Kristine W “By My Side”

Engaging the whole world in a conspiracy of love, dance queen extraordinaire Kristine W is dazzling the dance floors this summer with her new hit single “By My Side.” The song is a tribute to all the people who give us unconditional support and friendship, no matter the circumstances. Love in all its forms, precious and fragile and enduring, is the priceless gift that makes our lives worthwhile, invisibly holding us up while demanding no repayment.

From a Miss America contestant to the glamor of being named the the eighth greatest dance artist of all time, the Vegas-based artist began recording in the ‘90s with hits including “Feel What You Want” (#1 on Billboard), “Stars”,  and “Love and Lies”, now tying Mariah Carey for the seventh most number one dance hits. Kristine has also headlined her own show in Las Vegas, winning “Las Vegas Entertainer of the Year”, 

and is officially sanctioned as the entertainer who performed more live shows in the Las Vegas Hilton than any other performer in history, including Elvis Presley.

“By My Side” is destined to stand out as one of the biggest and brightest hits of the season. In an intimate interview, Kristine W shared some deep thoughts and revealed facts about her life and career not well known by the wider world……

So You Have A Brand New Song And It’s So Cool.

Isn’t It Cool? It’s The Greatest. I Finally Captured It. I’ve Been Working On The Dang Song For 20 Years And I Finally Captured It. I Finally Finished The Bridge. I Just Could Never Get The Bridge Right. I’ve Written So Many Bridges For That Song, But It Just Never Seemed Right. It Seemed Too Simple Without A Bridge To Take It Somewhere. I Always Wanted To Do An Old School Donna Summer Percussion Breakdown, Where It’s All Live Percussion. It’s Hard To Get Anybody To Want To Do That Because It Takes A Lot Of Work. Chris Cox Is Like Me. Like I’ve Studied All The Old Producers And The Productions Back In The Day, So I Met My Kindred Spirit There. I Brought My Bongos Over To His Place. We Mic’d Everything. So That Bridge And That Whole Breakdown Is All Live. Methodically Recorded One At A Time. Nobody Does That Anymore. But You Can Hear It. You Can Feel It. This Is A Special Song. It Celebrates Families And People That Stick By Us.

You Have An Album Coming Out. I Don’t Know How Much You Want To Talk About Or How Much You Can Talk About It, But Talk Away. Tell Me About It.

I Kind Of Haven’t Even Put The Titles To Any Of My Songs Out There Or Even The Title Of My Album Out There, Because Last Time I Did It, I Had The Stronger Album. And I Was Talking About It To The Press And Then Britney Had A Song Called “Stronger”. So Now, After That, I Was Like “Ok.” That Was In My Rca Days. I Decided Maybe Talking About The Names Was Not A Good Idea. So I Haven’t Really Talked About It Too Much.

Do You Recall A Moment In Your Life That Changed The Whole Trajectory Of It? 

As Far As Music, Something That Changed Me Was Taking My Lifeguard Money And Jumping On A Plane And Going To Reno. I Was 15 Years Old. I Jumped On A Plane And I Made All That Money Lifeguarding. My Uncle John Used To Travel And Go To Vegas. He Would Go To Gamble And Have Fun. And He Would Leave His Little Magazines With All The Stuff Going On. He Was At The Mgm Grand In Reno. And He Would Tell Us, “This Is What’s Going On. I’m Going To Leave This Here–Check It Out.” And Then I Saw The Talent Show. And I Got It In My Mind That I Wanted To Get On A Plane And Go There And Compete In This Talent Show, Not Thinking That I Wasn’t Old Enough To Go Into Bars. Then My Mom, I Don’t Think She Really Took Me That Seriously. So When I Called Her From The Mgm In Reno And I Said, “Well, I’m Here. I Told You I Was Going To Do This,” She Was Like, “What The Hell? I’m Going To Call The Police.” I Didn’t Tell Anybody What My Age Was. I Was 16 And I Was About 5’11. We Had An 80-Year-Old Lady That Owned A Bridal Shop. She Had Gotten This Red Dress In By Accident And She Didn’t Know What To Do With This Red Dress. So She Told Me If I Wanted To Have It, I Could. And That’s What I Put In My Suitcase And Went With. I Ended Up Winning That Talent Show In Reno Against All These Adults. Singing “Last Dance” By Donna Summer. They Had A Live Band. I Think That Just Changed Everything Because In My Mind, I Was Like, “Oh, I’m Good Enough To Beat All These Adults.” Bottom Line Is I Made The Top Four And I Ended Up Winning It.

