By Morgan James
With the energy and drive of a shining star in the making, plus the incredibly engaging talent to support it, Krystofer Do entertains with enthusiastic charisma. Watching him careen about the stage, crooning a captivating melody, one would assume that Do has been performing for years, a consummate professional. Encouraged by his father as a youth to pursue singing, Krystofer began studying Michael Jackson and performing impersonations. Though this skillful artist was heavily influenced by the King of Pop and helped by talented teachers and band mates along his path, Do has evolved into his own confident, individualistic style, emerging polished and enterprising. I spoke with Krystofer Do about the journey of his budding career in music, and with the release of his upcoming EP this month, Krystofer shares his stories and invites readers to join in his accomplishments, engaging first hand in his live performance on Friday, August 18th at The Palm Canyon Roadhouse in Palm Springs at 8pm.
MJ: Where does your love and passion for music come from?
KD: “I’ve always had a love for music, but my first love was actually acting! I loved pretending to be someone else ever since I was a child. My family discovered my singing ability when I was in middle school, about 6th grade. Ever since then, my dad sort of pushed me to sing in public more often, and eventually, I grew to love it!”
MJ: What projects and bands have you been involved in musically in the Coachella Valley?
KD: “I’ve been involved in SO many different projects! I’m not even sure I can list them all. I was in two junior musicals in middle school. In high school, I spent most of my time impersonating Michael Jackson, who’s always been my biggest inspiration when it comes to entertainment. After high school, I got more involved in the community, performing at shows with the McCallum Theatre and also starring twice in a row as the lead role for the Indio Date Festival’s musical pageant. As far as the bands I’ve played in, I could name a few: Kyd Icarus, What The Funk, New Sensations. I’ve even jammed with a few other bands at various shows, whether it was in a backyard or at an open mic. One of my biggest accomplishments was helping raise over $1,000 at the Learning Tree in Bermuda Dunes for student tuition. I was the musical director for S.E.L.M.A. Grows, which was an educational organization for music and arts. That was a really great experience.”
MJ: How have those past experiences led to the accumulation of your current album?
KD: “I’ve learned so much about myself. I didn’t start off as a musician; I was just a singer. I had no idea how to write music formally, but I would always hear it in my head. I ended up writing one of my signature songs, “Mastermind,” completely from scratch without knowing how to ‘write.’ I was just 16. It took more time than I wanted. Now that I’ve gone to school at College of the Desert, I’ve learned from wonderful teachers like Tim Bruneau and Mark Almy about how to write, and most importantly, how to use my voice without damaging it. I play keyboard frequently, now, and it helps me write SO much faster. I’ve met some wonderful people in my musical endeavors, including Paul Cracchiolo, the man who helped produce my EP. I would be nowhere without him. I also met my great friend Anthony Diaz-Quevedo, who agreed to master my EP and my full album when it comes out! That should be some time in Winter. All my experiences have led to this moment. I’ve been talking about making an album since high school, and well, here I am, now!”
MJ: Tell me about a couple of your specific songs and why they are important to you?
KD: “Well, I mentioned “Mastermind” earlier. That song was the first full-length song I ever wrote on my own, and it was frustrating. I had no idea what chords were, what melody was. I just ‘heard’ it in my head. It was a wonderful feeling to ‘finish’ my demo, but it obviously wasn’t complete. I ended up keeping it until I sang with Kyd Icarus. Juan Espino, Sean Poe, and Jordan Jones were my band mates, and they helped me make the song a reality. It was around that time I really started learning how to write music. Juan was a big help. He has incredible musical talent, and honestly, I don’t think I would’ve gone very far without meeting him or any of my other band mates. I love every song I write, but one in particular stands out. It’s called “Missin’ You”. I’m not sure if it’ll be released by the time this will be published, but the song is about my father. He passed away when I was a freshman in high school. It was hard for me. Really hard! My grades suffered and I was never able to be as good of a student as I wanted to be, but I got through it. Now, I hope I’m making him proud. The music in the song is music he would’ve loved to listen to. He loved 80’s dance music, and I added my own little spice to it.”
MJ: What are some highlights in your music career so far?
