R & B Singer Cruna debuts with A Hustla’z Love Story
Shelia Goss: Did you always know you wanted to be a singer?
Cruna: I started off in the church. I started up my own group and got attention. I ended up in prison. I hooked up with my homeboy jazz—my best friend in the world and we put out an independent project, which has the same title as my forthcoming album.
Rap cats love my music. Before getting with Warner Bros, I turned down Nelly, Irv Gotti and Def Jam.
Shelia: Are you through recording the CD?
Cruna: Yes, I’m done recording.
Shelia: Who chose the songs for your CD?
Cruna: I wrote 98 percent of the record. I felt like nobody could say what I wanted to say on this record, but me. I’m a true R & B artist. No faking. No shucking. 100 percent R & B is what I’m bringing to the table. Keeping it going like the legends and icons laid out before me. Like Smokey Robinson and, Bobby Womack.
I’m trying to bring you a reality. “Take Me a Higher” is a great song. It’s defending all relationships. The second single, “Excited,” is a praise to women. It’s about how a woman really treats their man when she’s in love with him. The special things they do.
I sing from the female prospective. I really study you guys---looks just don’t mean so much. What’s on the inside really matters.
Out of 13 songs, I didn’t say the words, “I love you” not one time. Those words are said in vain, so I wanted to “show you why I love you” instead of “saying why I love you.”
With my songs, I want to give you reality.
Shelia: You come from Gospel roots. How does your family feel about your music success?
Cruna: My whole family is gospel. Some say I should still be singing for the Lord.Had a group—The Gospel True Notes.
Others see it as God gave me this gift. I should sing as long as I believe in what I sing and my heart is pure. That’s why I wrote this record the way I wrote it. I didn’t want to sell any dreams.
Shelia: What other ways has your life changed since embarking on a full-time music career?
Cruna: The biggest change was not hustling. Because before I was Cruna the R & B Hustla I was grinding and grinding good. Another major change was being broke and letting somebody else take care of me. It was kind of tough. It didn’t feel good, but I did what I had to do to get me where I am now.
Shelia: What advice would you give other aspiring singers?
Cruna: Know your art—if you know the art, you’ll give a good product. I’ve read every song Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, Barry Gordy and Barry White has written.
If you get a deal, don’t depend on the record company to do all the selling. You have to sell your product. Really know what you’re doing before you get in it. I’m a business man first.
Shelia: What other projects have you worked on?
Cruna: I had two songs on the Never Die Alone soundtrack. I did the opening song for the movie The Cookout.
The YWCA adopted a song that’s on my album—“It’s Okay” for a single parent’s initiative. It’s the only song I didn’t write on the album, but it fit the album so well that I had to sing it.
I wrote the second single for Sharissa, “I Got Love.” Most of the songs I write, I don’t hear my voice through. I love writing for females. I really want to say things that’ll hurt a guy’s feelings so it’ll make them straighten up. My mom taught me everything I need to know about women. I want to know what females like. You guys are what persuade us to buy records.
Shelia: Is there anything else you would like to say to the readers?
Cruna: I want people to know that love is not just a four letter word, but a feeling. I want them to know that we men might not know what to say or how to say it, so I’m here for the guys to speak for them.
My website is www.cruna.com. Email me. I do write back.
Look for A Hustla'z Love Story in stores this fall.
Interview by Shelia M Goss, a freelance writer and the Essence Magazine Bestselling author of My Invisible Husband and Roses are Thorns, Violets are True. Her website is www.sheliagoss.com.
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