ABOUT KRISTINE W
Named by Billboard Magazine as the #8 Greatest Dance Artist of All Time and the #3 greatest from the Last Decade (trailing only Madonna and Beyoncé), Kristine W has proven herself a lasting talent. Through nearly twenty-ﬁve years in music, she has consistency delivered songs
that touch hearts and souls and compel bodies to ﬁnd the mighty groove out on the dance ﬂoor. In 2018, her latest single, “Stars,” the second single from her soon-to-be-released album, became Kristine’s 17th #1 single, tying her with Mariah Carey for the sixth-most Billboard #1 dance hits and was included on Billboard’s “Best 100 Dance Songs of 2018″! It came in at #25, next to Ariana Grande and U2: https://www.billboard.com/charts/year-end/2018/dance-club-songs.
In addition, Kristine is making waves in the cabaret circuit, starring alongside her longtime friend, the Emmy-Award winning TV personality, style expert, fashion designer and New YorkTimes best-selling author, Carson Kressley. Together, the dynamic duo are touring the USA, presenting lovely evenings of comedy and jazz music classics in a live stage show they’re calling Straight Up with a Twist.
Kristine W has made a career by focusing on the art and profession of being a singer, songwriter and musician. She enjoys a grassroots mutual affection with fans who revere her voice, appreciate how the aspects of life and emotions she sings about echo their own feelings and experiences.
So how did a ranch-raised small-town girl from rural Washington State end up as “the most soulful vocalist in dance music, period,” according to All Music Guide?
Kristine credits Donna Summer for instilling the love of dance into her. “She had that big gorgeous voice,” says Kristine of the late disco music pioneer and superstar. “Her voice sounded almost like gospel to me. It was dance with the big background vocals and the layered harmonies and she also has a jazzy overtone to her voice. She was everything I
would aspire to: Wow, that’s what I want to do. How do I do this?”
Kristine’s mother was also an entertainer. She showed Kristine that a singing career was possible. “Mom did it because my Dad passed away when we were babies and it was a matter of survival. That’s what she got a job doing right away and how she was able to keep food on the table for us,” Kristine explains.
Her maternal grandmother, who helped raise Kristine and her four siblings, was a classical violinist who was struck by lightning – “One of the few people to survive that,” Kristine notes – which threw her arms out of their shoulder sockets. After they were wired back in place, she
could no longer play the violin, so she taught herself how to play the guitar set in her lap. “It just showed me the power of music because she continued to be musical, and ﬁgured out ways to adapt to her situation. She was an amazing woman.”
Kristine’s paternal grandfather was a rancher and competitive horseman. “He was like John Wayne.” Her late father was a rodeo champion and country music singer. “I had a lot of inspirational people around and nurturing me. I was blessed,” she says of her childhood.
From almost the time she could walk Kristine was singing in church, talent contests and local Oprys. The music she heard ranged from the sophisticated jazz her mother sang to hard-core country to the classical warhorses and all between, plus the pop music on the radio. When she
first heard Summer, Kristine saw how all she was learning was also a part of her icon’s training and background. “When you latch onto an artist like that at such a young age and just immerse yourself in their music, you pick up on all of their nuances,” Kristine explains. “She really was a huge inﬂuence on how I approached my music career, including taking opera lessons.”
Kristine learned to play guitar and piano from her grandmother and took up alto saxophone at seven years old to help her with her scat singing and improvisation. She would ride her bike around her hometown of Pasco, WA searching out classic jazz albums at yard and garage
sales. “I studied with jazz coaches and was in all the jazz choirs, church choirs and in R&B groups. Won all the local talent contests and then went to Seattle and Portland and Spokane and beat them all there.”
Ultimately Kristine won the biggest local competition, Miss Washington, and went on to compete for Miss America, winning the opening swimsuit and talent categories (the latter by singing the Gershwin Broadway classic “Summertime”). The scholarship funds she earned enabled her to head out from Pasco to pursue her musical dreams.
“I decided to take my scholarship money and head to Las Vegas,” Kristine explains. “I couldn’t aﬀord UCLA, it was too expensive. I couldn’t drive to New York because my car was too old and beat up. So I thought: I can make it to Vegas and I can aﬀord to go to school there. And I know I can work my way through college performing. And I did. As soon as I arrived here I started getting hired to do everything.”
She was determined to front and lead her own band as her mom had done. “I heard a lot of you can’t do that, you can’t do this, you’re not going to be a female bandleader, it’s not gonna happen, you’re going to have to sing with somebody else’s band. I was like I’m going to sing with other people’s bands until I make enough money to buy my own PA and put together my own band.”
