Q & A: Canadian pop-Country Recording Artist Crystal McGrath on her Path to Pursuing Country Music, Her Latest Single, “About a Boy” & her Goals for This Year
Hailing from Calgary, Alberta is Canadian pop-country artist & multi-passionate entrepreneur, Crystal McGrath. A professional artist for more than a decade, McGrath has shared her music with fans on international stages while touring across the U.S., Australia, the UK and Mexico. On Canadian soil, she’s previously opened for the likes of Aaron Pritchett, George Canyon, David Usher and The Lights. In September 2020, she released her country anthem “Game On”- a song that inspires women to go after what they want in life, even if it’s a boy.
Within its first week, the song climbed its way to the Top 40 on the Sirius XM CBC Country charts, was distributed across Australian country radio- being in regular rotation at several stations. In addition, the official music video for the song was added to the Australian MTV/CMT network. Following up the success of her previous single, she recently released “About a Boy”- a catchy pop-country single that takes the listener through the emotions one experiences when you start falling for that boy you just can’t get out of your head. But this is more than you’re average head-over-boots country love song- it conveys an underlying message about women empowerment. About a Boy demonstrates that you can be both an independent, strong woman and also be in touch with your emotions. With relatable lyrics delivered with powerful vocals over an instrumental blend of pop and traditional country sounds, About a Boy will surely get stuck in your head and have you singing along!
Recently I spoke with McGrath on her path to pursuing country music, her latest single and her goals for the remainder of the year.
Kyla Pearson: For those who are unfamiliar with your music, can you tell us a bit about your path to pursuing music? What made you want to become an artist?
Crystal McGrath: Music has always been the piece of my world that lights me up. I started out as a competitive gymnast with goals to head to the Olympics until I broke both my feet, which was a pivoting moment as I stopped gym and moved into music and musical theatre a little less harmful to the body! I struggled with not being able to use my authentic voice and always put on a fake voice with the fear lingering that who I really am was not good enough, so at the time in my mind it was better not to be liked for who I was not then to be liked for who I was. It was through working with a vocal coach in my teenage years that I started to break through the fear and discover my own my voice and personal power through performing and getting uncomfortable which led to my most comfortable spot in life, using my authentic voice standing on stage. It is now my personal mission statement to inspire individuals to be the best version of themselves no matter what stage they are in and I use music as an outlet to inspire that thought in people.
Kyla Pearson: Your upcoming single, “About a Boy” is set to be released on June 11th. The song was written by Emma-Lee, Karen Kosowski and Robyn Dell’Unto, and is the first song that you release that you haven’t written yourself. What made you want to record this song? Can you tell us a bit about the recording process?
Crystal McGrath: This one really stood out to me for a few reasons. I loved how the start of this song really paints the picture of a confident girl, and then leads into a quieter moment watching a girly film and really makes you feel that moment when even though you’re cool with being “alone” seeing romantic moments makes one long for that natural human connection. The song is so relatable to really any girl that has moved on from a relationship but still misses pieces from it.
I also love how the song clearly states “WHY DOES IT ALWAYS HAVE TO BE ABOUT A BOY” and a huge part of what I stand for is female empowerment! We are in a time where being a female and stepping into the role of power is more and more common, I feel like this song in a way represents that emotion for me posing the question why? and really reminding ourselves/listeners that women are equally valid and can play on the same field!
Ask any girl- they have had some moment in their life where their world revolved around a boy. There’s humour in it to me, as much as we are independent and confident we are all still human and honouring the human emotions getting real with a feeling is something super important to me!
Kyla Pearson: In relation to the song’s theme, why do you think it always has to be about a boy?
Crystal McGrath: Because girl, we are human!!!! And whether it’s a girl or a boy that you’re pining over it’s about the theme of relationships and that longing for love. We are built for love and connection and sometimes those feelings can take over our mind whereas other times we are completely ok being alone and confident. This song touches on both of those points!
Kyla Pearson: About a Boy is the first single off your upcoming EP, and marks a new stylistic direction for you as an artist. What sparked this change? What do you hope to achieve with this new single? What do you hope fans will get out of this song?
Interesting you say it sparked a change, I feel like it is just an evolution of who I am as an artist and not so much a change. The goal is to always grow and challenge myself to be the boldest version of myself, I feel like I have really stepped into who I am over the past 5 years and that shows up in my music and performance. I have put a tremendous amount of work into self-love and personal development over the years and it is my personal mission to inspire others to step into their power and out of their comfort zone, that’s when we shine the brightest!! The goal is always connection so I look forward to having listeners feel a sense of relatability when they hear this song and be reminded that they are not the only one who spends nights thinking about a boy!
Kyla Pearson: You also ran a challenge where you’d ask fans to submit their true stories about a boy, which you’d turn into mini-songs for them. What is challenging to come up with the songs? Do you feel closer/that you have a better understanding of your fans because of it?
Crystal McGrath: Absolutely!!! I have loved reading everyone’s stories, and these mini songs will continue to come out! I have this weird gift that I can just start singing on the spot and create a song without planning it out aha, I have some memories of being on stage with Jarred who is in my band Boy & Gurl and he would just start playing some riffs on the keys and I would just start singing about someone in the audience or something that was happening, those moments are my favourite when you turn off the ego and just flow. I wanted to get back into that feeling of flow and using other people’s stories to help drive that for me has been so much fun!
Kyla Pearson: Do you plan on releasing a lyric video or music video for the song? If so, can you tell us a bit more about your plans for them?
Crystal McGrath: Follow me on social media to stay in the loop 🙂
Kyla Pearson: You’re also a songwriter. With the past year being on pause because of the pandemic, did you have the opportunity to write more songs? How has adapting to zoom/virtual co-writes been for you? Lastly, do you think that you’ve grown as a songwriter this past year as a result?
Crystal McGrath: As much as live performances shut down and we have been in lockdown, I feel like this past year has been one of the most productive. I developed skills on how to put together a pro live stream show, I have connected with some amazing writers all over the world, Released now 2 songs internationally and begun the process of recording a new EP. I am a big believer in creativity, sometimes that means doing things differently to make things happen, sometimes that means writing new music and sometimes that means visualizing a solution when you’re surrounded by obstacles. I am grateful for technology to provide the opportunity to stay connected!! I think we grow on a daily basis as humans and that includes as a writer & artist!
Kyla Pearson: Moving forward in 2021, what is one goal you hope to achieve with your music by the end of the year?
Crystal McGrath: I am so grateful to be able to wake up and do what I love to do every single day, that is fulfilling in itself. However, I do have a list of goals that I want to achieve and I have already been fortunate enough to check some of them off the list! I would love to have a song charting in the top 20 in Australia and Canada. I’d have to say that’s a massive goal of mine, however, my success does not hinge on that 🙂 But I look forward to working towards that goal!
Listen to About a Boy now:
Stay up to Date With Crystal McGrath:
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/crystalmcgrathmusic
McGrath, Crystal. Interview. Conducted by Kyla Pearson, Jun. 7 2021.
McGrath, Crystal. “Featured: Canadian pop-country artist & multi-passionate entrepreneur, Crystal McGrath”. Photo courtesy of Kyla Pearson. Accessed Jun. 7 2021.
Pearson, Kyla.“Official single art of Crystal McGrath’s latest single, ‘About a Boy’ ”. Photo courtesy of Kyla Pearson. Accessed Jun. 7 2021.
Originally published at https://www.kylapearson.ca on June 22, 2021.