With more than two decades of solid experience in the entertainment industry under her belt, Crystal Harvey is no stranger to the stage or the hard work it takes to make repeated visits to the spotlight.
Traveling from continent to continent sharing the gifts she honed at the Baltimore School of the Arts (BSA), Charm City’s own international star took a break to sit down with the AFRO and discuss her passions, her struggles, and hopes for the future.
“I’ve been fortunate and I have to thank God,” said Harvey, sitting in an all white number before heading out to the first of several Labor Day cookout appearances around the city.
“It’s a treacherous business but it’s the life of an entertainer- going to sleep one night and waking up in another country,” said Harvey. “You have to work and you have to work hard.”
“Some days you may leave the audition thinking your audition was terrible, but you have to get back up and try it again.”
The singer has made a living performing on state-of-the-art cruise ships and in Disney World stage shows, such as The Lion King, as a production vocalist.
Harvey says even as a young girl she knew she wanted to be a performer, save for a brief time she considered becoming a lawyer. That career ended before it could start when Harvey learned that majority of the action takes place in an office behind stacks of files.
“I think it was the acting part behind it that I liked- not the paperwork,” said Harvey, flashing the smile that has captured audiences from Florida, USA to Holland.
Lucky for her many fans, Harvey decided to follow her true dreams after graduating from BSA, where she says the instructors were tough in preparing her for the brutal but glamorous profession of show business.
After graduating from high school, Harvey decided to take her studies down South to North Carolina, where some of her family is originally from, to attend Greensboro College. It was there that she further refined the skills that have afforded her the longevity she has enjoyed with the stage.
Over the years, Harvey says the battles she has faced have only served to make her stronger, as she is just now learning how to deal with the roadblocks that form when an artist gives in to the “negative chatter,” that can shake self-confidence.
Harvey says some of the biggest fights have been to overcome typecasting and realizing that it’s okay to stick out or be rejected for a part when her look doesn’t fit what is required for the role.
“When you’re in school, you know you have a gift. You know you’re going to go out there, you think you’re talent is going to push you most of the way,” Harvey told the AFRO. “What you find is that sometimes it’s not about talent. Sometimes it’s about size. Sometimes it’s about height. Sometimes it’s about color.”
“For years I tried to blend but I’m finally coming into my own and learning that maybe I’m not meant to blend. That’s not about being a minority- that’s about life.”
Aside from stealing the show in front of the curtain, Harvey has also picked up a love for behind-the scenes work, where she enjoys directing and teaching.
She plans to continue her growth with each audition, whether by tape or in person, as she adds to the resume which already includes work with Holland America, Princess Cruiselines and Carnival.