Q&A with Kristine W

Kristine W has been performing for nearly three decades, topping dance charts for much of her career. The hits keep coming, with her latest single, “Everything That I Got,” burning up dance floors around the country and abroad. The international recording sensation spoke with Get Out! about being named a top dance artist of the decade, about losing her idol and going on tour.

You were just named one of the Top 3 Dance Artists of the Decade by Billboard Magazine. How does an honor like that make you feel?
I was thrilled! I called my mom, and she was really proud of me, and that meant the most. She has seen me struggle so much in the music business, so to get recognized was a great moment for her. She’s quite the cheerleader for my music. She was a working musician for 30 years and received many awards locally in the Northwest, but never nationally or globally. It was my gift for her really.

You’re giving us a new single, “Everything That I Got,” and the boys will love having their Kristine W fix to finish out the summer! What’s the new single about?
Working everything that I got! Got to find a way, I’ve got bills to pay! You know I’m working “Everything That I Got” to “make a dollar give a girl a holla” and everybody say yeah! That sums it up: We are all working harder than we ever have in this very depressed economy, and sometimes all you need is someone to holla at you and say good job, keep going! It’s also about people around you not understanding the commitment you have towards your passion, whatever that may be. Many friendships and relationships end because people don’t support others’ dreams. When times get hard people seem to bail out quicker too, but always seem to come around again when you are successful.  That seems to be a story I have seen played out with friends, gay and straight. My girlfriend who’s a teacher in the public school system … heard the record the other day and said it sounds like working people’s anthem! I loved that! She’s waiting for the ringtone to put on her phone.

Your last album, “The Power of Music,” gave us seven #1 dance singles! What do you think it is about your music that resonates so much with your fans?
I think the songs resonate because they are real stories that happen to real people, so they connect to them. I also try to write or choose songs that are about survival and persistence, because it’s a tough world out there, and people need encouragement. I don’t know where I would be without the love and support of my fans. They have gotten me through many tough times, and periodically even self doubt. Reading their emails and seeing them at the shows is good medicine.

The music industry has changed so much this year, with the dance industry experiencing the profound losses of both Whitney Houston and Donna Summer. How do you think the industry will change without these two talented voices?
Whitney was a super talent that succumbed to the temptations of the business and the world. She will be greatly missed, and it was really sad the way she died. It is too easy to get drugs when you are in show business. I had a mom who was a musician, so I knew not to go there. I have employed dancers and musicians that got hooked on all kinds of stuff during my Vegas show. You try to help them get clean, but many of them choose drugs and excessive booze over their health. It is devastating to watch, but you got to let them go. It’s hard not knowing what will happen to them.

Donna Summer’s death knocked the wind out of me. She is my idol and will always be. I have looked up to her since I was a kid. She was one of a kind, the total package: great singer, beautiful, amazing songwriter, musician, performer. She was a wonderful mother, too, and her kids all turned out to be first-class people. I’m dedicating my new album to her because she was so inspiring in so many ways to so many people. Thankfully, we have both ladies’ music to hang on to.

What’s next for Kristine W?
The new tour is called Kristine W “New & Number Ones,” the same name as the album, and we have done 12 shows so far this season with more coming. The new album is really fun! It has been so fabulous to see people dancing and singing to the new album at the shows. Just wait ‘til you hear the whole record!

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