Harvard Business School graduates Robin Ely and Colleen Ammerman and Hunter College sociologist Pamela Stone conducted a study showing that women are not committing to the career goals they made for themselves in their 20s. Forty percent of Generation X and baby boomer women said their spouses’ careers took precedence over theirs, while only 20 percent of them had actually planned on their careers taking a back seat. It may seem hard to digest in a society of girlbosses and more women on the forefront but the reality is it’s common for women to fall short of their dreams for their significant others. It may look like a dream deferred for most but for others, no isn’t the answer, regardless of where life takes them.
Singer/Songwriter Regina Madre is a living testament as to what this looks like. Learning how to play the piano at nine-years-old, Madre grew up in a musical family with both her mother and father being professional musicians. Though her father worked and continued his craft, her mother gave up on singing professionally but continued to sing in church. “They encouraged us to study music,” Madre says. “We had a piano, a drum set, so we had like a jazz trio set up in our living room.”
Growing up in Gary, Indiana, the hometown of The Jackson 5, Madre learned early on that music was her gift. At 13, after experiencing a traumatic loss of a classmate, she was inspired to form a gospel group with some friends to cope. With her mother in her ear saying her talent would just be a hobby, Madre continued to grow within the arts, going off to college to pursue her dreams.
Getting pregnant with her daughter, Naomi, in the midst of her collegiate career, Madre was prompted to put her dreams of stardom on hold but was still inspired by the experience. She wrote a song entitled “Destiny,” about her decision to press the pause button. “Destiny is about failure and redemption,” Madre confesses. “I wrote the song to share how love is a greater catalyst than anything we understand in this life because her (Naomi) arrival completely transfixed me and nothing else mattered in a way.” Because of her upbringing, Madre was determined to be the one that raised her child.
Continuing to raise her daughter, she wanted to go back to school to finish her degree but once again, life found a different path for her when she got married to a young man who had similar aspirations. A football player with NFL dreams, Madre followed after him. “Something called me, something said that is your destiny, that is your place right there next to him,” Madre remembers. “He had all the qualities, you know we have a list, and he was on that list.” After landing a role in a production of “Dreamgirls,” Madre found herself having to make a difficult decision when her husband got drafted to the NFL. “I said okay let’s make a deal. You get your dream and when you get your dreams off kind of good, I’ll make some attempts to live mine,” Madre says. It’s a conversation, she says, that changed her life.
Her husband kept up his end of the deal, becoming successful actor and activist, Terry Crews. That’s right, Regina Madre is none other than Mrs. Rebecca Crews. Twenty-eight years and five kids later, Crews has been by her husband’s side, letting him get all the spotlight as we watched him star in movies like “White Chicks” and shows like “Everybody Hates Chris” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” Now, it’s her turn. “I’m finally at a point where my kids are older and maybe I can do this, so I went for it,” Crews says. “I just decided that I had to live this dream. I could not put down this gift.” While the proud mother is continuously booked and busy hosting and doing reality TV, she has made her dream of music a priority.
For years, the 52-year-old was writing music for the world to hear but she noticed something just wasn’t sitting right. While the song was well received, she felt that listeners had a certain perception of her. Being inspired by similar minds like Childish Gambino, she decided to go incognito and release a sound under the name Regina Madre. “I wanted to be heard by an unbiased ear,” Crews says. “A friend listened and didn’t know it was me and knowing that made me feel different.” It has been going well for the R&B singer, getting played by radio hosts who at a time before turned her away because of who she is.
After getting validation from the station who turned her away, Crews’ team worked diligently with a plethora of wigs and careful wardrobing to keep her anonymous persona while performing at local clubs. Now, her debut single “(I Keep) Holdin On” is on heavy Sirius XM rotation and in four major radio markets across the U.S. It became a DRT Indie 100 Hit Single. “Destiny,” while written years ago, was produced by Grammy Award-winning producer Carvin Haggins. While hiding in the shadows has been a wild ride, Crews is ready for the world to know of her story as Regina Madre one step at a time. “I am doing this for the love right now,” Crews says. “But I have this weird sense that we’re going be at the top of the charts. I don’t know how or when, but I have faith.”