Kristine W battles a cancer diagnosis with chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant, and emerges to find she can ‘Fly Again.’
After a harrowing battle with cancer, club diva Kristine W is back with the release of her new album "Fly Again." The record is dedicated to three fellow patients she met in the hospital and who did not survive their fight against the disease.
“I have been to hell and back during my battle with cancer,” said the singer. “There were times I did not think I would make it, but it was the love for music and my two kids that pulled me through and put me back on my feet.”
Kristine W emerged onto the international music scene in the late 1990s. Songs such as “One More Try,” “Land of the Living,” “Some Loving” and “Stronger” all topped the Billboard dance charts and became instant circuit anthems.
The singer was first diagnosed with cancer in 2001 when she was on the road, touring clubs and singing songs from her “Stronger” album. “I felt I was getting weaker and weaker, and I just knew something was not right,” she remembers. “After a number of tests in the hospital and a bone marrow biopsy I was eventually diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.”
The pop singer was treated with chemotherapy and received a stem cell transplant — on Sept. 11, 2001, no less.
It was music that got her through her torments. “Music reminded me of what I was fighting for. It gave me something to look forward too,” she says. “I also listened to my own albums. Songs like ‘Stronger’ and ‘Land of the Living’ took on a whole new meaning. I was really strange how that all came around.”
Now happily in remission on, she is thrilled to be back. The 12 tracks on “Fly Again” are an inspiring set of songs that feature her impressive four octave vocal range supported by uplifting, pulsating dance beats from the hands of producers the Scumfrog, Mac Quale and Erin Tabib.
“Maybe I got [cancer] for a reason,” she says. “I wish I would have had somebody that would have talked about the disease in terms I could understand. I felt so overwhelmed and freaked out about all the medical terminology that was given to me.”
Besides the album’s title hit, “Song Lives On” is one of the record’s most poignant tracks. Its autobiographical lyrics describe Kristine W’s desire to be a singer just like her mother and grandmother. “This is definitely my favorite song on the record,” she says.
The singer has built a large gay following. The pop sound of "Fly Again" may broaden her appeal to a more mainstream crowd.
Not that she’s forgotten her base of support. “Thank God for my gay fans,” says the Las Vegas resident. “They’ve supported me all along. Of course, I’d love to be a major pop star, but that is not what I was thinking about when I wrote the album. I just hope the songs appeal to as many people as possible.”
Kristine W thinks she understands why she relates so well to us. “Gays are survivors and I am a survivor as well,” she explains. “I have been pulled down so many times, but I keep getting back up. This crazy disease is just another example of that. I am doing it and I am out there for them.”
The singer emphasizes that she does not talk about her disease to solicit pity. ”I don’t want people to feel sorry for me,” she says. “Somebody told me this could help me sell more records. That was really appalling to me.”
She has just one word of advice for anybody struggling to survive: “Just focus on the day-by-day things.”