Chrisette Michele: Unifying Music

Surrounded by music since she was a small child, twenty-four year old singer, songwriter and composer Chrisette Michele has been blessed with an old soul; sometimes very reminiscent to classic singer Billy Holiday. The same smooth jazz tones that people enjoyed in Holiday’s time, modern day listeners can experience again in a more hip version. Already given the opportunity to work with two of the biggest names in hip hop [Nas and Jay-Z], Def Jam recording artist Chrisette Michele is in the process of coining her own style and persona. When you speak with her you can notice a quiet confidence, a self-belief in her skills and her purpose that is deeper than music. Michele communicates messages to women about finding your place and with the release of her debut album ‘I Am,” Chrisette Michele will soon be sharing those musical dreams with the rest of the world.

Singersroom: You have tracks with Jay-Z and Nas. What was it like working with the two biggest names in hip hop?

Chrisette Michele: It was amazing. I didn’t know I would be on their CD’s until I picked up their CD’s and looked at it. It was like wow, they really like me!! It was really special because like you said they are two of the biggest names in hip-hop. Jay-Z is very laid back, very easy to get along with. Nas is like a cousin, you know he is like family, so he was easy to work with. Nas just let me write whatever I wanted. He put three songs on his CD, which was really special.

Singersroom: Wow. I understand that you wanted to mix soul and pop. Why did you want to focus on those particular genres? How are you finding your place with those?

Chrisette Michele: You know what; I think that right now, because I’m not on the radio yet, every show that I do, I’m very well accepted with the different types of music that I sing. I think you and I are both going to find out how I’m fitting into my place or into the music world in general. At the end of the day, I think that music lovers are going to love me. I think the pop songs that are on my album will be loved by the pop listeners and the R&B songs will be loved by the R&B people. I think that each song has a broad enough sound that I won’t be pigeon holed. At the same time I think it is appealing to many different audiences. I think we will find out together.

Singersroom: The new album is called “I Am.” Being a songwriter, are there any songs that you feel especially close to?

Chrisette Michele: I think when you write every song on your album – it’s like having eleven or twelve children. It’s hard to say I like this one song more or I like that one more. I love every song on the album. What’s happening is that I’m hoping that everyone will be very satisfied. I think the single “Good Girl” will be adored by the people in the urban world and I think the “Best of Me” will be loved by people in the pop world.

Singersroom: What are some of the topics you cover on the album?

Chrisette Michele: I cover world peace, things about helping out the community, abstinence before marriage, wanting to wait.

Singersroom: That’s something different, you don’t hear a lot about abstinence in music.

Chrisette Michele: My first single is “If I have my Way.” It’s a love making song but at the end of the day, it’s trying to hold out until the right moment for me.

Singersroom: Did you write all of the songs yourself or did you have any co-writers?

Chrisette Michele: I wrote all of the songs myself. I had producers who would give me suggestions. I definitely wrote every song myself. The producers that I worked with are writers as well. They were like try this, try that.

Chrisette Michele Singersroom: You are so young to have accomplished so much. You’re a little younger than me.

Chrisette Michele: (laughs) I decided not to go past 21. I’m going to stick to that for a few years.

Singersroom: Well at any rate, you are very young to have accomplished a lot. What are some of your future goals? You want to win a Grammy? What is your ultimate goal?

Chrisette Michele: Of course I want to win a Grammy! I don’t know if that is one of my goals. One of my goals is to create a type of unity in my music that we haven’t seen before. I think Diddy is doing a good job with having different types of people on his album. I think Timberland is doing a great job at it too. I want to incorporate a Billy Joel into my music. It would be a unified effort between artist where we just come together and create music. I also want to get into beauty modeling, maybe Maybelline or something.

Singersroom: I definitely think that you could do it. What kind of impact are you hoping to have through your music?

Chrisette Michele: Young girls are my heart and my biggest burden. I want to be a part of our young girl’s lives and let them know that there is more to life than your size and your weight. There is a more to life than the way you look. There is more to life than men.

Singersroom: More to life than competing over them as well!

Chrisette Michele: Uh uh. They compete with each other. It’s about finding your place and not being afraid of other women. A lot of us are very intimated by other women. We fight each other.

Singersroom: Yeah, there is no sisterly love. In a lot of different situations it is disappointing.

Chrisette Michele: Exactly, and it’s very scary. That’s exactly why I want to work with other women because I want to make sure women are working together. Beyonce and Shakira did it and I think that was a great move.

Singersroom: I read somewhere that your mother is very giving and would take in individuals who needed help. What was that like? How do you think that has helped you now in your music writing and your every day life?

Chrisette Michele: I had a very interesting life. We had people from Vietnam living with us at times. We had foster children living with us. My mother took a woman from the streets and she lived with us for years. She is a great friend of ours now. So I had many different types of people living in my house, and a lot of different opinions. It made me become highly eclectic and philosophical at times. My mother studied psychology and my dad studied sociology and I put a lot of those concepts into my song writing. My mother travels with me every day. She is a great person. She is with me all the time.

Singersroom: It must be nice to have your mom around a lot.

Chrisette Michele: Yeah, it’s wonderful. We are best friends.

Singersroom: As far as the psychological aspect, how do you think that played a role in your music writing?

Chrisette Michele: I have a song called “Mr. Radio”. That is a song about communication. Not just listening to the radio and making love to get over your problems. There are a lot of songs about communications and talking to people. I have a song titled “I’ll Be Okay”, which is about telling yourself that you will be okay. A lot of times it is about telling ourselves what we need to hear.

Singersroom: It is very much so a mental thing.

Chrisette Michele: Exactly, there is a lot of talking to myself on this song.

Singersroom: You definitely have to tell yourself what you need to hear. Keeping yourself focused and giving your self a pat on the back.

Chrisette Michele: Exactly.

Singersroom: When can we expect this new album?

Chrisette Michele: The release date for “I Am” is June 19th.

Watch Chrisette’s Live Performance at Singersroom Live! —— By: Interview By La’Juanda Knight


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