Crystal Aikin grew up in Tacoma, WA, participating early in the choirs and singing groups at her local church. Eventually she found herself taking on more and more lead singing and directing duties, even as she worked long hours as an emergency room nurse at a Catholic hospital in Tacoma. Everything changed, though, when she became a contestant on the first season of BET's high-profile gospel competition Sunday Best in 2007. Aikin was clearly a fan favorite and was the first season winner, turning the exposure into a record and production contract. Her debut album, the self-titled Crystal Aikin, appeared in 2009 from Zomba Gospel. Produced by PAJAM , Dre & Vidal, and Asaph A. Ward, the album featured fairly predictable contemporary gospel with enough jazz, rock, and urban elements to give it wide audience appeal. It also allowed Aikin to quit her job as a nurse to concentrate on singing.