Create Now: Demystifying the Creative Process with Keri Chryst

In this 5 part mini-series Keri takes us behind the scenes of the creative process.

Watch all 5 parts here


Artist Bio

International performer and educator Keri Chryst currently lives and works in Paris, France — by way of Chicago, Illinois where she studied jazz at Northwestern University (master’s degree, 1998).

Her spunky, authentic “in the pocket” swing & soulful groove, together with an instrumental approach to singing and improvisation, have charmed audiences around the globe and fast earned her a reputation as a musician’s singer.


Artist Q&A

1. Briefly describe your normal studio practice and work as a teaching artist.

Normally I’m preparing the next concert series or performance & teaching tour for either Europe, Africa, or the USA.  Rehearsals, writing, arranging, lesson planning, travel planning, communications… for actual concrete projects.  Interspersed with the occasional l private student who usually comes to my house for lessons.

2. How has sharing your work with students, teachers, and other artists shifted?

Performance-wise, I’ve been relying moreso on nostalgia, rather than developing too many new projects – I’ve been waiting to see how the virus plays out and to get a realistic sense of when “normal activities” can be pursued.  My private student contact has actually been just fine, since we’ve been able to switch to online lessons.  My collective student contact has declined significantly – but I’m glad that certain activities are still translatable to virtual, and continue to be supported by public funds.

Oddly enough, my contact with colleagues (both artists and teachers) has actually improved significantly!  There has been an instinctive pull towards increased solidarity amongst us – and through innovative virtual activities – such as Zoom happy hours and online music collaboration software – I’ve actually been able to stay CLOSER to my colleagues AROUND the WORLD than I normally would in between visits. This has been highly encouraging to me, as I feel I’m developing stronger relationships with my colleagues outside of France that can only create richer partnerships moving forward, both in virtual and in person.

3. If your activities incorporate educational learning standards, whether formal or informal, please discuss them.

Most of what I do can very easily be tied back to NE standards – but I never approach my course development from that angle.  I always simply attack the subject matter head-on with the age level and my own pedagogical goals in mind.

4. Are there follow-up activities beyond the one you are presenting?

This particular program is about experimentation… so the main follow up is to “Rinse, and Repeat” or “Try, try again”.

5. What is your favorite non-art activity that inspires you?

I don’t believe that any of my favorite activities can truly be dissociated from “art”.  Cooking? Sewing? Knitting? Congolese dance?  They are all creative pursuits, n’est-ce pas? 😉

6. List an artist(s) that you look to for inspiration and explain why.

Ella Fitzgerald – hands down.  The epitome of swing;  Prince Rogers Nelson – creativity, innovation, and rhythm incarnate; Duke Ellington, Wynton Marsalis and Marty Paich – for their innovative ensemble writing;

I could go on… but that’s a fair start, and touches on the creme de la creme 😉