If you can’t hear the audio, please update your flash player. Thank you.
The singer sat down with concreteloop.com this week for an exclusive interview. Home girl even reads the blog and sets one of the commenters straight! The full audio is above, or you can read it. So make sure you check it out…
Angel: Hi Chrisette
Chrisette: Hi, How are you?
Angel: Pretty good. Thank you for taking the time to sit with me.
Chrisette: No doubt.
Angel: First off, I want to congratulate you on your upcoming album. I love your sound, so I can’t wait to hear the new album.
Chrisette: Thank you.
Angel: My first question is how did u end up signing up with Def Jam?
Chrisette: Um, I don’t know [laughs]. I guess they found me, from a bunch of piles of.. What are those things called?
Chrisette: You put it in an envelope and your names in it and your c.d. is in it…
Angel: A Demo. [laughs]
Chrisette: [laughs] Yeah, a big pile of demos & pictures. You don’t really hear that that much right now. But they actually looked through their piles and an assistant at Def Jam came onto it and gave it to Shalik Berry. He came and saw me perform, and a little while later I had an audition with L.A. Reid, and I was signed that third day.
Angel: Oh Ok. So your album is entitled ‘I AM’ how did you go about picking a title?
Chrisette: You know.. I wrote every song on the album and the thing I couldn’t come up with was a title for the album and that’s pretty crazy. But a bunch of people kept emailing me saying, “this is a good one” and “this is a good one.” And Finally somebody, Amber Nobal emailed me and said “How about ‘I Am’”
Angel: un huh
Chrisette: I looked at it for a few minutes and I said that makes sense, and I just went with it.
Angel: Your sound is really old school like Classical Jazz, mixed with Blues, mixed with Soul, mixed with a lot of different stuff. So, what would you, rather, who would you describe your influences as?
Chrisette: my influences are definitely Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Sarah Vaughn, which I incorporate into my live show. And then Lauryn Hill was definitely a great influence of mines when she came out, as well as Erykah Badu. I say those five people had the greatest influence on me.
Angel: Yeah, I saw that video on Youtube when you were singing that Billie Holiday song and I was like whoaaaa..
Chrisette: [happy] ooooOOh nooo
Angel: That was good, I was like whoa, you sound just like her..
Chrisette: [laughs] Cool.
Angel: Okay, so what producers and collaborators did you work with on this album?
Chrisette: I worked with Will.I.Am, John Legend, Babyface, Kelvin Wooten, Jazz, and I produced on the album as well.
Angel: So, who produced ‘Good Girl’ because that is my new jam.
Chrisette: Thank you. Um, Salam Remy he did Lauryn Hill’s first album.
Angel: Oh ok, that makes sense because that song is fly.
Chrisette: Yes, Salam Remy..
Angel: Can you bust the chorus for ‘Good Girl’ for my visitors..
Chrisette: [sings the chorus]
Angel: Ut oh! Thank you. [laughs]
Chrisette: Your welcome.
Angel: So how was it working with Jay-Z and Nas?
Chrisette: Scary. I was very scared to work with Jay-Z. You know sometimes every once in awhile, in life, you say ‘Why would I get the opportunity to do this.”
Chrisette: So I didn’t know what he saw in me. So I didn’t know what part of myself to give. But when we got there, I literally recorded four hooks in the studio and he ended up liking one. So, like I said it was just very scary. He is very meticulous – he knows what he wants. So it was very scary. But Nas wasn’t in the studio. Basically, his manager called me while I was in the studio in New York City and told me what the song was about. Had me listen to it, and I basically just wrote what I felt and handed it in and they liked it. I also got to write two other songs on his [Nas] album, which was very cool, and sing another hook. So
Angel: Ok. You said Jay-Z is very meticulous, but obviously he thought you were good enough to put on a hook so I guess you got the stamp of approval right?
Chrisette: I’m still thinking in my head, “You really like this.” You know like for real? [Both of us laugh].
Angel: So what type of music do you listen to?
Chrisette: Classical & Jazz and a lot of Adult contemporary. I listen to everything, hip-hop, country..everything.
Angel: Ok, so a very eclectic mix of stuff.
Chrisette: Yeah. Mostly Jazz and Classical – but yeah I listen to everything.
Angel: So, how do you feel about the whole music scene right now? Because we basically got a lot of pretty girls that can’t really sing their way out of a run-down strip club..
Angel: So how do you feel about the music scene right now?
Chrisette: We have a lot of wonderful dancers.
Angel: [laughs] What about singers though?
Chrisette: .. A lot of great choreography. A lot of very healthy people, and that’s wonderful. We have a great dance culture right now and I think that is a lot of fun for the young people to emulate when they watch it on television. We have a lot of cool outfits, but I don’t think we have a lot of singers right now.
