Chrisette Michele Reveals Her Soul
JGoode | 10/16/2009, 12:20 a.m.
“It has never been so hard for me to sing before,” said Chrisette Michele. The reason she is having difficulty in singing is not because she has butterflies in her stomach or because she is touring with neo soul crooner Maxwell and rapper Common or because she is not having an easy time in getting over a cold. It is because her music has become so personal.
Her debut album “I Am” introduced her to America but it did not reveal who she is. “On the first album although I wrote every song, it was not autobiographical because they were stories from other people,” Chrisette said. “I felt like I was a little too shy and laid back my first time out.” With her sophomore release Chrisette wanted to be different and bolder. She believes that on a second album if a singer sounds exactly like he/she did the first time he/she released an album then the artist has not grown or is trying to play it safe, one thing she said she would never do. With her second album, “Epiphany, “ she steps out of her comfort zone to reveal her soul. Partnering with Ne-Yo, Chrisette branches out from her jazz vocal roots and experiments with the hip hop sound.
“Epiphany” introduces a new sound for Chrisette, and it also gives fans a closer look at her soul as “Epiphany.” “On the first album I wrote every song although it was not autobiographical. They were stories from other people,” said Chrisette. “This time around it is all autobiographical, so everything that is on this record I have been through.” Her emotional connection to her music translates to the stage for a performance that is raw with emotion. “That is what makes them so real and so tough,” she said about the songs she has written. “It has never been so hard for me to sing songs before until we put this record together because it is all from the bottom of my heart.”
Her heart was seen on the stage when she opened for neo soul singer Maxwell this past Tuesday night at the Toyota Center. “I am so grateful to Texas for being so kind to me,” said Chrisette. She is touring with Maxwell and Common sand says that she is having a blast. Calling Maxwell the 2009 Marvin Gaye, she says Maxwell has a lot of heart. “Something that I admire about him is that he is not just a neo soul artist. This is a man of class, a man of style.”
Although her touring with Maxwell and Common is coming to an end, Chrisette seems to always be on tour. “Touring is never over,” said Chrisette. “If I did not have the ability to perform on stage I would not still be out. I believe that.” Look for Chrisette when she headlines a tour next year with her brother.
Always pushing the envelope and wanting to reinvent herself Chrisette is one who thinks outside the box. “I am terribly creative,” she admits. So look for her to dip and dive into other avenues. One avenue on which to keep your eyes is a documentary entitled “Project Awareness.” Now Chrisette wouldn’t give me much insight into her involvement with the project about black on black crime and other things plaguing the African American community, but she did say she would tweet about it from time to time. Keep your eyes and ears to the street as Chrisette Michele is one to look out for.