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Photo by Steph Grant

Five Minutes In Heaven: Kristi Jo
by Brianne Turner

After her show at the Blue Cafe in Huntington Beach, California, In It Magazine got to spend five minutes with singer-songwriter, Kristi Jo. We talked about her hopes, dreams, aspirations and, of course, MySpace.

II: Do you usually play shows here in Huntington Beach?
KJ: Not too often, actually. This is the only venue I’ve really played in Huntington but I’m familiar with the Blue Cafe through the Long Beach bar. I play a lot there. They’re really friendly to me but I love Huntington, you know? It’s a nice place.

II: Have you always been a solo artist?
KJ: It goes up and down. Some shows I’ll do solo, some I’ll put a band together. It just depends a lot on the place. Right now I’m doing a lot of acoustic stuff.

II: I got to see you at the Living Room Show hosted by The Hub here in Huntington Beach…
KJ: Oh, cool. Those are all the people that I’m just in awe of. They’re a step above for sure. So I hope to be able to hang with them someday and be able to play shows and do that kind of stuff.

II: How long have you been playing?
KJ: Let’s see, I’ve played guitar for about 12 years and I started singing when I was 16 or so and I just turned 23. I was in bands and I decided I couldn’t really do what I wanted to do with a band. I just kinda wanted to write my own stuff, so I flew solo and I’ve been solo ever since.

II: Have you gotten to branch out from the So. Cal. area yet?
KJ: It’s actually in the works. Between that and recording a CD, I have some San Diego venues that I want to play at, as well as Texas, Colorado, and Seattle. I can just stay [with friends who live there] and hit all the local coffee houses and stuff. I want to branch out, definitely want to get people to the MySpace and check out my music from outside of just Southern California.

II: As a new artist, has MySpace been beneficial for you in creating a fan base?
KJ: Yeah, I’m just starting to kind of put some effort into it. I think– telling people about it and using things like The Hub– I think it could be a great tool, I just need to promote it a little bit more. But, yeah, it definitely is a help with posting shows and that kind of thing.

II: You’re an indie musician, right?
KJ: Yeah. Not signed, no label. I’m out there looking.

II: So you are looking to get signed?
KJ: Definitely. I’m working on taking the next step but it has to be the right fit. I’m working with a manager but mostly just playing shows and trying to write songs. I’d love to do co-writes with people and just get my name out there and then record an actual CD. I’d like a full band.

II: Do you prefer performing live or do you prefer the recording side of things?
KJ: That’s a good question. I don’t know… both. Live, you get a reaction. If it’s a good crowd and people are liking what you’re doing, it’s so much fun. But recording, you have the opportunity to really be more creative, especially if you’re using a band. I think that’s really fun and it’s challenging.

II: Do you have any weird quirks or anything you do before you go on stage?
KJ: No. I kinda psych myself out. I just sit… anywhere, wherever it is– bathroom, whatever– and you just tell yourself, “You’re gonna have a good show. Do your best. Act like this is the last one…” It’s like a little mental pep-talk. It works.

II: Being a new artist and having been able to play shows with some of the more known indie artists like Andy Davis and Ernie Halter, have you received any good advice about recording or touring?
KJ: Ernie Halter mentioned something about writing, which I was really excited about, and that’s just a compliment in itself to have someone like him be interested in writing together. I’m just getting started writing with other people. I’ve always written by myself. That was great, but not so much advice. It just felt good; it was a nice little compliment. He’s on tour right now, but when he gets back, I’m crossing my fingers that that happens.

myspace.com/kristijo, kristijo.com