Chrystel: Refined and Ready

Alienating the desperate need for validation by focusing on self-love and looking within sets the foundation for Chrystel‘s confidence boost dance-floor filler ‘Snapchat.’ The Grammy Award-nominated Ivorian American star brings a fresh spin on Afropop.

First-generation American Chrystel grew up in an Ivorian household in Atlanta with West African traditions and influence. Observing and absorbing surrounding sounds and melodies, Chrystel knew from an early age she aspired to be a musician, being able to entertain as Michael Jackson and Rihanna.

Preparing to release her highly anticipated sophomore EP ‘Prey,’ Chrystel is crystalising her mark as a solo artist with a vast reach of more than six million streams. Written and recorded in Lagos, Nigeria, Chrystel operated with a high dose of self-assurance, which is rhythmically translated into carefree bops like ‘Snapchat.’

On top of being a multi-platinum-selling artist, Chrystel has writing credits on the acclaimed Dreamville compilation album ‘Revenge Of The Dreamers II and Baby Tate’s viral hit ‘I Am.’ Chrystel details her ‘big break,’ co-signing with the legendary Timbaland and performing at the African Cup Of Nations.

Who was your biggest inspiration when growing up?

My biggest inspiration? I had too may influences to name one. I loved Michael Jackson and Ri- hanna though.

How did you first got involved with music and songwriting?

Besides natural inclination, I knew I wanted to be a singer from a very small age maybe like 4 or 5 and I thought all artists wrote their own songs, and I knew that Joe Jackson and Matthew Knowles started them young from watching vh1 documentaries, so I thought I should too.

What would you describe as your ‘big break’?

A Timbaland co-sign on TikTok live made me feel pretty good.

What was the best piece of advice you received when it comes to pursuing the dream of being an artist?

Your winning moments are outside of the studio. Unless you are bringing your audience inside of the studio. Obviously execute your ideas, but share your work and pop your shit.

How does your happy place look like?

Tropical climates with my people and work being involved somehow.

Who are your favourite underrates artists from Atlanta that you would like to give a shout-out to?

Honestly I wanna shout out everyone who wants it bad enough to put themselves out there. Keep


Your latest single ‘Snapchat’ is the first taste of your highly anticipated sophomore EP, why did you choose ‘Snapchat’ to kick off this new chapter?

It’s a great song and I just want to put out great music. I want people to feel good listening to me and if I weren’t me and I heard Snapchat I’d be curious to see what else I have to offer.

How will this new project compare to your debut EP ‘Prey’?

It’s more music, more put together, and I have more of a story to tell.

What is the main message behind ‘Snapchat’?

Self assuredness.

You refer to ‘Snapchat’ as a form of self-care, what makes you feel confident and empowered?

Living as my most honest and true self makes me feel empowered.

Could you please elaborate on how your collaboration with Timbaland came about (Textbook Timbo)?

I saw he was doing TikTok live and people were playing their music for him. My immediate first thought was if I get on his live he’s gonna love my music. The day I found out he was doing this it was super late and the live was basically over so the next day i started watching earlier. I requested to go live with him  and it happened like i thought it would! He is also so cool and so down to earth. There’s a reason why he is who he is. 

How did you and Timbaland first link up?

After the live stream I had zero expectations. I thought it would just be the most major  co-sign caught on camera and I hoped that it would turn into a collab but you just never really know. He hit me in my DMs and told me he was trying to reach out to me and I was like WHAT?! I gave him my number and we started working. We had a crazy conversation where he’s telling me he played my music for Pharrell in the Louis Vuitton store and they loved it. I thought I was gonna pass out. 

How did it feel performing in your home country at the African Cup Of Nations? 

It was so epic! Everything is just better in Abidjan. My skin looks better, life is sweeter, being around family and my friends. And now we are in the finals!!! Allez les Elephants!!!!

Follow Chrystel On Instagram

Words: Karolina Kramplova