View Cristina’s current resume here.
Chameleonic, versatile, worldly, adventurous, and tour de force are all words used to describe singer/songwriter/actress Cristina Morrison. Affectionately known as the Baroness of Jazz, Cristina’s sophomore album, appropriately called Baronesa, draws upon her tremendous life experiences – featuring songs in four different languages with a mixture of eclectic and world jazz sounds.
Cristina grew up living both in Ecuador and Miami with a family deeply rooted in media communication and the performing arts, spanning four generations. As a young girl, she fell in love with piano and played for about five years. But as a teenager, she discovered acting and decided to pursue a career as an actress, singer, and dancer. After high school, Cristina attended drama school in Rome and then moved Los Angeles to study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, where she learned the acting tools and techniques she still uses today.
Post graduation, Cristina moved back to Ecuador for the summer and was immediately hired as an actress. But what was planned to be a brief stay turned into 10 years where Cristina had a child and built a career as an actress in both television and theater. She also produced and performed in her own plays, built a theater, began a foundation for the performing arts, and became an executive producer. But something was missing, so she turned back to music, her childhood passion, and began to sing and perform jazz standards.
After a visit to the Galapagos Islands to star as the lead character in a docudrama about Baroness Eloise Von Wagner de Bosquet, which is how she received her nickname the Baroness, Cristina fell in love with the islands, and later a man. She began to visit often and eventually moved to the Galapagos, married that man and had a second child.
“Galapagos was the first place I fell in love with and really wanted to be,” explains Cristina. “I love to walk around barefoot and be in contact with nature. Galapagos is where I started to write. It’s where my music came to life and where I began to do original work. It has been an inspiration in a way because I finally had the time and space in my mind to write. I knew I had it in me, but I never had the time to develop it. It was nice to see my experiences come out through writing lyrics. It has become the place where I come create.”
In addition to her acting career, Cristina started a jazz band called The Baroness and her Lovers that performed jazz standards for six years, touring throughout Ecuador. After many years on the islands, Cristina moved to Miami and later to New York, a city she had wanted to live in since she graduated from high school.
“It’s funny how life takes you through different pathways and your destiny is your destiny,” says Cristina. “The last five years that I’ve been in New York, things have really taken off for me. Before music was in and out of my life and acting was constant. Now they are both equally important. I feel honored, humbled, fortunate and grateful to be able to live in New York and continue growing as an artist.”
When not in New York, Cristina escapes back to the Galapagos to write, relax and support her local community. Her passion for the islands led Cristina to become a supporter of an art educational program in the public schools on Isabela Islands, called Arteducarte. This program uses art to help children understand basic concepts. Various mediums, such as painting, paper maiche, wall murals, installations and theatre, provide students with the opportunity to express themselves through the creative process, build self-esteem and develop a unique rapport with their teachers and their environment. Subjects such as recycling, energy use, introduction of species and interdependence with their surroundings are customized into the program.
Cristina’s second album Baronesa, got two NOMINATIONS at The Independent Music Awards 2016 under the categories for Best Vocal Jazz Album and Best Vocal Jazz Song. The recording is a diverse mix of music styles – jazz, tango, cha cha, drum & bass, bolero and even spoken word, and languages – English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian. The songs blend her skills as an actress and a singer and tell stories about her life, her friends and the Galapagos Islands. Each song is unique and the album flows from a deep, strong voice to a relaxed and sexy sound, to a spoken word piece about dreams.
“The sounds are very different from song to song,” explains Cristina. “My producer, Misha Piatigorsky, pushed me to find the right sound in my voice for each song. This project is full of passion and love. There were difficult days in the studio, working each and every sound – making it perfect, but I still enjoyed making this album. The main key to me is to have fun with what you are doing.”
She calls her onstage “mise en scene”, a theatrical music adventure as she plays with mapping and visuals which are based on her lyrics, having been designed by Laia Cabrera & Co.
Cristina’s latest film, Nadie Nos Mira “Nobody’s Watching” by Julia Solomonoff, in which she plays a top indie producer, Kara Reynolds, had it’s World Premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival 2016 and it took home a Best International Actor Award for Argentinian, Guillermo Pfening.
Agujero Negro by Diego Araujo is due to be released at the end of 2017. Cristina here plays Tikki and is also one of it’s Executive Producers.
Cristina was invited to be a speaker at the first TED X Galapagos giving her the honor to speak about how the islands contribute to her creative process and inspiration for her artistic work and was a jury member art at the 16th Havana Film Festival in New York.
She currently serves a board member in the Screen Actor’s Guild of Ecuador, Uniactores.