Beauty, class, wit and perseverance are all words that describe Def Jam recording artist Chrisette Michele. In 2009 alone Michele earned her first Grammy Award; a chart-topping debut with her sophomore album “Epiphany” and the ears of men and women around the world that simply can’t get enough of soulful and relatable music.
In this candid interview with Singersroom, Michele lets loose, shedding light on everything from her love of fashion to men and relationships and later sharing her thoughts on the return of both Maxwell and Whitney Houston. Michele also reveals which Singersroom top “30 Under 30” artist she thinks is well deserving of the title and why he’s on her radar.
Singersroom: The video for “What You Do” is out and looks great. What was the best part of shooting and prepping for the video ?
Chrisette Michele: I had so much fun because we got to play with a bunch of clothes and figure out what we wanted to do fashion wise first. I love clothes, so putting on the outfits was the best part. But shooting it, actually being outside by that grand piano in front of the bridge on the water in New York City , Brooklyn, was crazy.
Singersroom: That sounds fun. You worked with June Ambroseâ¦
Chrisette Michele: June Ambrose and I had a lot of fun with fashion. I have a vendetta against any girl with thick thighs that says that they can’t be fashionable. I made it my business to make sure that me and June could ‘go in’ when it comes to clothes. We looked at a bunch of pictures from magazines that we could find, national and international, and she sent out her assistants and all of her helpers to find each piece weeks before the shoot. We just had a blast.
We wanted to be just fashion forward but super, super, tasteful and super, super classy.
Singersroom: Was it hard trying to achieve that look?
Chrisette Michele: I’ve always got something in my head. Like if you were to say Chrisette “if you were going to invent a soda can, what would you want it to look like?” I’ve probably already thought about it. So I’m always thinking about the way I want things to look. So that part wasn’t hard.
Singersroom: “What You Do” begins with “say it with your actions”â¦ What annoys you most about men?
Chrisette Michele: A lot of times you’ll meet an eager guy who is just not even excited about falling in love. And really they just need to hold on… hold his horses, calm down and let the relationship happen as it may. But yeah, excited/over eager guys who like to rush relationships are taxing on my emotions sometimes.
Singersroom: We’re showing appreciation for R&B guys under the age of 30 right now. If you had to pick out a guy in R&B for an event such as a friend’s wedding or special event, who would it be ?
Chrisette Michele: Trey Songzâ¦ He is absolutely incredible. His voice is out of control. He is next in whatever there is a next for as far as R&B guys under 30…he’s it totally.
Singersroom: There are a series of veteran artists like Whitney Houston, Monica and Sade making a comeback this year. Who are you most looking forward to?
Chrisette Michele: I was on tour with Maxwell and being out with him on the road is incredible because he represents a certain type of music and class and element of music that people were waiting for. His comeback was really, really exciting. The fact that I could be included with his comeback, as far as being on tour with him is just awesome. But to be honest I can’t choose. I mean you have Sade coming out. You got Whitney Houston coming out and you can’t really choose between those people. They’re beyond incredible.
When I was young I was into jazz. It was Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Sarah Vaughn. When I got older I began to get in touch my femininity and find who I was as woman, it was Anita Baker, it was Whitney Houston and Chaka and of course Sade but as I said, I was a Jazz head.
Singersroom: When it comes to Whitney, what about her makes people support and anticipate this comeback in your opinion?
Chrisette Michele: When I got older and actually in my house now are some of her live show DVDs and things she has done live. Of course everyone loves “I Will Always Love You” and “The Preachers Wife”. The way that she was so consistent with her style; year after year after year â¦everything was always classy and well put together. When she came back at the Grammysâ¦ she still looks like Whitney Houston with an element of class that is totally missing from the industry right now. She’s always been a lady and I appreciate that about her.
Singersroom: For those looking at you as an inspiration, like you looked at let’s say Sarah Vaughn, what advice would you give in terms of making it in this business today?
Chrisette Michele: One of the main things is keeping your family close. I know a lot of us get really, really excited about the entertainment industry and will believe somebody that says they’re part of the industry and they will give their all and wares, as opposed to saying mom this is what I’m thinking can you help me out. Two, get a job and support yourself and your craft before somebody else does because once somebody else is handing you their money they’re going to expect you to give back a whole bunch of things in the long run. Support yourself as much as you can as opposed to asking other people for support and of course get a great lawyer from the beginning.
—— By: Njai Joszor