And so she did, leading her group Kristine W and the Sting to prominence in the ﬁercely competitive Vegas market, eventually performing at the Las Vegas Hilton more than any other entertainer, including Elvis. “I won Entertainer of the Year, Best Singer, Best Band, Best Showband,” explains Kristine. “I had 18 employees. I was the most successful female bandleader probably ever as far as showbands go.”
Record labels and production companies constantly courted Kristine with oﬀers to sing every style of popular music imaginable. But her band’s specialty – molding pop and rock hits and classics into propulsive dance numbers – belied her musical aim. “I’m a high energy person,”
she says. “I love the energy of dance music, always have. It’s really joyful and happy. To me dance music is like the energy of life.”
So she took her voice and songs to Europe, where dance music reigns supreme and most of the genre’s cutting edge producers and mixers are found, and recorded her ﬁrst album in London. In 1996, “Feel What You Want,” Kristine’s debut single, made an immediate mark in
the dance clubs, soaring to #1 here and abroad and becoming a dance ﬂoor classic. “One More Try” followed for another #1 dance hit, and a third chart-topper on the album’s title song, “Land of the Living,” secured Kristine’s place as a new dance ﬂoor star. When the album was oﬃcially released in 1997, Kristine’s in-store concert at the Virgin Megastore in Times Square
drew lines of adoring fans around the block.
She signed with RCA Records and followed with more #1 hits on her 2000 album, Stronger like its title tune and “Lovin’ You.” Just as she was establishing her career, Kristine was diagnosed with a particularly aggressive strain of leukemia and given only a 30 percent chance of survival. She was given an experimental stem cell transplant and spent two years ﬁghting the disease while also raising two infant children. Ironically, songs she had written before being struck by the disease like “Land of the Living” and “One More Try” proved almost prophetic as well as motivational as Kristine struggled to overcome the disease. “My music always seems to give me the inspiration to keep fighting for it,” Kristine notes.
When Kristine returned with Fly Again on the pioneering indie dance label, Tommy Boy, in 2003, she racked up three more #1s: the title song, “Save My Soul” and “The Wonder of It All.” Writing the album while hospitalized and recovering, Kristine further distinguished herself as an artist whose songs of struggle and triumph speak to the lives of countless fans as well. After
topping the charts again with her dance remake of the Ashford/Simpson-penned Diana Ross hit “The Boss,” Kristine then debuted as a totally independent and self-managed artist with The Power of Music in 2009. Its seven #1 hits proved Kristine’s enduring appeal as a major dance music artist.
Next up was a longtime singer’s dream project that also fulfilled a promise to her mother: Straight Up with a Twist, a Top 15 two CD jazz chart album, on which she enjoyed three radio hits, including a sensual reworking of her first dance hit, “Feel What You Want” and a jazz rendition of heroine Donna Summers’ disco music landmark, “On The Radio.” Kristine also transformed such rock classics as “Stairway to Heaven” and “Take It to the Limit” into vocal jazz stunners, redid “The Boss” in yet another genre, and closed the set with her impassioned reading of the folk-pop standard “First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.”
Kristine returned to dance with her next album, New & Number Ones, revisiting some of her past hits with new mixes and edits and offering new songs that also topped the charts. The collection featured seven re-worked Kristine W originals, including “I Get Up,” “So Close To
Me,” Glow On,” “Busted,” “and “Through the Fire.” “Land of the Living” (1997) got a Subgroover edit, ‘96’s “One More Try” enjoyed an expansive JRMX mix, and “Lovin’ You” from 2001 was edited by Soul Seekerz. “Love Come Home” opened the album in Subgroover style and closed the set with a Frankie Knuckles Vs. Bitrocka Epic Club Duet. (Love Come Home
went Top 5 on Billboard’s Clubs Songs Chart in 2015 and Top 30 on the UK Club Chart.) The collection was rounded out by covers of Chaka Khan’s “Through the Fire” and Donna Summer’s “Sometimes Like Butterﬂies”; a tribute edit that recalled the golden days of disco.
Her next album, set for release in spring 2019, is guaranteed to continue Kristine’s club music legacy. It will include a global team of top house and EDM producers from Freejak to Hans Mallon (who has worked with Tiesto), %Kespa, Subgroover’s Bob Sandee, Phill Wellz, Mr. Mig, and Dido producer Richard Dekkard. “I love creating the work and seeing people’s reaction to it,” Kristine W concludes. “My voice is a gift and I’m thankful for it. It has deﬁnitely made my life very interesting. I’ve gotten to make a diﬀerence and bring a lot of joy to the world, and that’s really what’s important.”