Rebecca King-Crews, wife of Hollywood comedian and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” star Terry Crews, has a story to tell. And while it’s no fairy tale, her unique journey from childhood promise in music to choosing her family over career has come full circle. In her second act, King-Crews is bringing Regina Madre, the pseudonym she performs under as a soul singer, out of the shadows and letting women of all ages know it’s never too late to pursue one’s dreams.
How did your childhood inform your musical aspirations?
Music began for me in my home. A lot of my early musical influences were from my parents. I performed from 6 or 7 years old, through junior high and college. After that I did regional theater, so I was on the track to going to Broadway or maybe making records, and those were my goals until I became a mom. My pregnancy shifted my entire focus in life.
How did becoming a mother change the trajectory of your career?
I had a mom who worked full time, and I never saw her. So, I recall being a latchkey kid and having to come home to an empty house as young as 6 years old and having to let myself in. But when I became a mother, I made the decision that if I could, I would put [my children] above financial gain. I gave [my musical aspirations] up hoping, but kind of letting go. Then, I decided to return to a professional pursuit after the birth of my fifth child. In 2010, I felt like God spoke to me: “Now is your best time to live your dreams.”
Was it hard to pick up your music career after so long?
No. I never stopped writing music, even when I was raising my children, so when it was time, I started meeting with producers. I created a studio in my home, and I got to work. Because I’m the boss, I write, I produce, and I arrange. That’s why I formed my own record label, and I put out my own music with my own money.
How did your faith factor in with your move to return to the stage?
I have maintained my musical passions through working in the church, directing choirs, leading worship and writing music. My hope and my prayer is that I will inspire. I’m like a minister with no cloth. That’s what “Destiny” [my recent single] is about: the fact that we do things that we wish we hadn’t, but that we can recover from those things and that life can get better than we thought in spite of whatever we thought was our worst challenge or disappointment.
What message do you think you’re sending your children?
One of the biggest parts of my journey is doing it for my kids. I want my girls to know that they don’t have to see themselves as inferior, that Mommy is still gonna get her dream. And it’s funny because this last year I got my first single, “(I Keep) Holdin’ On,” to go to radio. I sat in my car and just cried, listening, thinking, Who would’ve thunk that at 52 years old, I’d have a song on radio? But I do.
What are some other ways you’ve used your influence to advance your message?
I have a women’s conference, and I’m doing one this year. I speak about six times a year. My message is #NeverTooLateToBe. I want to encourage women especially. There’s an ability in our hearts to do many things well, but often that leaves us feeling like we didn’t do one thing excellently. I believe that while you are being a mom, that it’s very divided and focused, but I believe there’s time and not to lose hope.
What advice do you have for new moms?
I was recently talking to Chelsea Peretti, whose husband is Jordan Peele, who wrote, produced and directed “Get Out” and “Us.” And I grabbed her by the shoulders and said, “I want to say to you on behalf of myself and so many others: Don’t give up your dreams.” “But how, Rebecca?” she asked. My response: “Little pieces.” It’s important that you never lose that simplicity of carving out some time for yourself every day.
Now that you’ve revealed your identity, will you change your artist name?
I want to keep it. I like the idea of these two sides of myself. Because Rebecca is definitely mommy. Regina is an actress and a musician, and she wears wild clothes. And she’s like an invention in myself.
Visit www.reginamadremusic.com for more.