Chrystal Rucker is a gospel soprano known to fans for her dynamic covers of “Over the Rainbow” and Walter Hawkins’ “Changed.” The daughter of a bishop in the Church of God in Christ (COGIC), the Kansas City, Missouri native started singing in church as a toddler. She went on to study music and English at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Motherhood compelled the vocalist to pursue a reliable income, so she found office work while still singing on weekends.
Eventually, Rucker found demand as a guest performer on gospel albums by artists including Edwin Hawkins, Myron Williams, and Jerome Greene. Continued guest spots, along with increased exposure provided by Dorinda Clark-Cole (the Clark Sisters) within COGIC, led to more live performance opportunities and a livelihood as a professional musician. In 2007, a series of strokes nearly ended Rucker’s life, much less her career aspirations, but she returned to the stage as soon as her recovery would allow, and self-released an eponymous album in 2009. She continued to appear on other musicians’ recordings, including 2011’s Moses Tyson, Jr.: World Class Gospel Music Jubilee and Keep Living by Ricky Dillard.
When Earnest Pugh started his own record label in 2012, he remembered Rucker from her performance at the funeral of Grammy-winning choir director O’Landa Draper and got her in the studio. EPM Music Group released her label debut, You Deserve, that summer. The title track landed on the Billboard Hot Gospel Songs chart, and the album reached the gospel Top Ten. ~ Marcy Donelson, Rovi