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Got Ink? An Interview With Songwriter and Two-Time Grammy Nominee Cri$tyle

New year, new segment. As part of our commitment to always bring you stories, articles, and inspirational thoughts that help you lead a happy and positive life, we will occasionally be posting interviews from people who have persevered in the face of adversity and lead extraordinary lives. Today's interview is about Cristyle Johnson.

Cristyle Johnson or sometimes credited as Cri$tyle is an amazing female producer, artist, and songwriter signed with So So Def/EMI Music. She was born and raised in Decatur , Georgia and wrote her first song at the age of ten. Cristyle received  this year two 2011 Grammy nominations for  Rihanna's "Only Girl"( Best dance record) and Monica's "Love All Over Me" (Best RnB album). Both records were #1 on the charts in 2010. In addition to writing those songs, she also has written #1 records on Mariah Carey and Natasha Bedingfield!  As if that isn't enough, she's written songs for Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez , Brandy, Janet Jackson, Jennifer Hudson, Mary J Blige and many more.

Q: Why do people refer to you as “The Ink”?

Its actually a name I came up with because another talented writer Sean Garret was the "pen" so I always thought that was cool to give yourself an alias . :-)

Q: How does it feel to be nominated for two Grammys?

Incredible! I always recorded the Grammy awards as a kind and I remember watching Lauryn Hill win 5 in 1 night, and I just remember her acceptance speech was so real,and heartfelt. I use to practice in the mirror what I would say if I won lol.

Q: The music industry sees you as a lyrical genius since you are responsible for creating multi-platinum selling records.  Does the pressure to perform to such high standards scare you?

Nah, because people opinions last bout as long as a song today they may think 1 thing about me and tomorrow its different. I've been singing and performing my whole life, so whenever I feel pressured,I just go back to the basics...this is who I am and what I love...I couldn't change it if I wanted to!

Q:  Tell us about the inspiration behind your new single “Pinch Me Now".

Well, Pinch Me Now was a concept I got while watching Alice in Wonderland lol. There was a scene in the movie where Alice was having bad dreams and her dad told her to pinch herself to wake up. So I thought, what if its a good dream but u know you're  gonna eventually wake up? Like in love sometimes, its great in the beginning but at some point it all goes wrong, so I figured most people would rather wake up before the Heartbreak...and thus u have Pinch me now! Lol

Q: What has been the hardest part in getting your music out there?

Playing the political "name game". In this industry, a name will sometimes override pure talent. So that was probably one of the hardest things to get over. And also just my own fears and self doubts.

Q: When writing your songs, is there a particular process you undertake?

Nope! Sometimes I wish there were some kinda "hit button" I could press that could guarantee me a great song everytime. But then again, I like walking into a studio, and pulling something outta myself that I didn't even know I had...its untamed,uncontrolled creativity in its purest form!

Q: What was it like to collaborate with international artists such as Beyonce, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Brandy, Janet Jackson, and Jennifer Lopez?

It was amazing just to be in the presence of such strong women in this industry! And of course, as a fan of all of was a dream come true!

Q: You are a spokesperson for the Georgia Coalition of Domestic Violence. Why did you decided to partner with this organization?

I believe in what they stand for. Helping victims of domestic violence, not alienating or blaming them. I think people need to know how to support the  victims. I know first hand how domestic violence can destroy families.

Q: Music Classes are being eliminated from many Atlanta schools. What are your thoughts about it?

I'm extremely hurt and disturbed by it!!!! I mean, I don't know what kinda trouble  I would have gotten into had it not been for chorus and band. Music isn't a "hobby" its a universal language,and to take that away is like taking the color out of a rainbow!

Q: What keeps you balanced?

God! Lol I pray often and he's blessed me with a wonderful husband and mother and sister who all keep me grounded!

Q: What brings you happiness in you life?

Sacrificing myself for the needs of others! Just being able to help the helpless in any way I can! :-)

Q: What are some of your future plans?

Wow, my plans change daily lol, I'm always adding to my goals..but I plan to explore different types of entertainment. 1 of my biggest goals is to build a homeless facility that not only gives people a place to stay, but helps them rebuild their lives!

Q: How do you want people to remember you?

I would like to be remembered as someone who used the gifts they were given to change the lives of others..not just my own!

"Greatness isnt the destination...its the journey"

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