Performance artist alumna reflects on life on the Hill and offers advice to students

Performance artist alumna reflects on life on the Hill and offers advice to students

Posted on August 29, 2018

A Kentucky State University alumna, fresh off a role in the national touring production of “Motown The Musical,” recently reflected about her time on the Hill and how her college career helped her career success.

Arielle Crosby, a Detroit native and a 2012 graduate of Kentucky State, said she initially chose the campus because of the choir.

“Several alumni I admired from my high school were members of the Kentucky State University Concert Choir,” Crosby said. “I also loved the vibe of the campus every time we visited.”

According to her website, Crosby has been singing and performing since age 11. She later won a city-wide talent competition that led to performances across the United States and countries across the world, including Carnegie Hall in New York and Palau de la Música in Barcelona.

While her career has led her to many places, one venue stands out in her memory.

“One special memory was when I had the opportunity to sing a solo with 105 Voices of History on The Grand Ole Opry stage,” Crosby said. “So many major artists have performed on that very stage and, because of that performance, I can add myself to that roster.”

Crosby said her time at Kentucky State gave her clarity over the direction she wanted to take her career.

“I knew I loved music and performance, but I also knew I had a proclivity for teaching,” Crosby said. “I dabbled in both for a bit, but, ultimately, performance took the reins.”

Her role in “Motown The Musical” brought her back to Kentucky over the summer.

“It felt like coming home,” Crosby said. “I saw former classmates and professors in the lobby after every show. It was great to still have their support.”

Some of the people who guided her the most at Kentucky State, she said, were Dr. Carl Smith, Andrew Smith, Dr. Barbara Buck, Dr. Barry Johnson and G.E. Wigginson.

“My choir family also helped me a lot,” she said. “Some of them still do.”

Crosby offered valuable advice to students about college and finding work in the performing arts.

For starters, don’t take school for granted, she said.

“The entire college experience lays the foundation for the rest of your adult years,” Crosby said.

Crosby said resiliency has been a key to her career.

“Don’t get discouraged,” Crosby said. “Most people don’t jump right into a professional performance career. It took me a couple of years to officially set my sights on it. It took another three years before I booked my first professional theatre and another year before I booked the ‘Motown’ tour.”

Finally, Crosby encouraged students to participate in as many performances as possible.

“Get out there,” she said. “Do the church play. Look into community theatre. Be an extra for a web series. Go to that open mic night. If you don’t get anything else out of it, you’ll at least get experience.”

Crosby said she is home in Detroit after booking an unexpected short production in Denver. She said she has plans to move to New York soon.