” sets the tone for my upcoming EP. It’s really about self healing and bringing to light the things most people do not want to talk about. This song really kickstarts the singles I have coming out soon.

How was the recording and writing process?

Writing is the easy part for me. I have always loved words and hooking lyrics to a catchy melody. It’s still my favorite part of the whole process. The recording was something entirely new to me. It was fun, exciting, with a whole bunch of confusion sprinkled on top. I don’t know what any of the buttons do, haha, so I just kinda do what they tell me. Sing? Ok. Sing again? Ok. Luckily, I have some great people to work with that can embrace my shortcomings.

What role does Texas play in your music?

I grew up singing along to all of the Country greats. I think that experience has had a lot of influence on my vocal sound. My voice is definitely on the raspy, soulful side, but I also love the opportunity to let it all out. I think I relate more to the writing style as well. Country music is often about life experiences on a real level. I hope people take my lyrics personally.  

What aspect of self-doubt and worthlessness did you get to explore on this record?

This record is really about just coming to terms with emotions I have bottled up and capped off. This record is the cracking of that bottle and letting it all out. It feels good. I can’t write about happy rainbows and going to the beach. I just don’t have it in me quite yet.

Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

My songs are all about personal struggles and triumphs. I guess I am also inspired by those I see around me. Not necessarily people I know, just society as a whole. If I see something that I feel needs to be brought to light, I’ll usually write a poem about it. Needless to say, I have many journals with poems that never got turned into songs. Not yet, anyways.

Any plans to hit the road?

Oh, to dream. Immediate plans are to get the album finished. Once I’m wrapping that up I will be focusing all of my energy on booking a tour. Going on tour has been my dream since I started all of this. It is my biggest fear to perform, but it is also my biggest release. I can’t wait to share my album with a live audience.

What else is happening next in Chonna Cristelle’s world?

Everything and anything. In the immediate future I will be releasing my next single, “Leave Letter”, along with another video. I am getting ready to shoot the video for “Huff” which will be my third release. I’m currently in production on my fifth single. On top of all of this I have real world stuff. You know, jobs, bills, and belly rubs for my pup.

Watch here

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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