It's 1997 and I’m sitting in a booster seat in dad’s backseat, “duh duh nah nah nah nuh nuh nuh, lets go girls,” the most incredible sound’s filling my ears. I look hard at the hundreds of tiny holes as the sound colored the entire space, and think to myself, “Please oh please oh pleeeease I want to be on the other side of that speaker someday.” When I got home I sat my parents down to tell them, confident as only a 7 year old can be, “Mom and dad, you know when you just know something?" I knew I had to sing.
It’s 2003 and I’ve somehow managed to drag my parents all the way to New York City with me so that I can keep up with the auditions my talent-scout agent, who found me at summer camp, kept setting up for me. By this point I had blown it on what seemed to be about 63 other auditions, but I knew minus the red hair, this role was made for me. Mom and dad dropped me off and I smiled the entire elevator ride up to my audition. There were 700 girls, and 699 mothers crowded in the halls of this New York City rehearsal space. All I can remember amidst the chaos (other than sharing my goldfish with a girl named Bianca), is quietly sitting with my eyes closed dreaming of myself singing Tomorrow to the spotlight, in my red curly wig.
I jumped up and down in my miss matched socks on the sofa when we got the call... I made it. I would be performing as Annie on Broadway in New York City.
It’s 2011 I’m finally able to graduate high school early. After the whole New York experience my parents were pretty set on me having a middle school and high school experience. At this point this “experience” had had me feeling like a fish out of water, and I was so ready to dive back in. Long story short, I somehow figured out how to transfer to the arts magnet school and snag a scholarship with Young Arts to keep me afloat for at least a couple months.
I spent two years in Nashville, a year on the road, and I’ve been in LA for about 3.. I’ve met some amazing people. I LOVE Mikey Piff, Kid Kelly, and Ryan Sampson over at Hits 1, I’ll never forget chasing Mikey down for a year and a half until I finally snagged him down to sit with me for an hour. I played him my little work tape and he told me if I could get his favorite song recorded, he would consider supporting it... and he did. I got to open for my favorite boy band (One Direction) of all time thanks to Beata over at Kiss FM LA. Radio Disney has been family. My song made it #1 on their station and I'm still pinching myself about it. Steve Serrano still makes the most mentions in my journal in 2013 thanks to being the first person to EVER play me on the radio. I literally had the greatest time dancing to “Classic” every single night after my set opening for MKTO on tour. I had to pull my car over the day my big Billboard feature came out. I mean come on... Billboard?!? I’ve been highlighting and annotating Billboard for years!.. and obviously my vision board has my face taped to a cover. My 10 year old brother and 7 year old sister hold the record for coolest kids at school every time they get to show and tell in the show and tell their big sister in a J14, Twist, Girls Life, or Tiger Beat magazine. I’ve got friends in every city I go, and it’s been so fun getting to know the incredible people on the other side of that radio. I’ve been able to do this without signing a thing so far only because I haven’t had to do it myself. I have some of the most supportive and loyal friends, and fans I call family that anyone could ever have.
Abraham Lincoln once said, “I am the man I am today because long ago someone believed in me and I just never had the heart to let him down.” Over time I’ve come to realize that I just don’t have the heart to let that little 7 year old self down. I don’t work with an industry, I work each day with other passionate young boys and girls all over the world. Crystal is not who I am, it’s what we do, together. It’s an art project we're all a part of. We paint, we dance, we act, we sing, we write, we play, we express ourselves in every art form, healing ourselves and others from the inside out.
My mother gave me the middle name, Crystal, to remind me of beauty as it’s in its purest form. As Crystal, I go back to purity, to sincerity, to confidence in my authenticity. Now and forever, art is love, made out of out of light… We can’t wait to see the whole world sparkle.
Here goes & thanks for reading :)
Tiffany Crystal Houghton