“When I’m on stage, I feel extremely fearless and I wanted the music to reflect that.” ~Krystal Metcalfe, on the inspiration behind her forthcoming EP
Following her tour for the release of her first EP, In Real Life, Krystal Metcalfe met up with Lauren in Chicago to talk about her musical roots growing up in the church, current collaborations, her songwriting process, her favorite food spots in Houston and Chicago, and the weirdest thing she likes to bring on tour.
Krystal, a Chicagoan, by way of St. Louis, wears her life experiences, musicianship, and love for people on her chest and is always ready to set the nearest stage on fire. Her love for music runs deep into her roots and she uses those seeds to share real, purposeful, and meaningful music that will uplift your spirits and also move the crowd.
Her musical style has been described as “the love child of Aretha Franklin and Chaka Kahn, infused with Rock n' Soul and Musical Theatre.” She has been recognized by The Chicago Tribune, as well as highlighted by Jet magazine in a new artist spotlight for her student loan anthem 'Sallie'.
Krystal's debut EP "In Real Life" also earned her performances on the historic JBTV, as well as Windy City Live. This summer she was featured at Mamby on the Beach following her spring tour with The Suffers (check out Lauren’s interview on Lauren Ignited with Kam Franklin.)
Following her spring/summer tours, Krystal’s second EP has been tracked and they are now working on the mix. She talks about their crazy idea to record 8 songs in one 7-hour day, which they did! She admits, though that they did have to go back and re-record some of the parts.
The new EP she describes as having a “strong rockin’ soul sound” that is quite different than “In Real Life.” It features songs that she has written in collaboration with her husband, and with multi-instrumentalist/singer/songwriter, Sam Trump (featured in another episode of Lauren Ignited.)
Krystal describes her songwriting process as “waiting for the song to be sent down from the heavens” and then it comes all at once. She says the theme of the new album came about at the beginning of the year when she was thinking about how much there is to be afraid of and how you can let yourself be ruled by your fears, or you can face them and evaluate them.
Krystal shares some of her favorite restaurants in Houston -- The Breakfast Klub (listen to Lauren’s interview with Chef Marcus Davis here) and Cyclone Anaya’s -- and in Chicago -- MacArthur’s Restaurant for southern comfort food, Batter and Berries for brunch, and Chicago q for baby back ribs.
This interview was recorded the day of the great Aretha Franklin’s passing. Aretha was such an inspiration to Krystal, she tells a story of the time her band played her entire catalog in three long sets. Want to know Krystal’s favorite Aretha song? You’ll just have to listen to find out!
In the meantime, Krystal says, “Be kind, spread love, give hugs (to people that say you can hug them,) and check out the new project when it’s available.”
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“A michelada is… a cocktail with longevity.” -Greg
Lauren and Greg kick off this mid-summer round up with Lauren’s recent visit to the Logan Square Farmers Market, Greg waxing poetic about the Green City Market in Lincoln Square, a 4th of July rooftop Cubs game (of which Lauren saw very little because she was too busy socializing, snacking and drinking gluten free hard cider provided by Angry Orchard), and Greg’s firm “no” to the summer shandys of last summer and enthusiastic “yes” to the coffee-infused lagers of this summer.
Lauren was thrilled to catch Mayer Hawthorne, who she describes as “soul with a sassy twist” at the Taste of Randolph street festival in Chicago, where she had a chance to fall in love with the rope viejo taco with goat cheese at nearby Bar Takito.
Once Greg was done complaining about the influx of traffic jams that the West Loop/ Randolph Restaurant District is currently suffering from with the influx of the companies like Google and the new McDonald’s HQ, which features a smattering of items from their “international” menus, we begin a tour of Mexican bar/restaurant concepts around Chicago including Federales (owned and operated by renowned Parlor Pizza Bar). Here the main attraction is an ice tequila shot glass you can throw once you’re done to ring a bell.
We continue to family owned La Josie on Halsted and Randolph, where Greg recommends the flank steak with a smoky michelada, his go-to Sunday drink.
We visit Rick Bayless’s Leña Brava, wood-fired and Baja-inspired, sharing a building with Cruz Blanca, a beer and bites bar and brewery. Lauren loves on the soup from Xoco, also a Bayless spot. Greg recommends anyone flying out of O’Hare Airport to allow extra time to grab food and a margarita to go from Frontera inside Terminals 1, 3 and 5.
After the break, Lauren shares an epic story about driving the artist transport golf cart up and down Lake Shore Drive for last year’s Lollapalooza, her goof up with the managers for the popular hip-hop band Migos (hint: she said, “Oh I don’t know them!” even though they were headliners), and a torrential downpour resulting in festival evacuation. This year’s festival is August 2-5, 2018 and Lauren and Greg earnestly recommend the VIP pass.
Speaking of VIP passes, gives us the 411 on VIP experiences at Six Flags Great America and we round out the summer recommended experiences with free concerts in Millennium Park (featuring artists like Louie Vega and Robyn!) and extravagant picnic options at Ravinia Music Festival.
Food & drinks mentioned in this episode:
Takito Kitchen - http://takitokitchen.com/
Bar Takito - http://bartakito.com/
Federales - http://federaleschicago.com/
La Josie - https://www.lajosie.com/
Leña Brava - http://www.rickbayless.com/restaurants/lena-brava/
Cruz Blanca - http://www.rickbayless.com/restaurants/cerveceria-cruz-blanca/
Xoco - http://www.rickbayless.com/restaurants/xoco/
Frontera Grill (including the O’Hare Airport location) - http://www.rickbayless.com/restaurants/frontera-grill/
Cafe Tola - https://www.cafetola.com/
Lupe Tortilla Houston - https://tex-mex.com/
Music mentioned in this episode:
Mayer Hawthorne - http://www.mayerhawthorne.com/
Migos - http://migosonline.com/
Louie Vega - http://www.vegarecords.net/
Robyn - http://robyn.com/
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