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Daily Inspiration: Meet Chela Mancuso

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chela Mancuso.

Hi Chela, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
My name is Chela Mancuso, and I founded the rock band Crystal Lady in December of 2014. Crystal Lady has changed quite a bit over the last 8 years. In the early days of Crystal Lady, I was a jazz major at Webster University and formed this band with classmates. And the music sounded much different then than it does today. Today, Crystal Lady is an original rock band, and our music is very influenced by 90s alternative and hard rock. People familiar with our music often mention hearing hints of Nirvana, No Doubt, Blondie, Halestorm, Alanis Morissette, and Garbage, but in 2014 Crystal Lady was performing jazz standards and older rock and pop songs from the 60s and 70s in wine bars. So things have taken quite the turn.

Today the Crystal Lady lineup is comprised of Chela Mancuso (voice), Nick Fiveash (Guitar), Dylan Roussel (bass), and Correy Smotherson (drums). Crystal Lady has seen many band members over the years, but the four of us have been playing and writing together for about 4 years now. We have completely moved away from the “old crystal lady” and are focused on creating hard-hitting, exciting rock music together. We have written about 40 original songs and are beginning to tour nationally. At the end of this month, we are packing the band up to drive out to California, where we will be playing a 3 show run from Costa Mesa to Hollywood and make our debut at The Viper Room on the sunset strip.

When I started Crystal Lady, all I knew was that I wanted to make my life about music and honor my late aunt, who inspired me. The name Crystal Lady was borrowed from my great aunt Josephine (Skipper) Mancuso, a singer/songwriter who toured the world in the 50s and 60s. She later started Crystal Lady Publishing, where she published her original music. I started this band when I was 18 years old to continue her work; it has become my primary focus and the biggest joy of my life.

All of us band members have become very close and work as a team to create new music every week, rehearse 3x a week, perform live several times a month, and have fun creating other content like cooking shows and podcasts. Making music and taking Crystal Lady as far as we can have become our shared passion, and we are so excited to see what the future holds for our group.

Can you talk to us about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It hasn’t always been smooth trying to maintain this band. I mentioned before that when I originally started the group, the other band members were classmates of mine from Webster University. These were all highly skilled musicians, but it took years and a lot of starting, stopping, hitting personal roadblocks with band members, and starting over before we locked into the group we are now. Our band now feels like family, not colleagues, and we are all on the same page about what we want with no questions or hesitations.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
My band members and I are all trained musicians who have studied our instruments in college and have set out to become full-time musicians. We practice in our studio/rehearsal space 3 times a week and have been traveling the Midwest for a few years now, touring through several cities. Still, we are finally breaking out of our Midwest bubble this year to play the west coast and have plans to do more traveling through the end of the year all over the country. I think we are most proud of the music we have created as a group. We are constantly writing and recording, and we all love the process of collaborating. Everyone brings something different to the table that results in a sound none of us would achieve working alone. Writing music makes it exciting because we never know what we will get, and the possibilities are endless.

How can people work with you, collaborate with you, or support you?
We love showcasing, and multi shows with other bands in and out of St. Louis. We are always happy to collaborate on a multi-band lineup or trade shows with other rock artists.

The biggest way you can support our efforts is through our digital content. We have a Patreon where we share exclusive content and merch that isn’t published publicly, and supporters can get access to that for as little as $3 a month.

Or you can simply stream our music and follow our social media. We have our music on all streaming platforms, Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, Amazon, ETC. And we are active on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and Twitter @crystalladyband

We also have merch that we sell at shows that will soon be available on our website,, including t-shirts, CDs, and much more!


  • Patreon Tiers $3, $10, $25
  • T-Shirts $20
  • CDs $10

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Photos by Joe Mancuso

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