Location: San Jose, CA
Urban Steez: Tell everybody your name and what area you represent?
Hi. My name is Tracy Cruz and I represent San Jose, CA. I also represent my birthplace: Quezon City (located on the island of Luzon in the Philippines).
Urban Steez: How long have you been doing music and what made you get into music?
Tracy: I've been singing since I was 2 years old and performing since I was 12. My love for music began during my childhood years. I always saw my grandmother and mother singing wherever they went. They both looked happy so I wanted to sing too! Also, my grandfathers would always encourage me to sing to them. Singing to my family made me realize how music can move people in a positive way. I wanted to become a part of that movement and bring joy to people's lives.
Urban Steez: How would you describe your style and why? And what do you feel you can bring to the table as an artist?
Tracy: I would describe my style as Soul coalesced with Hip Hop, Jazz, R&B, symphonic, and electronic sounds. I like to combine memorable melodies and harmonies with meaningful lyrics. I feel that I can bring a unique sound to the table with my poetic and heartfelt lyrics, emotional vocal style, and eclectic musical arrangements.
Urban Steez: What do you feel has been your greatest experience thus far as a music artist and why?
Tracy: I feel truly blessed to have had Ledisi as one of my vocal coaches. In 2002, she gave me the opportunity to share the stage with her at Cafe Du Nord in San Francisco. I was completely in awe of her incredible vocal abilities and energetic stage presences. She taught me how to be an expressive singer. She definitely inspired me to write my own songs.
Urban Steez: Its funny you said that, because vocally you two have similarities. What do you feel is the biggest challenge you face being an artist?
Tracy: The biggest challenge I feel I face as an artist is having to do "everything" on the business side. My husband Allen, who is also my manager and producer, and I have to do everything-promotions, booking shows, designing and updating my websites, managing a newsletter, and so forth. We are also parents of two toddlers so handling all of the music business projects on our own can be extremely overwhelming at times. However, music is what we love to do so we continue to stay focused on our goals with persistence, patience and dedication.
Urban Steez: Hard work pays off, ESPECIALLY when you have such an amazing talent. Who would you want to collaborate with in the music industry and why?
Tracy: I would absolutely love to collaborate with Jill Scott and Ledisi. They are my favorite vocalists/performers. It would also be an honor to collaborate with Quincy Jones or Stevie Wonder. I believe they are two of the greatest music producers/songwriters of all time. Lastly, I would love to collaborate with Diane Warren-she has written several of my favorite songs.
Urban Steez: I think you would fit well in that line up. So how do you feel you rank against top music talents today? And why?
Tracy: I don't feel I need to compete with other music talents. I sing because I want to share my love for music. I create songs so I can inspire or change people's lives. I also love to support other music artists through encouraging words, buying their CDs or attending their shows.
Urban Steez: Good answer. What are you working on now and when can fans expect to hear more from you?
Tracy: I'm currently working on a remix CD for my new album "Universoul Symphony". I'm giving DJs & music producers the opportunity to remix my songs. The deadline for this project is October 1. For more info, please go to: http://www.tracycruz.com/Tracy_Cruz/djpro.html
Urban Steez: Be sure to keep us updated on that. If music never existed what do you think you would be doing?
Tracy: I would be a chef because I love cooking and eating good food. :)
Urban Steez: Give readers one tip about pursuing their dreams?
Tracy: I would say to keep honing your craft. Spend a lot of time studying, preparing, practicing, and perfecting. Don't settle in just being good, when you can be great!
Urban Steez: Good stuff! So what do you want to accomplish as an overall artist?
Tracy: I would love to record more albums, tour around the world, and land a distribution deal. I also want to be able to inspire people with my music.
Urban Steez: Who and what are your influences?
Tracy: My childhood musical influences were Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. As I got older, I was heavily influenced by Monica, Lauryn Hill, Sarah Vaughan, Ledisi, Jill Scott, and Dianne Warren. Overall, I would say that Jill Scott is my biggest influence. She's incredibly talented in the sense that she can do it all-she is an amazing songwriter, singer, poet, actress, and performer.
Urban Steez: What do you think of the R&B/ music world right now?
Tracy: I believe that R&B/Soul music has a very strong presence in the music industry right now due to the beautiful album releases from Jill Scott, Ledisi, Marsha Ambrosius, Rashaan Patterson, Mint Condition, Musiq Soulchild, and more.
Urban Steez: What quote do you feel best represents you?
Tracy: The quote that best represents me is "Be inspired to be an inspiration".
Urban Steez: What music do you have playing in your sound system right now?
Tracy: I'm always listening to Jill Scott. She is my favorite music artist. Her music always moves me to tears and inspires me to write heartfelt, honest music. Also, I'm currently listening to the sounds of The Foreign Exchange, Little Dragon, Mark de Clive-Lowe, J Dilla, and D'Angelo.
Urban Steez: Who is your celebrity crush?
Tracy: My celebrity crush is my husband Allen. He is my superstar!:)
Urban Steez: How can business heads and fans contact you in the future (myspace, email, number, etc.)?
Urban Steez: Any shot outs?
Tracy: I would like to give a shout to my husband Allen and my children. I would also like to give a shout out to my family (especially my mom and grandma) and friends who have genuinely and consistently supported me throughout my music career, and of course Urban Steez for taking the time to listen to my music and for allowing me to share my love for music with the world.