Thursday, May 10

YBF Interview: Chrisette Michele

She's a fab chick in her own rite. For anybody wanting something fresh in the music game--It's Chrisette. I had the fab opportunity to interview her recently. Check it out:

Natasha/YBF: First-I love your voice. If I could listen to just Neo Soul all day…I’m a happy chick. And your voice and music does it for me. It’s what’s missing in R&B these days.

Chrisette: Oh thank you.

Natasha: Where did your musical sound come from? Who are your musical inspirations?

Chrisette: I started singing when I was 4….in the church. I listened to people like Ella Fitzgerald all the time.

Natasha: How do you feel about being compared to Jill Scott or Sade?

Chrisette: I haven’t heard that. When “Smooth Operator” came out I was about 7. And I loved it. Both of them are legends so I’m honored.

What about Etta James or Donnie Hathaway?

I’m a composer before I’m a producer so that would mean a lot to me. Donnie Hathaway was also a composer and a producer.

Natasha: How was it working with Nas?

Chrisette: I first freestyled over a track for Kelis. She did use it on her album on the track “I Won’t Hold Back.” He wasn’t in the studio when I did 3 of the songs for his album. Some kind of way we sill meshed. He’s like my favorite rapper.

Natasha: Did you know each other before you were signed to Def Jam?

Chrisette: I don’t even know how we met or how he got in contact with me. But we are on the same label. He and my mother grew up in the same projects building so there was some history some kind of way.

Natasha: How is it working with Jay?

Chrisette: Great. At one point we were writing 4 hooks. And he turned around and was like, “Can I be honest with you? I don’t like that one.” So we just kept it moving. ’ I didn’t find out “Lost Ones” made the album until somebody called me and told me it was on the radio. I ran home just to hear it on the radio. I was so happy.

Natasha: How did the whole Def Jam signing come along anyway?

Chrisette: An A&R saw me singing at The Village Underground and he had me come sing for L.A. Reid a week later. And I got signed on the spot.

{A ridiculous amount of sirens and traffic comes over the phone}

Natasha: Where are you at right now?

Chrisette: I’m on my way to Bloomingdales in NY. Going shopping a bit.

Natasha: That’s always fun. So I love “My Joy”. Tell me about it--why you wrote it and who it’s for.

Chrisette: I wrote it for my Dad. He’s been very kind to me throughout my life. I was sitting with Babyface one day and he pulled out a guitar. I asked him what inspired him and he said his kids. So I just started writing about what inspired me—my dad.

Natasha: What’s your next single?

Chrisette: “Your Joy” and “If I Have My Way” will be out at the same time. We’re going to shoot the videos for both next week.

Natasha: Do you have any celebrity crushes?

Chrisette: I don’t know if I should tell you. {Laughs}

Natasha: Oh yes. You can tell me. We probably have the same crushes.

Chrisette: But I just met him. We sang together in Miami. And I admire him and he has that good, humble vibe. I describe myself as the female John Legend.

Natasha: I knew it. I saw pics of y’all from that performance.

Chrisette: Yeah. He’s just so talented. {Laughs}

Natasha: Do you ever read gossip sites?

Chrisette: Yes. I do. I read them to see what I should and shouldn’t do. We live in a media obsessed world so I look at what all the hype is about. I just want to understand what the hype is about. I didn’t grow up with all that around me.

Natasha: Which celebs have you met that you were completely star struck over when you met them?

Chrisette: Beyonce.

Natasha: I understand. I would be too.

Chrisette: O my God. When she told me I was beautiful…I went around telling everybody. She’s so sweet and so lady like. I told her how happy I was to meet her and she goes, “You’re so beautiful”. I like that we’re learning how to be a lady from her.

Natasha: Who do you want to collaborate with?

Chrisette: I’ve been collaborating with many of the people I love already. But probably John Mayer…and Dave Matthews.

Natasha: What’s your guiltiest pleasure?

Chrisette: Ray’s Pizza in Manhattan.

Natasha: What’s your worst habit?

Chrisette: I stare at people all the time. I just stare. Like, I’m staring at this girl right now. Is that bad? I just love to watch people and their styles. And I have very big eyes so even when I’m not staring people think I am staring. Weird right?

Natasha: No. Not really.

Chrisette: And I talk to myself when I’m real tired.

Natasha: Now that’s different. Just don’t answer yourself. So what’s your fashion style?

Chrisette: I love Audrey Hepburn. I love the old jazz greats. And Billy Holliday. Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez are great. Everybody knows their style is impeccable. I’m definitely doing my own fashion thing too.

Natasha: Sow what else besides the singing are you doing?

Chrisette: I’m getting into Broadway, film, makeup modeling.

Natasha: Who are you modeling makeup for?

Chrisette: I think I should keep it a secret for now. {laughs} Things are still being worked out.

Natasha: So you’re still in college? How is the balancing act working out for you?

I just finished with college. I want to further my degree though because I want to open my own school one day. I want to be a professor one day.

Natasha: That’s great. What else do you want your fans who to know about you?

Chrisette: Check me out on my myspace if you don’t know me. I’m me. I’m real excited that I can be myself with this whole album. I can be me. I can’t wait to meet all my young girls when I go out to my performances. Esp. those with self esteem issues.

Natasha: Are you doing any type of organizations for young girls with self esteem issues?

Chrisette: Yes, the “I Am” campaign is kicking off. Don’t be afraid to be who you are. There will be a few girls who will win a chance to be in a commercial and will be able to let other girls know who they are.

Chrisette has released four tracks off her forthcoming album exclusively on her Myspace page. The songs are titled, "Your Joy," "If I Have My Way," "Good Girl," and "Like A Dream". The album drops June 19th.