The Full Story

It all started in California with a tiny pink plastic guitar and a bootlegged version of "The Star Spangled Banner" by Hendrix...

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Childhood

In an interview, Krystal's older sister recalled that the first memory she has of the new baby in the family is Krystal hitting her over the head with a pink plastic toy guitar. One could say Krystal was born to then go on to discover and fall in love with the music of Hendrix, and then to later get hired to tour with Guitar Shorty, the man who Hendrix attributed his flamboyant stage presence to.

 

Born in Long Beach, California to a white mother and black father, Krystal has often attributed her eclectic style to feeling outside of cultural identity norms. 

Teens

As a teen, Krystal began to express interest in learning to play guitar, and started getting lessons from local players. She soon found that the love she had for music as a fan translated into being able to sustain long hours of practice. She soon joined a local Orange County band called "Elements of Confusion", which was a very eclectic mix of rock, rap, and rockabilly. 

From this, she was able to connect with other young musicians and record some of her first songs. As the bands lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist, she was able to use the opportunity to learn how to be an effective front person and how to coordinate playing and singing, a vital skill for a young performer. Krystal recalls "I thought we were horrible, but looking back now at some of the songs, we actually weren't half bad. We were very serious and passionate about what we were doing, and I can respect that now as an adult."

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College

After graduating high school with honors, and being offered full ride scholarships to several universities, Krystal instead took leap in the direction of her heart and chose to attend The Musician's Institute in Hollywood. Intent on going beyond the surface level of understanding that most musicians have, Krystal was determined to become a well rounded and self sufficient vocalist, guitarist, and producer. Putting herself through MI by working full time as a waitress and bartender, she was able to proudly complete her 2 year technical certificate in 2009.

 

Importantly, this not only gave Krystal a deep insight into technicals such as music theory and sightreading, it gave her the ability to always have the safety net of teaching to fall back on and to serve younger generations. In a 2012 interview with Meridian Magazine, Krystal stated that The Musician's Institute "changed [her] life by giving me the a fast forward button on technical ability, and by giving me a lifelong network of peers to lean on in the industry."

Cover Bands

After graduating from The Musician's Institute, Krystal moved to Colorado, where better opportunity to play and tour awaited. Los Angeles is notoriously unforgiving for budding bands and musicians, with the "pay to play" scene the norm. After moving, Krystal was able to expand her skills by making a living playing nightly locally and in surrounding states.

 

Mostly playing blues and top 40, Krystal, then known as Krystal Black, started paving the way for the future with the Krystal Black Trio, backed by blues and classic rock veterans drummer Art Noble and Bassist Ted Young. As the saying goes, it's better to be a medium sized fish in a small pool that a large fish in the ocean, and Colorado proved to be just that. With a lowered cost of living and a plethora of skilled and enthusiastic musicians in the area, Krystal recorded her first album "Guitar/Music/Prism". She was also able to get her first press in local news and magazines. 

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Guitar Shorty

While attending The Musician's Institute, Krystal began frequenting local blues jams as far back as 2005. During that time, she was expanding from being a rhythm guitarist into a passionate lead player and frontwoman. Taking what she was learning in the classroom right to the stages of LA, Krystal made connections that would last a lifetime and give her one opportunity of a lifetime in particular. 

Blues legend Guitar Shorty took notice of the budding guitar slinger and invited her to play a trial show with him after his regular guitarist had to take an indefinite leave from the band. Facing serious competition from some of the world's best veteran blues session musicians, Krystal was able to hold her own and impress Guitar Shorty enough that he hired her as a regular member of the band in 2016. 

Krystal recalls, "Playing with Shorty gave me everything. It gave me the opportunity to be introduced to blues fans all over the world, to be taken seriously and to gain respect from my peers, and it gave me my little footnote in blues history. Shorty was my angel that handed me my childhood dream." 

Pop Production 

Tragicstar, Vol. I was released in 2019. This marked the first album released under the Tragicstar pseudonym, with more content in the works. 

 

According to Krystal, "My intention with Tragicstar is to be able to explore engineering, production, and edgier sounds while still retaining brand continuity in the blues community under Krystal Khali." 

About the album: 

 

Tragicstar: Vol. I, the debut album of veteran producer and session musician Krystal Khali, is a euphorically disorienting mix of masochistic, Weeknd-style pop, slick power ballads, and genre-defining trap metal. Ten years in the making, the payoff is well worth it: the album is like a private carnival ride through the wonderfully salacious mind of a sonically fearless female master of sound.

 

Krystal Khali is like a walking Rubik’s Cube...

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The Red Elvises

After being a fan for many years, Krystal was selected to tour with legendary rockabilly act The Red Elvises. The Red Elvises have been recording and touring for more than 25 years. Founded in Russia, the band grew a massive following after the cult classic film "Six String Samurai" was released in 1998. The Red Elvises have were and still are one of the biggest bands from the surf/ska/rockabilly revival that came about in the 90s with bands such as No Doubt, Sublime, The Stray Cats, and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. 

Red Elvis fans that discovered the band in the 90s are still just as rabid as they ever were, and the scene that started back then is still going strong. The band never stopped touring and releasing albums, and is still touring internationally almost nonstop throughout the year. Being a part of the Red Elvis legacy has been  a career milestone for Krystal, who grew up in Anaheim at just the time that No Doubt, who also hail from Anaheim, were exploding on the rockabilly scene. Krystal attributes much of her love of music to the rockabilly bands who came to prominence during that time, The Red Elvises included. 

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The Heavyweight Champions of Blues 

Krystal is currently in the studio producing what she calls her "Debut debut album", "Krystal Khali and the Heavyweight Champions of the Blues." The album features a cornucopia of legendary musicians and artists from the blues community.

 

The first (as yet unreleased) single, a thumping and modernized version of "Hold On, I'm Coming" by Sam and Dave, features Guitar Shorty on vocals and guitar, as well as herself and Jimmy Vivino. It is truly an ode to her hero and to blues and soul, and makes any of us lucky enough to have previewed it eager to hear more.

-Vinay Goyal

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The Heavyweight Champions of Blues 

Krystal is currently in the studio producing what she calls her "Debut debut album", "Krystal Khali and the Heavyweight Champions of the Blues." The album features a cornucopia of legendary musicians and artists from the blues community.

 

The first (as yet unreleased) single, a thumping and modernized version of "Hold On, I'm Coming" by Sam and Dave, features Guitar Shorty on vocals and guitar, as well as herself and Jimmy Vivino. It is truly an ode to her hero and to blues and soul, and makes any of us lucky enough to have previewed it eager to hear more.

-Vinay Goyal

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Business pursuits

Outside of music, Ms. Khali is deeply committed to forwarding the mission of Spacebourne aeronautics agency. Ms. Khali also sits on the board of The Keep Music in Schools Foundation, an organization dedicated to providing instruments and free music education to students across America.