It’s a typical fall day in the Bronx, New York, and while most students have been locked away in classes or doing other forms of work, I had the privilege to spend time with an old friend (and a current rock star), Chrissy Costanza, to discuss her developing music career and recent tours. Chrissy had become one of my best friends before she became a famous singer. We attended Immaculate Heart Academy together for our four years of high school. During that time, we got extremely close. To this day, we still laugh about the first time we met in math class. She introduced herself as Christina, and then corrected herself, asking me to “call her Chrissy.” After reminiscing about the “good old days” at the “Academy” like best friends who graduated together often do, we sat down together in the Starbucks on East Fordham Road with our pumpkin spice lattes to discuss Chrissy’s latest adventures.
Chrissy has spent the last two years starting a band with a group of friends from New York. Their band “Against the Current” has quickly gone from a YouTube sensation to a world famous band. The band primarily performs a variation on pop-rock music, a genre quickly becoming more and more popular for it’s mash-up like qualities of hard rock and roll and catchy pop music.
Chrissy’s recent tour has been all over social media, like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Having a friend who has been to so many amazing places provokes questions about the different places she visited and different fans she had the privilege of meeting. She has only recently returned from her summer tour, which included performances in Hong Kong, Melbourne and Sydney, Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines – which she says proved to be a life changing experience for her.
When asked about her foreign fans, Chrissy replied, “our fans in other countries were really different from our fans in the United States. Because we aren’t from those other countries, they did seem to make a bigger deal of us being there than some of our fans in the United States. Our fans in the US have seen us time and time again, but for most of our foreign fans, this was their first Against the Current experience.”
Chrissy’s eyes brightened up as we talked about her fans in the different countries she visited, saying, “they were so timid about asking for autographs at our meet and greets, and then so polite and grateful when we signed posters for them or took pictures with them.” Chrissy’s experience across the world benefitted both her and her band mates. “I’d go back in a heartbeat. This was definitely a great way to start a future of touring,” Chrissy said with a smile.
As Chrissy and I sat in Starbucks, we continued to move from her tour to just the band and her music in general. A common question is how a band is able to work together in such harmony that a perfect song is created. Against the Current’s new single “Another You” has recently been released, as well as its music video. The song “Another You” tells the story of a relationship that began wonderfully, but that soon went awry. The once enjoyable relationship became a struggle for both parties and soon, had to come to an end. The song focuses on the idea that a girl in a difficult relationship does have the power to get herself out of the situation before it gets worse than it already is. Although the song focuses somewhat on heartache, it breaks the boundaries of a typical love song by focusing more on power and independence.
When discussing the song writing process for “Another You,” Chrissy said, “Most of our songs come from past experiences. In high school, I was in a really messed up relationship and it definitely wasn’t what was good for me at the time. When I finally ended it, it was really hard, but that doesn’t mean everything from that relationship had to be bad.” Chrissy smiled because she knew I remembered what happened after her relationship ended.
That was when Chrissy began writing more seriously. Since then, Chrissy has written a number of incredible songs with her band, and while they are clearly about a failed relationship, that information is not all released to the public. “I’d rather not speak openly about my past relationships,” Chrissy stated. “But I can say that they ended up helping me a lot with my career. That doesn’t mean I’m only gonna date someone until I get a song out of them, but when you’re put in such a tough place in life, sometimes writing is the only form of closure you can find.”
As for the song “Another You,” which is on my “Favorite” playlist right now, Chrissy says the same relationship influenced this song. “There were obviously things I wanted to change about the relationship, but at the same time, I didn’t want the relationship to end. When it finally did, I realized I could find “another him,” maybe just in a better relationship,” she said.
Even in high school, people always knew Chrissy would go somewhere with her music. She would steal the hearts of every talent show audience. She laughed as we reminisced over our sophomore year talent show in high school, the first time either of us had really performed. Looking back now, her performances were much different than they are today. She used to be the solo artist, performing alone with her guitar and microphone. She mainly sang slow ballads and remained center stage, on a stool for the entire song. Now, she has a full band to back her up, she gets to run around the stage and she can interact with the audience. But one thing that hasn’t changed is the heart and emotion that Chrissy puts into every single one of her songs, the main reason all of her songs have touched so many people. Her songs embody every scenario a teenager could be going through. From a break-up, to a first love to just a great night out with friends, Chrissy’s fans feel the experience that she is singing about. Even her sad songs express emotion in an upbeat tempo that never allows the listener to feel sad when listening to the songs about terrible breakups.
With these thoughts in mind, I moved on to the last topic I wanted to discuss with Chrissy: her own life. In high school, she had time for friends, family, school, traveling and work. It seems like most of her time now is consumed with work and her music. When asked how being in Against the Current has changed her life, Chrissy answered, “It’s definitely not as easy as it was before,” Chrissy explained. “I will always love what I do, but most of my time now is consumed by the band. I’m not home with my family as much and I don’t see a lot of the friends I used to hang out with.”
For any teenage performer, being away from family and friends is one of the hardest parts. I told her that I admired her ability to be able to be independent at such a young age. For me, going away to a college an hour from my family was hard, yet she is able to travel the world without her family, except her mom, who joins her on tour. But Chrissy just smiled at that point, and said with a giggle, “I’m not away from my family. My band is always with me. We’ve become our own kind of family. No, it’s not your typical mom-dad-and-two-kids family, but it’s my family.” She continues, summing up everything about her life and career. “I wouldn’t trade one moment of my life for anything in the world.”
Photos courtesy Chrissy Costanza.