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Meet Chrissy Ras

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chrissy Ras.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Chrissy. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I’ve played the piano since I was six years old. My mom made me take lessons, and I hated it! All I wanted to do was dance. Fast forward to my late teens and I realized I could receive scholarship money for my first year of college through the Miss America pageant system and University of Southern California talent scholarship for piano.

I still was focused on dancing, and made an early career of it, performing for Disneyland, and branching out into the burgeoning hip hop world. I stepped away from dance and music to start a family in my early 20’s but continued to coach and mentor young dancers and competitive cheerleading squads around Southern California.

Not until my dad passed away in 2008, did I realize that my life was incomplete without music in it. I decided that I wanted to learn how to play the drums and started an all-female band, knowing nothing about playing in a band, managing a band, or finding female musicians. My dissatisfaction with my career and my sense that time was running out outweighed my fear of failure, and I began my project in earnest. I applied basic business and marketing principles from my undergraduate degree in Business Management, and I was on my way!

It took some time to find the right musicians that believed in my startup concept, but once I did, I never looked back. I’ve surrounded myself with the most talented group of female musicians and vocalists in Southern California, and I learn from them every day. I’m constantly practicing and improving my skills just to keep up with the level of talent around me.

My band is celebrating its 10th year of success and I’ve recently launched a major rebranding to freshen up and strengthen my position in the marketplace. My band is Pulp Vixen – Female Fueled Music. We offer unique, upbeat, live entertainment for casinos, fairs, festivals, weddings and corporate events. We are a traveling band, and can be found performing from Seattle to Las Vegas to Southern California and beyond!

My love of teaching and coaching has also prompted me to start a music school that specializes in developing young female (and male) students into professional, working musicians. Together with my partner, Roseann Aldrete, we started CR Music School. We recognized that there were many female music students on our teaching rosters over the years, but few ever made it to the ranks of working musician. We wanted to utilize our experience to change that.

We have already formed and mentored one student band, and currently, have two more in development. Our mission is to share our experience and love for music with the next generation of musicians, and give them away to realize their musical goals, whether it’s to have a positive outlet or become a pro! Our goal in the next year is to find a location for our school and hire more instructors that share our passion for teaching, so we can reach more students with our program, without gouging families with exorbitant lesson rates.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I knew nothing when I began my adventure into becoming a working musician, and have had my share of challenges. Booking agents and venues were cautious about hiring a group of women, and we have had to prove ourselves over and over through the years. Our philosophy is that we work harder than our competition, we treat our customers professionally, and we provide the highest level of quality entertainment. Our current customer base is the result of cultivating relationships over the years and providing solutions for our clients, not more problems!

We’ve been named cover band of the year for 6 years running by Inland Empire Magazine, and we’re booked out months in advance, but I still receive mostly no’s or no response at all when I solicit new venues. I’ve been told outlandish excuses for not being hired….the (old) name of my band was inappropriate, our members are too old, not thin enough, not playing the right music, not family-friendly, not wearing the right outfits…..just about every misogynistic, sexist, ageist reason you can think of has been said to me or my band members.

This career choice is not for the thin-skinned, that’s for sure! None of these challenges scare me away from accomplishing my goals. I focus on the yeses and let the no’s roll off my back. I share this mindset with my peers in the industry, as well. It’s important to support fellow musicians, as we are all fighting the same battles, and I honestly believe there is enough work to go around for everyone.

Teaching and running a music school is incredibly rewarding, but comes with challenges. Parents can get aggressive when it comes to their children, and we’ve had to step away from families that don’t respect our program parameters. We strive for a drama-free zone and don’t have the energy to manage stage moms, eek! 100% of our focus is to help our students be better musicians and learn how to work well in a team environment. We feel these skills will serve them well as they move into early adulthood.

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
My entertainment company, CR Talent Agency, is the umbrella organization that produces my all-female projects:

1. Pulp Vixen – Female Fueled Music

is my bread and butter variety band which specializes in the most memorable music of our lives. You can find us performing every single weekend throughout the year. We are the busiest cover band in the Southern California region. The only way we could be busier is if we franchised the band and had multiple line-ups representing our brand in different metro areas. I’m most proud of the experience that people have when they come to a live show. Everyone leaves our shows feeling empowered to live their best life!

2. Femme Halen – a Tribute to Van Halen Based in southern California, Femme Halen is the hottest all-female tribute to the early years 1978 – 1984 of Van Halen. Femme Halen captures the essence of Van Halen’s legacy as the most entertaining, ground breaking band of the their time. Their hard rock, musical ride includes tracks off Van Halen’s groundbreaking first album, “Van Halen” as well as hits from later albums, spanning David Lee Roth’s flamboyant and popular time with the band

3. Totally Go-Go’s – a Tribute to the Go-Go’s and the decadence of the 80’s

4. CR Acoustic – original music

My music school, CR Music School, is unique in that we not only teach a solid foundation of music theory, technique, note reading and performance, but we also teach young musicians how to set up and operate their own equipment, how to learn songs independently, how to write music, and the nuances of live performances and running sound outside of recitals and showcases. We teach groups how to create promo videos, run sound at shows and book their own gigs.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Listening to records (yes, vinyl) in my room and making up dance choreography to perform for my family and anyone who would watch me!

Contact Info:

  • Website: www.pulpvixenband.com
  • Email: crtalentagency@yahoo.com
  • Instagram: @pulpvixenband
  • Facebook: @crmusicschool
  • Twitter: @pulpvixenband

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2 Comments

  1. Paulla

    September 26, 2019 at 23:12

    Great article. Nice to see women in Music getting some recognition. It’s hard work!! I wish I had some cool women available to help me with music when I was younger. I want these ladies playing my next function!! Girl power! Rock on!

    • Chrissy

      October 1, 2019 at 05:13

      Thank you so much, Paulla! I can help you with music right now. It’s never too late. I have students ranging from 5-75!

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