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Meet Christian Crawford

Today we’d like to introduce you to Christian Crawford.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Christian. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I was born and raised in Savannah, GA in 97′. Growing up was pretty interesting to say the least haha. My mom was a single parent, I was born into a family of ministers, and I had absolutely no interest to being a full-time musician. I just wanted to draw anime lol. I started playing bass in church when I was nine because I hated singing in the church choir and everyone in the church noticed I was pretty gifted at it for a 9-year-old lol. My plan was to be a visual artist, go to SCAD for animation or graphic design, play bass on the weekend to make some extra dough, and be something I guess. Then something switched my junior year of high school. I just didn’t want to do art anymore. Granted over those years, both of my talents had grown. I was at the time accepted into a top performing arts school in the state, Savannah Arts Academy, as a visual arts major where I was poised to get into my dream college of SCAD. Up until that time I was living a double life, I’d gig at night around the city and be a student doing art during the day.

Over the years, I had gotten better at bass, taught myself music theory, learned jazz guitar, and got a reputation around school for being able to play all the rhythm section instruments in the band rooms without any formal training like the other kids had gotten. When I switched majors, something no one did that late in the game, everyone was shocked because I did it. I had learned how to play upright bass and read music fluently in a month, then becoming runner up for all-state jazz on upright bass, making me second in the state for high school students on that instrument. Once it was time for college, I was lost as could be, then someone told me they thought I was good enough to go to Berklee College of Music. I didn’t believe them, to be honest, but I auditioned anyway. To my surprise, I received a President Scholarship to the school. This scholarship is only rewarded to seven students throughout the world a year. At Berklee, I had played for multiple artists ranging in different styles. I played for visiting artists like Robert Glasper, Micki Miller, Justin Timberlake and I worked under Tia Fuller, Neal Smith, and even taking private lessons from Brian McKnight’s musical director, Christopher Loftlin.

Also while there, I became a first call studio and live show bassist for many of the artists at the school. Also, while at the same time being a musical director, producer, and bassist for multiple shows throughout campus and the Boston area. I graduated from Berklee last year with a degree in Contemporary Writing and Production and now reside in Los Angeles, CA. I’m still new to the area but work come consistently considering I’m new to the area. Most recently, I’ve gotten to play for one of my favorite artists Joyce Wrice, go in the studio with Dreamville, Floyd Fuji, and multiple producers. LA really is an overnight city, I’m glad to have gotten the opportunities I have in such a short amount of time. However, I’m available for sessions, gigs, tours, and live-show programming. Most of all, I’m just happy to be of service lol.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The road hasn’t always been easy. Being born into a single parent household with a caring mother and being talented already brings in this question of where the resources are going to come from to help nurture said child. I’m thankful that my mother was willing to make sacrifices for me to be able to grow into the person I am today, even with my father not being present. Besides that growing up, mental health is definitely something I’ve always had to struggles with. As a black man in America, we go through issues of having our self-worth closely attached to our status, usefulness, or even our paycheck. On top of that, me being a black musician amplified that due to musician culture putting so much emphasis on one’s worth being based on their resume, current gig, social media presence, being born into a legacy, or city they grew up in. All these things, I just didn’t have. To be blunt, It causes me to look down on myself and what I do. I remember being told that my chances of going to college for bass were zero when I was in high school by my band director at the time. I remember being called white because I liked metal and folk music. I remember not being able to relate to my peers because I don’t have an accent when I spoke and enjoyed the arts rather than sports. I even remember All these things still haunt me today and I still deal with them. I’ve cried many nights dealing with these pressures to succeed or connect with people in general. I implore that anyone else who does struggle in any way to seek help. It took me a long time to.

Can you give our readers some background on your music?
I am a freelance bassist specializing in anything low-end related. I play electric bass, keybass, and upright bass. I can read music and play by ear so I am extremely versatile in whatever live recording or live show situation can be thrown at me. Also while at Berklee, I picked up some other skills like writing for different ensembles, arranging, and producing. I can program for live shows and help shape/prepare an artist for an incredible performance as a musical director. What I’m most proud of is that I’m fluent in multiple styles of music from Hip-Hop to Heavy Metal and all American styles. What sets me apart is that no matter what I will get the job done in the highest of quality possible. I feel as though this is something Berklee prepared me for by requiring that I be in so many projects with different hats on constantly and do each of them to a high degree of excellence. For someone like me to be so young, I can say that I’m truly ready for whatever needs to be done.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
First gotta shout out God. I feel as though I’ve had a lot of favor in my life and I’m truly thankful for it. Also, my mother, Kendra Crawford, has always been a real help in my life supporting me through every success and failure. Praying for me before I knew what prayer was. I’ve had many mentors in my life. My Uncle Mista was the person who convinced my mother to get me a bass and mentored me trying to learn the instrument even though he was a drummer. Glen Williams gave me my first five string bass, saying I had outgrown my starter bass. Jon Willis for teaching me my modes and being my first introduction into understanding music theory. Robert Gould was the person who told me that I could go to Berklee and helped me through that process once I got there. Mitch Hennes gave me an upright bass and book to teach me how to read in a month what would have taken some years. Micheal Nestor for believing I had what it took to be a world-class musician when I was in high school. Christoper Loftlin for still pushing me and being honest with me even though I had no idea what I was going to do in college at first. My best friend, Paul Johnson, for being my friend and inspiration. I’ve always been surrounded by mentors and over time, they’ve become like family.

Pricing:

  • Arrangements – $50 per song
  • Performing (Bass/Guitar) – Minimum $200 per show $25 per rehearsal
  • Lessons (Electric Bass/Electric Guitar/Theory) $25/Hr
  • Musical Directing/Programming – Minimum $350 per show $25 per rehearsal
  •  Remote Recording – $50 per song

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