KD: “I can tell you about the most memorable moment I’ve ever had in my life. I was a senior in high school and decided to audition for the Palm Desert High School chamber singers. I got in. We had a big trip to New York during Spring semester because we were chosen as a part of a large honor choir. We were going to perform at Carnegie Hall! Can you imagine the excitement we all had? Most of us weren’t even 18, yet, and we were going to perform where most of the greatest legends have all performed before! That’s not even the best part. When we got there, rehearsals were life-changing. The choir director, Bradley Holmes, was famous for what he did. He looked at music like it was a giant painting, and every single detail had to be refined to the point of perfection. He taught me just how to treat music, how every little detail should be treated like a baby. Then, when it was time for the show, we sang. We sang like we never sang before in our entire lives (or at least I did), and by the time we were finished with the last piece, the crowd of thousands rose and cheered forever. It was like a dream. I had never felt so happy, so incredibly fulfilled. It was at that moment, I knew I was going to be a musician for the rest of my life. I owe it to Craig Gahnz, my choir teacher. He was a phenomenal man. I hope he’s doing well.”
MJ: You have a unique personal style. Who are some of your favorite performing artists and do they influence your performance? Basically, where do you get those awesome moves!?
KD: “Two words: Michael Jackson. He knew how to entertain, how to dance, how to sing. He was the whole package, and any Pop musician who is anybody will tell you they’ve been influenced by him. It’s impossible not to be. He’s kind of everywhere. I’m not ashamed to say this. I know it’s sort of cliche to be a Pop artist and say you were influenced by Michael Jackson, but I’ll say this: He inspired me to be myself. After years of impersonating him, of studying him, his music helped me gain the confidence to be who I wanted to be. That’s why I loved MJ so much. He wasn’t just a Pop artist, he was a humanitarian. I don’t care what you’ve heard about him, he didn’t molest anybody. He just wasn’t like that. He was the most caring celebrity the world has ever known. It’s a shame he’s gone. As far as other musical influences, I’m in love with Phantogram right now. They’re a great band and you should really check them out. I also enjoy The Weeknd, Muse, Daft Punk, George Michael, Justin Timberlake, and a lesser known band called Little Green Cars. I love so much more, but I won’t bore you with a really long list. You’ll just have to listen to my music and try to hear the influences!”
MJ: Please share some information about the album release show and what fans can expect when they go.
KD: “My show is going to be at the Palm Canyon Roadhouse on August 18th! It starts at 9pm, but I encourage everyone to get there early and grab a drink or two! There’s plenty of food and company to keep you lively for the whole night! I’ve been performing there for years, and they’re the most hospitable group of people I’ve ever met. A wonderful band called Bri Cherry & the Boys are opening the show for me, and that’s an incredible feeling. I’ve never had someone open a show for me. I’ve always thought it would be the other way around, at first. I guess I shouldn’t let that get to my head! There’s going to be Pop, Rock, Soul, R&B, and Bri’s incredible violin playing! Everyone in attendance will also be able to get a free copy of my EP by writing your name down on my guest list!”
MJ: What are some of the next goals that you’d like to accomplish?
KD: “I have a lot of goals for the future, but the most important one right now is to try and get signed by a label. Life is hard when you’re an Indie artist. I’ve barely accumulated 50 or so “likes” on my Facebook page, and it’s been up for a few weeks (speaking of which, you should totally check out facebook.com/krystoferdo). After my EP is done, I’m going to try getting gigs across the valley and sending my EP to every record label I find interesting. It’s the next step in my life and I’m going to be spending a lot of time on it. After that, I just want to be the best damn entertainer I can be. I want to inspire people. I want people to remember me and the experience they have watching me for a really long time.”
MJ: Where can readers listen to your album and buy your music?
KD: “Everyone can listen to my album for free on soundcloud.com/krystoferdo. I’m also making it available for purchase at krystoferdo.bandcamp.com for very cheap. The bottom line is, I’m still a nobody. No one important really knows who I am, yet, and it wouldn’t be fair to share my music for money. Buying it is only supporting me to help get to where I need to be, but everyone always has the choice to listen to it completely for free. Music should be an experience, not an expensive purchase. I would stream it on Spotify, but it costs a little too much money for me to afford it, right now.”
MJ: Anything else you would like to share with our readers?
KD: “I’d just like to say thank you to everyone who’s ever told me I COULDN’T do it. You’ve inspired me to push myself and show the world that anyone is capable of doing anything if they set their mind to it. Life happens, and it’s a cruel world, but there’s always a way to do what you love and be happy doing it. For those who believed in me from the start, I have always appreciated everything you’ve ever done for me. My friends, my family, my coworkers, I am so grateful to have you by my side. It means so much. Thank you, everyone, and I hope I can share beautiful music with you for the rest of my life!”