By Juliet Cote | July 1, 2023

Crystal Desai knows how healing and transformative live music can be. Since moving to New York, the Florida native has been building her professional and personal life supporting the power of live music. Currently, she is working with the music tech startup, HiFi Labs, a creative incubator and artist mentorship collective that leverages technology to build and support artists communities. During the pandemic, after a live music hiatus, she was eager to find other ways to support artists in NY, so she created the concert series, Willo, where artists share their music with fans who listen while getting creative themselves. After the performances, fans will share their creations (drawings, paintings, poems and more) with artists and discuss how the music inspired their work and made them feel.

We sat down with Crystal in August and she answered a few questions for the groovement:

What was the first concert you attended?
I begged my mom to take me to the Hannah Montana concert with the Jonas Brothers opening. I went with my best friend and her mom and we all shared a giant cookie lollipop

Where are you from/when did you move to nyc?
I’m from St.petersburg, Florida and I went to college at NYU and then stayed in New York ever since.

What do you do?
I work at a music tech startup called HIFI Labs and I also started a small business called Willo Concert Series during the pandemic where we throw intimate concerts and parties around NYC with a focus on feeling the music and being present.

Who/what do you draw inspiration from?
For Willo a big inspiration of mine is kids and everything I would do as a child. I think we forget how to connect and be present as adults. Thinking back, it was so easy as a kid to make friends and enjoy every bit of life, so I try to incorporate child-like elements into my shows and parties.

What does live music mean to you?
Live music is my source of instant happiness. If I ever need a mood booster, any source of live music will do the job.

Tell us about the music you make (if you make music) and your journey as an artist.
I don’t make any music, but I do sing and absolutely love it. But, it has been a dream to be an artist, so I’m currently dabbling in songwriting and making my own songs — it’s been fun! In the meantime, I adore supporting and seeing them shine on stage.

Connect w/ Crystal on Instagram and the Willo website