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Coline Creuzot is a complicated individual.

Those are her words, by the way, not mine.

But the Houston singer – Lamar High School-bred, Hampton University made – has big plans for 2016. Her most recent single, “Truth Is,” is making moves and gaining steam. And Coline has an EP, Timeless, on the way slated for later this year. In a candid interview with Day & A Dream, Cruezot talked patience, persistence, and the past, the present, and her very bright future.

Was singing something you did from a young age?

Well, when I was a kid, I actually started out dancing first, doing ballet.

So how did you transition from dancing to singing? Were you in the church choir or anything like that?

No, I would say I just found my voice. You know when you’re a kid, you kinda dabble, you figure out what you like and what you’re good at. I started writing when I was younger. But I grew up seeing a lot of my friends do music. So around, oh, age 9, I was thinking, “You know what, I can do this, too.” But I was still on dance teams and just trying to perfect both sides of my craft. I went to Hampton, graduated with a business degree, and then I moved back here and got to work.

What would you say inspires your songs?

Everything – personal experience, past experience. It could be something my friends are currently going through, it can be another song. I just try to keep an open mind. I hear somebody say something randomly in public and I’m like, “Oh, let me write that down, that’s a good line.” So I draw inspiration from everywhere, and try to stay open.

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Now, “You Tried It” was your first “big” single?

Actually, my first big single was “Give & Take,” back in 2007. Happy Perez produced it, and it was #1 on Houston radio for six weeks. It opened up a lot of doors for me, like my publishing deal and getting the opportunity to open up for big names on tour.

Okay, so going back to that gap between “Give & Take” and “You Tried It” – that’s like a seven-year gap, from like 2007 to 2013, 2014. What did you do in the time between then?

I actually dropped a mixtape every year after “Give & Take” came out. The first one I dropped was called Headturner and Paul Wall actually DJed on it, which was really cool. But I dropped a mixtape every year to keep things going and keep people engaged, until I signed with Sony; when I signed with Sony/EMI, I spent a year just writing for other people. I was just meeting with different writers and producers and learning, you know, how to write better. And then, in 2011, I put out a single called “You” and I shot the video in New York. And then after that, I put out “Acapella Now.”

What’s one experience that really stands out with you in the early part of your career?

So I opened for T.I. at the 93.3 Car Show back in the day. It was this huge venue and it was PACKED in there. I had rehearsed and rehearsed, and I came out… and I was into it. So the last song we did was “Give & Take.” And that was the slowest song of all the ones I performed, so you know, I was like, “I gotta KILL it.” So I went out there, and I sang the first line, and when I looked up, everybody was singing along with me!

They were ready for you!

Yeah! [Laughs] So that was a really good feeling.

So you have two current singles out now. And you finally have a project coming up in 2016.

Yes. I’m releasing an EP this year, called Timeless.

Why call it “Timeless?”

Because I wanted to make timeless music. My goal was always to make things that leave a lasting impression on people. I try not to be trendy – to stay real to who I am.

“Real to who you are?” So, who IS Coline Cruezot?

I’m a complicated individual. [Laughs] I’m an artist, I also do abstract art. I’m an artsy person. I’m also an emotional person. People will often ask me, why do you write sad songs, are you sad? And I’m like no, I’m not sad, but there are people who ARE sad, and they can relate to the music. I strive to be relatable.

File Jan 05, 5 32 11 PMSo, let me go back to Timeless real quick. When are you planning on dropping it?

I’m honestly just taking my time. “Truth Is,” we’re trying to see how far it goes, give it some time before dropping the next single. But Timeless we’re hoping to put out at the top of 2016. I decided on an EP instead of an album because… that’s a good way to introduce myself to the world. It’s a preview, an appetizer. Like, “Let me give people just a taste.”

So, um, about “Truth Is.” Great song, but it made me feel kinda bad as a man.

Most men have that reaction about that song, which is funny to me. For a woman to have that standpoint, it makes a lot of men uncomfortable, which I kinda like. But the point of the song is, don’t get comfortable. You know, I like you, I might even love you, but I have options. I’m giving you a chance to do the right thing.

I actually freestyled the song. I went into the booth, Happy (Perez) played the beat and I was just vibing with it. So I ran off the hook, then I just started singing and “Truth Is” came together. The engineer played it back and I was like, “Ooh, I don’t know if I can say that – can I say that?” And he was like, “it’s your song, you can say whatever you want.” And I was like, “You know what? You’re right.” So I sent it to my mom, and she was like “I LOVE IT.” And if it’s good with my parents, it’s good with me. [Laughs]

We shot the video in LA with Kim Burress, a creative director who’s worked with Beyonce and J-Lo, about three months ago. It was actually Kim’s concept – to go back to the 90s with, you know, “let’s do some old school stuff with a storyline, and a dancing thing with some chairs.” She’s really been influential and helpful in the past six months.

And you’re actually a family woman.

I am! I’m married, and we have a 9-month-old daughter. But my husband is extremely supportive. His career is just as demanding as mine. But you know we both work together, and we make it work. We have to!

How do you balance, you know, being a wife and mother with the music?

No sleep! [Laughs]

That’s unfortunate.

But it’s okay though, because… Like, being a mom, doesn’t feel like work. Doing music, it doesn’t feel like work. You just gotta do what you gotta do. You gotta get up and get it.

It’s funny because I’ve brought (my daughter) to the studio with me before, or had her in my lap in the booth. And she knows. Like, when the music comes on, she knows to be quiet when mommy’s singing.

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Who would you say are some of your influences?

I grew up on, you know, Anita Baker, Donny Hathaway, soul music. But the thing about this is, there’s no blueprint. There’s no surefire way that what works for one person will work for you. Like Beyonce, for sure, is an inspiration. I love her but she came up in a different era, when record labels were more involved. The industry is different now. I like Jhene Aiko, as well, because she did the grassroots thing – she was signed way back when, then came back and did her own thing.

One last thing – what are some of the challenges you’d say you might have faced in the industry?

I’ll say this. Being in this industry requires a lot of patience. I have to remind myself that this is a marathon and not a sprint. It’s definitely something that you have to dedicate yourself to, and want to do, because there are a lot of setbacks. It takes time before you get to where you’re trying to get to.

There are a lot of disappointments in anyone’s career when you’re trying to build something. But I’m really thankful for my parents because they kept me grounded. My husband, for sure, keeps me focused whenever I’m discouraged. And of course, now my baby is my biggest motivation [Laughs] because I want to be a good example for her.

To anyone trying to do this, perfect your craft, whatever that is. If you’re a vocalist, work on your voice every day. Um, patience. It takes a LOT of patience. And you just gotta keep pushing. Even when you feel like it’s not going anywhere. This industry is a “hurry up and wait” industry. But yeah, work hard, be patient, keep pushing. Oh, and definitely keep God first.