Part badass, part broken, and all passionate, Chonna Cristelle is an indie-soul with a rock-and-roll edge.
Being from JustAboutEverywhere, Texas the newcomer went big with her first release. This initial project was a huge, daunting undertaking, and Chonna found herself scared and confused by her own lyrics. But it was a time of transition, of healing and self-discovery, and when the words made it out into the world, it began to change everything for her.
She is taking to American Songwriter — in her own words — to explain what went into the EP.
“When asked to talk about my music, I am often at a loss for words,” she said. “My songs say things that I can not verbalize in real life. In Song World lyrics float out with less judgement, less criticism.”
Ink Blot, my first single, is a song about depression. Yet, not a soul that knows me, understands or sees the internal sadness I often face. It’s not that I attempt to hide the truth, but it’s a truth that only my internal dialogue knows. I was raised in a world where my feelings weren’t validated, therefore they were suffocated. When you’re taught to go through life not breathing, you just don’t breathe. Music has allowed me to take a deep breath of fresh air and sing from the heart.
My second single, Leave Letter, represents so much pull from within. Should I stay or should I go? What am I running from and why? During this time I was doubting many parts of my life. In the past when I wanted a fresh start I just got up and left. As I matured, I started to realize that leaving isn’t always the right answer. I wanted something new, something exciting. I didn’t fully understand that my own happiness came from within. I still struggle with that. At least now I don’t run from the constants and find peace in contentment.
Huff spilled out of me at 3am on a sleepless night. When I am struggling with sleep, writing helps put my bad dreams on paper. The sad part is, usually bad dreams are the truth that your subconscious hides from you. I knew I experienced things too mature for my years, but like many, I thought I had escaped my past unscathed. Little did I know my inner child was screaming for release. She poured her heart out in Huff. A sad reality that turned into beautiful art.
“Do It Again”
Psilocybin, or what the masses recognize as Mushrooms, was on my bucket list as something I always wanted to try. Luckily, the opportunity never presented itself in a recreational way. Subconsciously, I feared that I would like psychedelics a little too much and want to do it again. That’s how my 4th single was born. Do It Again is a fun dance song, yet a scary reality of what I thought addiction might feel like. Sometimes you love something so much you just can’t quit. You want to do it again, and again, and again.
“Leave Letter (Stripped)”
To wrap up my 5 song EP I wanted a softer, sweeter version of my single, Leave Letter. Leave Letter (Stripped) is just that. I was breaking up with the life I had in search of more. Many of my songs are about sadness because when I am experiencing grief I turn to poetry to console myself. The music video for Leave Letter (Stripped) aims to show my songwriting process.
Thanks so much for listening to my EP, inkBlot.
The overall theme resonates with mental health. To trust oneself is sometimes the hardest thing in the world. The social norms and white picket fence leave many of us feeling as though we are making mistakes. I personally thrive when I go against the grain. I love losing myself and then finding myself all over again. “The greatest form of expression is the art that we create. How could you not know by the songs that I wrote that I was unhappy?” -Chonna