The air feels electric as Krystle Dos Santos winds down from the second-last song in her set. It's only 10.30 on a Sunday morning and a horde of blues-lovers have gathered in the streets to dance away the afternoon. They are completely taken by her music. Her groove.
"Okay we've got one more song for you beautiful people," she croons into the microphone. Audible groans and protests come from the audience. The dancers deflate a little bit. None of us want her set to end.
The drummer counts four beats and Krystle's band launches into a dynamic cover of Pharrell's "Happy". I throw my camera into its case and join the revived frenzy of hip-shaking and happy-making.
Krystle's giant curly fro is a big part of her brand. "People recognize me because l have a big afro." It isn't just us black women that drool over her perfect coils. Krystle says when her hair was straight people told her she didn't look like... Krystle. "When my second album came out and I had dead straight hair with straight bangs people were like 'I don't see you in this picture.'"
Krystle has not always had such buoyant healthy hair. "I dated a hairdresser for three years and he helped me keep my hair healthy and growing. My hair was about shoulder length while curly when one summer my mom suggested I lighten up my look a little bit." Krystle agreed and went to a local hairdresser for the dye job. The hairdresser left bleach in her hair for one hour. Krystle's hair went dead straight-pun intended.
After cutting all her hair off, growing it out, cutting it off again, growing it out... Krystle realized the two things she was doing wrong. Chemicals and heat.
"I treat my hair like a baby now." Krystle's family is from Guyana. She explains her heritage as a mix of Chinese, Portuguese, African, East Indian, European and Amerindian. Her hair type is a mixture of 3B & 3C.
Krystle's parents were completely lost when it came to taking care of her hair. "My mom took me to black hairdressers when I was younger and we did weaves, braids, cutting it short - everything. It wasn't until my 20s that I realized curly hair is beautiful."
Krystle has taken her musical career to Vancouver, but finding products for her hair is no easy feat. "Everytime I come back to Edmonton Images and Shades is like a candy store. I like to experiment"
Krystle can be a bit of a hair scientist when she gets her juices flowing. "I'll mix mayo, eggs, olive oil... vodka, beer - whatever I can find in my house to make my own hair masks."
|"Krystle can be a bit of a hair scientist"