What did you get for winning? I’m just curious.

I think you got $100 and a free night in the hotel and maybe breakfast or something like that. It wasn’t that big of a deal, but you could also go to the entertainment director to be considered to perform there sometimes. It gave me a lot of confidence. I had won a lot of local talent shows. I won the state fair. I was the soloist in a jazz band. I think that crazy trip I did changed my path. And on a personal side, I think leukemia changed me. I got leukemia in 2001. I think that changed me greatly. That was a year living at UCLA. Fighting everyday to stay around. Trying something that was new at that time, which is stem cell transplant. You watched a lot of people die and it was horrifying, but also enlightening in that “If I make it out of here, I’m going to do positive things.” Not that I wasn’t already. I mean, I had two babies–a one-and-a-half-year-old and a three-year-old. You fight like you never fought before. You look at things and say, “OK, I’m not really going to sweat the small stuff.” You look at what’s important. I really dedicated myself to making sure that my kids were good people.

Have you had your ultimate stage fantasy yet?

I think this last show I did a couple of weeks ago, opening for Kylie Minogue, was kind of like that. In a way, you’re playing Jones Beach Amphitheater with 12,000 people out there. I think that was probably a dream come true for a lot of performers to be able to have that kind of sound. That kind of lights. That kind of production behind you. The Jumbotron, where your music videos are playing. I was transported. I had a couple of my dancers. Just being there with Deborah Cox, who I’ve done a lot of shows with, and Taylor Dayne. I mean, just being on stage with so many professional females. Just being there with all these female artists bringing their A game, it was just a wonderful moment. It’s a full circle moment for me because the first radio station that I heard my song played on in New York was KTU. My song “One More Try”. I wrote a song about it and it’s called “Song Lives On”. It’s just one day in New York that I will never forget.

That was actually one of my questions to you: What did you think the first time you ever heard yourself on the radio?

I was in Bob Jamieson’s office, waiting for him to come. My song was playing throughout RCA Records and “One More Try” was playing, and I just lost it. And he walked in and asked if I was all right. And I said, “That’s my song!” I don’t even think he realized it was my song. He had so many artists and so many things going on at that time, I don’t even think he realized it. So anyway, it was a full circle moment getting to perform in that KTU lineup.

If you could have me ask you any question on the planet, what would it be?

Boy, that’s tough. I think people don’t really ask me about my love of horses because they don’t really know that I do that. People don’t even know I have this whole other thing going on. It helps me finance my music. I have my own independent label. I’m not with a label. So I have to be creative in financing the promotion of the records and paying the producers and the remixes and all that stuff. The shows only pay for so much of it, so I got creative during covid. I knew I had to do something else to get income going. So I basically turned my place into a horse hotel. And now I kind of host a lot of the cowboys in the national finals of the rodeo.

So you ride, I assume?

Yes, I do. My grandpa raised and trained quarter horses. He was a farmer–all of my family is. I even still have a little bit of land that I raised sweet onions on.

I understand you have a day named after you in Vegas?

I do. I have Kristine W Day because I performed more shows than Elvis. Actually, I think I performed more shows than anybody else that played that main showroom, except for now, I think, Barry Manilow has stepped in. You have to put it in perspective that when I first started there, like 1990, the headliners did one show a night. I was in the Tina Turner room, which is a small room with like 250 seats. We did four 45 minute shows a night. So you accumulate a lot more shows than you do being a resident there. My hips are feeling it now. I was jumping around and dancing for a long time.

Is there anything that you want to add that we haven’t discussed?

Just tell everybody to appreciate those that support them. That are around them, that support their dreams and visions. Because those people are so critical in helping you, even if they can’t finance it. Their support keeps driving you forward. That is what “By My Side” is about. I’m really proud of this album because the songs are heartfelt. “So Much Love, So Little Time To Give To You”, that’s one of the titles. Another one is “I Hope Your Heart Found a Home”.

Eileen Shapiro

Best selling author of "The Star Trek Medical Reference Manual", and feature celebrity correspondent for Get Out Magazine, Louder Than War, and Huffington Post contributor, I've interviewed artists from Adam Ant, Cyndi Lauper, and Annie Lennox to Jennifer Hudson, Rick Springfield, LeAnn Rimes, and thousands in between. My interviews challenge the threat of imagination....

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