Meet Entertainer Cristina Rae

Entrepreneur, Singer & America’s Got Talent — Season 15 Contestant

Tennessee native Cristina Rae wowed the judges with Gimme Shelter on America Got Talent Season 15. Her jaw-dropping performance received a standing ovation and a guaranteed placement in the competition. With high praises from all judges, Heidi Klum chose to use her only Golden Buzzer pick on Cristina. The soulful rock-inspired singer continued to captivate the judges and America leading her to become one to beat stated judge Howie Mandel. She ultimately placed 3rd in the season. This mother of one is committed to being a role model for young women. She hopes that they will follow their dreams no matter the obstacle. Before becoming a contestant, Cristina experienced homelessness. But with persistence, Cristina found her way to the Big Apple and, before the pandemic, she entered into the Apollo Theater’s amateur night. She took home 1st place. The news of her winning caught the attention of America Got Talent.

Now if we can, I’d like to go way back for a little while. Where did you grow up? What was it like to grow up in Tennesee?

I was born and raised in Nashville, TN. Nashville is diverse and has its own culture. Tennesse is the landscape of many of my life’s moments. Living here as a child I felt a sense of normalcy. Like most families, we had our struggles however my parents did their best for us to not experience going without. I was able to grow up in a two-parent household until the age of 10. That’s when life changed for me. I began my musical journey and also there was a shift happening around me. I found peace being on the stage a feeling of home. I had the opportunity to perform in the Westside Story and I knew it where I needed to want to be.

What inspired your entrepreneurial journey or event?

If I am honest, pain inspired my journey. I’ve turned a lot of personal issues and trauma into ART!! I came to realize that consistency starts with me. All that I have to offer; my gifts, my voice, my acting skills, dancing, and my heart are elements of my ART inspired by growth through pain.

Tell me about what problem your talent solves?

Where do we start! Life comes with problems. We all have things we have to face. Each different experiences for different purposes. I’ve faced homelessness, loneliness, betrayal, feeling like I’m not wanted. I’ve faced a lot. But it is so worth it. Now that I’ve gotten through them. I can accept them and chuck the deuces and try my best not to look back.

What do you define as a failure?

My definition of failure would be giving up and that is not something that I know too well because I DON’T QUIT!!

What have you felt you have failed at? What might you have done to prevent those failures?

I thought I was failing as a mother because I didn’t believe I was giving my son my best. I was homeless while pregnant then for the first 4 yrs of his life has been a personal journey. However, it taught me to be gentle with myself. I’ve learned that the same way I make it happen for my baby, Jeremiah. Is the same way God, Universe, makes it happen for me.

What kind of impact do you want your music to leave on your listener?

I want my music to always leave an impact of healing. I’m opening myself up to the world in hopes that I’m an example of change. I want people to know there’s a brighter side to every issue. I want my music to be so transparent that they will feel it. I want people to be happy and get the answers they may have been seeing through my music.

What is your why? Why did you start your journey?

My why is and will always be my son and me! I started my journey in entertainment because I felt a sense of loneliness and music brought me comfort. Because I do what I do for the love of music and my son, I’ve come to realize that I’m never alone. My son deserves to see what commitment, being a dreamer, and love looks through me and my efforts. He should never have to choose to survive over Joy. I’m working so hard now so that he doesn’t have to.

What hurdles did you personally face and how did you overcome them?

I faced homelessness which was a true hurdle. I toured through my pregnancy while homeless. That experience showed me how resilient I can be. Every show I would leave to go to my Ford Explorer or a friend’s place and no one knew that my child and I didn’t have a place to go to. I had every reason to give up on him and myself but I knew after being told I’d never have a child, this was my moment to be the best mother possible. Homeless or not. I knew and still know that it will work out. Everything I’ve dreamt of having for my son and myself is achievable. It’s more than just a feeling, and with hard work, I will turn those dreams into reality.

When did you realize entrepreneurship was right for you?

Singing has been my escape, my mood changer, my heeling, and I realized that it was right for me because of these things. Whether I knew the words to a song or not singing has always provided me with a moment of clarity.

Why did you choose entrepreneurship?

I whole heartily believe this career chose me. I tried many times to pray my voice away because I felt it hindered me from establishing friendships and showed who was there for me. But I had to change my way of thinking. I had to develop a thick skin to know that my journey and talents are specific to me.

What advice do you have for entrepreneurs and small business owners who may not be achieving their goals?

Keep going no matter what anyone has to say. No matter how someone else feels about you. Keep going, the payoff will be all worth it.

What would you say is your most driving motivation to keep doing what you to do?

There are so many goals that I’ve yet to achieve. There are so many people I’ve yet to inspire. I’ve had this particular house saved on my web browser since I was 6 months pregnant. It’s a vision of my dream home that I’ve been manifesting as my soon-to-be home.

What are you most excited or passionate about? (In both business and life or both)

I’m excited about learning and loving myself where I am in this life’s moment. I’m learning how to appreciate the now in efforts to better prepare for what’s to come. I'm Passionate about my sons’ life and seeing him grow into this awesome little human. He is an amazing boy that shows me how perfect I am every day. He never changes on me. Even when I’m saying no to a toy. He will be a little sad for the moment but he hugs and kisses me and tells me he loves me right afterward.

What are the goals you most want to accomplish in your business? What are the goals that you hold personally?

I want multiple streams of income. I want to own and invest in properties. The ones I’ve been dreaming of for the past 6 years. I want to start establishing generational wealth for my family. A personal goal is owning a beach house and a touring burlesque show. IT’S GOING TO HAPPEN!!

Did you have any key mentors or people who deeply influenced who you are, what you believe in, and what you’re committed to in your work and life? Tell me about them.

I have my mentor who has been in my life since I was 13 or 14. His name is Dion Jackson. He has always told me I’m going to be in this world and excuse the language but Fuck anyone that doesn’t believe in you. He has never let me sleep on myself. Whenever I’ve brought any idea he’d be ready to help me see them through. Also, my dance professor since 14, Dr. Fields. Has always been in my corner. He’s never let my weight or size be a reason I’m not on stage outshining the rest of the cast. He’s always used my being pleasantly plump as an admiration thing. Not one to be ashamed about. That’s why I’m able to do a nude photoshoot and not budge because I know who I am and also know what I am capable of.

Did you have any life-changing experiences that put you on the path that led you to be doing what you’re doing today? Tell me about them.

Of course!! I’ve had the opportunity of performing with Postmodern Jukebox, which led me to the opportunity to be a part of the burlesque company, Company XIV in Brooklyn, NY. I auditioned and won the Amateur Night contest at The Apollo, TWICE!! This led to me getting the opportunity to be a part of America’s Got Talent and become Heidi Klum’s golden buzzer winner. I placed overall in the top 3 of my season. They’ve all been leading me to something bigger. I’m truly grateful for every moment that has gotten me here.

What’s next for you in your brand? What can readers look forward to from you?

What’s next is my single, “I AM” coming out February 9th, 2022, with more music to come as well. The rest is classified but I plan on breaking news when I’m able to tell it to the world.

Check out her new single I AM and follow her on Instagram

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Chandra Gore

Chandra Gore

Principal Consultant & Publicist for Chandra Gore Consulting. Author, Speaker, Producer, Community Organizer and Festival Founder — Serial Entrepreneur

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