CPL is pleased to recognize Psalm One, Englewood HQ’ed hip-hop artist on Rhymesayers Entertainment, for her recent inclusion in The Chicago Reader’s People Issue. In the December publication, she was (rightfully) named one of the 29 most fascinating Chicagoans.
We’re particularly proud of Psalm’s recognition because of her ties to Chicago Public Library. You may recall that Psalm One, real name Cristalle Bowen, claimed the crown in our 2009 Sound Off Contest with her original Chicago-inspired song and video, “My Bucket List.”
Following her win in late October, Psalm performed at CHIBPUBLIB’s Sound Off Concert in Pritzker Park. We also set her up with a studio recording package at Steve Albini’s famed Electical Audio Chicago complex.
In the Reader piece by Miles Raymer, Psalm One recalls her real rap run began while studying at the University of Illinois on a chemistry scholarship, “As I continued to work in my studies, people that I knew who dig music wanted to work on a bigger scale, more than just a hobby, so I was able to finish albums in my time at U of I.” Booking one-off shows in college not only allowed Psalm to supplement her income, but put her in front of some major music players, like Rhymesayers, with whom she signed in 2006.
Despite the career shift, Psalm One hasn’t lost her hold on what the books taught her. In large part, she explains, chemistry and hip-hop are a lot alike, “It’s like synthesis in chemistry: you take parts of elements and you put them together in such a way that you come out with a completely new product.”
As for her love of Chicago and hope for its future music scene, Psalm wishes for a bigger family with a stronger presence. “It would be cool if all of us who have more strength and knowledge of the industry in Chicago [could] pass those tips along to the younger generation,” she says. “We can build a really strong, unified industry.”
Congrats to Psalm One from Chicago Public Library on this great honor and receiving the recognition we’ve long known she’s due!
Click here to read the complete Chicago Reader feature on Psalm One.
Visit Psalm One’s official website.