We have another great spotlight today, our first feature of 2016! As always, if you or your client is interested in being featured, please visit our Features/Submissions page for more info!
Today, we have singer/songwriter, actress, AND model, Kristinia DeBarge! The star opened up to us about her start in music as a part of the famous DeBarge clan, her own aspirations for her career, and her new upcoming show on weTV, Growing Up Hip Hop!
Growing up as a part of the famous DeBarge family R&B lineage, Kristinia noted that there is "never a dull moment" with her family. "My family, they're not only talented, but they're very funny, awesome great human beings," she said. Having that strong background in music, Kristinia knew that she wanted to sing at the young age of 3, and began taking her craft seriously at 12. "I kind of hid it from my dad [James DeBarge]," she laughed, not telling him that she had that talent and passion for singing until that time. "He was like, 'Oh my gosh! All right, let's get you in the studio!'" They stayed up until 4:30 in the morning writing and recording the song, and Kristinia was committed to the process even at that age. "He was kind of testing me to see how bad I really wanted to do it," she stated. Clearly she proved herself!
After meeting Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds at 14 and spending years after developing her voice and writing skills, Kristinia signed a record deal with Sodapop/Island Def Jam at 19! She dropped her debut album, Exposed, in 2009, which debuted at number 23 on Billboard's Top 200. The project spawned successful singles like "Goodbye," "Sabotage," and "Future Love (Remix)" feat. Pitbull and received rave reviews from critics and listeners alike! Kristinia then went on to open for Britney Spears' 2009 The Circus World Tour, snagged a partnership with clothing retailer Wet Seal, and received several award nominations for her work!
After releasing some new music here and there over the past few years, Kristinia is actually putting out an EP on January 7, entitled Thinkin' Out Loud! She also plans to drop a mixtape on her birthday, March 8! "I'm excited to show everybody my new sound!" Kristinia said enthusiastically. Some of the music, like the track "Church"below, has been previously released, but she also has a few new tracks for listeners to check out as well! "Church," a track that I personally gravitated to, is a song that speaks of Kristinia's own experiences with her career thus far. "People probably think I'm talking about a [romantic] relationship, but it's really my relationship with the music industry," she admitted. "It's been a lot of ups and downs, a lot of people telling me 'no," and a lot of pressure, so that's really what I'm talking about." The song shows a relentless Kristinia determined to come out on top regardless of what happens!
The same day of the EP release, weTV will air its new show, Growing Up Hip Hop, which features Kristinia, Romeo Miller, Angela Simmons, Damon "Boogie Dash" Jr., TJ Mizell, and Egypt Criss. All of them are the sons and daughters of hip hop legends, looking to make their own way! "It's a very vulnerable, emotional story that I tell," the artist admitted of the show. "You'll definitely see me open up about the DeBarge side of my family, and my music." Check out a sneak peak for the show below!
In addition to her music and the show, Kristinia is working on new acting ventures for the new year! She made her acting debut in Christmas in Compton (2012), which starred Keith David, Omar Gooding, Eric Roberts, and Sheryl Lee Ralph, and has starred in other films including School Dance and The Mint. However, she's more committed to her music right now. "I kind of promised myself that I was going to focus more on my music than ever right now," she stated. "I just really want to get back out there again. I want people to see that I haven't gone away, and that I am dedicated to it. It's my first love!"
Kristinia believes that listeners will reconnect with her and her music because she is relatable, admitting that she is a normal 25-year-old that enjoys life, and that has gone through some of the same things as other people. She uses her life experiences in her music, letting people into the good, bad, and ugly scenes she's gone through. "I think sometimes people misconstrue because I've done a lot of great things already in my career," she said. "They don't realize that I've struggled in a lot of different areas in my life." Kristinia's dealt with issues within her family concerning drugs and financial problems, but she's been able to bounce back! "I've become a better person because of it, and I was humbled because of that," the singer stated. "People can relate to that, and people aren't going to [think] 'Oh, things were handed to her because of her last name [or] because she had this much amount of success.'"
In the future, Kristinia, of course, she wants to be successful in music and film-- win awards, tour, have movies out, and create a bunch of great albums. However there's so much more she would like to do beyond just music. She's developing a makeup line, which she hopes to see in Sephora, Target, and other retailers down the road. The singer also opened up about her desire to start an anti-bullying foundation to help and inspire kids that are being bullied themselves, and put a stop to it. "I was bullied as a little girl, and so it's something that is really close to my heart," she admitted. The artist would like to see proceeds go back into the arts programs at various schools, since many schools are lacking supplies, instruments, teachers, and money in general in the arts. Kristinia is also working with her boyfriend to develop a water company to assist third world countries to provide them with clean water. "I just want to help people and be able to inspire others," Kristinia admitted.
Not only is Kristinia talented, but she seemed like a sweet, giving spirit from my interview with her! We wish her well!
You can watch Kristinia on Growing Up Hip Hop, which premieres on January 7 on weTV at 10 p.m ET. You can also check out more from her on her official website, SoundCloud, and YouTube. Be sure to connect with her on Facebook,Twitter, and Instagram as well!