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 and this Long Island bred songwriter and vocalist has a deep appreciation for the harmonic foundations that includes gospel and jazz. â€œI did my first solo when I was four years old,â€ Chrisette remembers.
Currently putting the finishing touches on her soulful debut album, an artistic exploration that fuses Chrisetteâ€™s diverse musical interest into a wonderland, the young artist couldnâ€™t be more pleased. â€œI realize that Iâ€™m new to the music world, but Iâ€™ve been preparing for this moment for long time.â€
Even before signing on the dotted line of her Def Jam contract last year, the multitalented soul sister had toured with more established artists like Kem and India Arie. â€œIndia saw me singing at the Village Underground in New York City. She came backstage that first night and graciously offered me a gig as her opening act.â€
Working hard in the studio writing songs and recording demos, Chrisette finished an album worth of material before even trying to get signed. â€œIâ€™ve been creating songs since I was twelve, so I knew I needed the right musical blend in order to stand-out from the many other performers trying to get a deal.â€
While not hung-up on genre labels, Chrisette Michele says, â€œIâ€™m excited about finding my place amongst young composers like Alicia Keys and Jill Scott. My goal from the moment I was signed by Antonio â€œLAâ€ Reid, Chairman and CEO, Island Def Jam Music Group, was to create a seamless album that mixes soul and pop in a way that will have people coming back to again and again.â€ Favorite contemporary artists that are in high rotation include, Beyonce, Kanye West and NAS.
Days after giving LA â€œgoose bumpsâ€ during the audition, the young singer found herself in a California studio called Brandonâ€™s Way having a creative conversation with Babyface.
Over the course of a few days, the duo recorded seven tracks, four of which will be heard on her upcoming release. â€œBabyface and I got into a conversation about the love he has for his children,â€ she says. â€œSo, the first song I penned was called â€˜My Joy.â€™ Itâ€™s a song about a child speaking to his or her father, and I think itâ€™s quite special. Observing the artistry that Babyface possesses has hopefully made me a better performer as well.â€
Having grown-up in the suburbs of Long Island, Chrisette didnâ€™t spend much time planted in front of the television. â€œMy parents had me in girl scouts, tap class and piano lessons,â€ Chrisette says. â€œIt wasnâ€™t like I was cut off from the world, but there just wasnâ€™t a lot of media influence in my life during those early years.â€
Chrisette Michele has always been true to herself. â€œI donâ€™t feel as though I was the typical deaconâ€™s kid, because I was taught early on to speak my mind and not be afraid to think,â€ she says. â€œTo me, that is one of things that helped keep me focused as an artist who is trying to do something different in music.â€
A self-described â€œgirly girlâ€ Chrisette says, â€œI have definite older child syndrome. I helped my mom raise my brothers like they were my own children, but I also had the pleasure of being daddyâ€™s little princess.â€
In addition to her own relatives, Chrisette was blessed with an extended family that included the many folks that her mother allowed to room in their house. â€œIf my mother saw a homeless pregnant woman on the street, chances are they would soon be staying with us,â€ Chrisette laughs. â€œI learned so much about the world listening to these folkâ€™s stories, and to this day their experiences can be heard in my material.â€
Though already a fan of gospel and classical, it wasnâ€™t until Chrisette Michele was seventeen that she also developed a passion for jazz. â€œWhen I was still in high school a teacher introduced me to jazz singer Astrud Gilberto, and afterwards my life was all about jazz,â€ she remembers.
Majoring in music at 5 Towns College in Long Island, Chrisette cites the nurturing sway of her teachers for where she is today. â€œAlthough I did have talent, often that is not enough,â€ she says. â€œMy professors taught me how to a professional and to be serious about my music. They taught me how to put the music that I dream about at night on paper in the morning.â€
With the release of her debut album, Chrisette Michele will soon be sharing those musical dreams with the rest of the world.