Angel: We sure don’t. So, how are you gonna add on to this then? Because you’re a singer so you gotta find you way into the mix.
Chrisette: How do I find my mix into the dance scene that’s on right now?
Angel: Yeah, because you know that’s the mainstream thing right now. How you gonna find your way into this mix of dancers and people who can’t basically sing, when you actually have some concrete talent.
Chrisette: I have no idea. I have no idea, and it was never my plan to try and fit in. It was just a plan to be myself and see what happens. When I got signed to the label, I was like, “WORD?” [both of us laugh] So I don’t know. God’s favor is taking me places, so I just want to see what God is doing and leave it up to him. Because I have no idea sista, no idea.
Angel: Keep doing you and you don’t have to worry about anything.
Chrisette: Thank you.
Angel: Ok, so here go some random questions that some of my visitors wanted to ask you. First off, we read that you had a crush on John Legend, which you said you worked with him on your album just a minute ago..
Chrisette: I READ THAT TOO! And you know what’s interesting, is that when I was talking to the great and beautiful woman that I was speaking to that day. I don’t recall saying that I had a crush on John Legend.
Chrisette: But if I did, my rebuttal is who doesn’t have a crush on John Legend? Like, he’s gorgeous.
Angel: That’s true.
Chrisette: But I did get to work with him, and he was very very kind. And that’s all we did was work together. We met up. I think that same interview had a picture of he and I in Miami, where we sang together. So he is on my album, so we have collaborated and there will be performances of he and I together, but that’s inevitable. If people like to decide that I have a crush on John Legend they can do so. But I don’t recall saying such.
Angel: So, are you currently dating someone in the music industry? Or dating anyone in general?
Chrisette: [pause] I decided not to really go into detail about my dating life..
Angel: Ok. I can respect that.
Chrisette: thank you.
Angel: So I noticed that Amy Winehouse is in your top friends on myspace and do you plan on working with her in the future or did you work with her on this album?
Chrisette: It’s one of my plans to work with her in the future. She is an artist who I respect, because I think that she has a great voice. I think that she has a wonderful sound. I think that her lyrics are very daring. She sings a song about how she’s drunk and they wanted her to go to rehab and she said no. Her music is just fun to listen to, and very interesting. I just respect her as an artist.
Angel: Ok, I got a question from one of my commenters. I didn’t want to ask you – but since you seem cool, and I got the vibe that you might wanna clear it up. One of my commenters said, her name is Toya and she said she worked for Shalik Berry. And she claimed that she was the one that found your demo and helped push your music at Def Jam and she wanted to know why you dissed her once you got signed.
Chrisette: She is the assistant to Shalik Berry, and I guess she gave him my music when she found it. She came and listened to me sing at The Village Underground, she was very kind – did she really use the word diss?
Angel: She basically said why did you forget about her and her partner when they worked with your manager. She didn’t say diss, I just said diss myself, but she basically said why did you forget about her and her partner when she the one who helped find your demo and push it at Def Jam.
Chrisette: Well you can let Toya know, that at this current moment, I’m late on my car note. I still live at home with mom. The label pays for me to get my hair and nails done. So the same people who aren’t providing her with any money right now. Aren’t providing me any money right now. And if I could pay her in anyway I would, but I don’t have anything to give her. So I don’t know what she’d like. Perhaps a thank you, which she will get that on the cd cover.
Angel: Oh ok. Well thank you for clearing that up. And I’ll make sure to put that in the interview.
Angel: All right let me change the subject to something more fun. So, what’s your favorite movie?
Chrisette: Say again, I’m sorry.
Angel: What’s your favorite movie?
Chrisette: My favorite movie, um, Clueless.
Angel: Favorite song?
Chrisette: Ordinary people, I guess.
Angel: Favorite food.
Chrisette: pizza, baked macaroni and cheese.
Angel: You got any guilty pleasures like shows you watch that you don’t want nobody to know about. Or books you read or something like that?
Chrisette: Oh boy. The only thing I can think of is that I stare at people. But that’s not really a guilty pleasure.
Angel: Yeah, everybody does that. [laughs]
Chrisette: I don’t get any pleasure in it, it’s just something that’s weird that I do. Jill Scott people watches when she writes her music. She’ll sit in the park and she’ll just watch people and they’ll inspire her. So that’s something that I do. But I don’t think that I have any guilty pleasure right now.
Angel: Well since you brought up Jill Scott. Everytime we post pictures of you on the site, a lot of people say you favor her. Do you get a lot of compliments about your music as well, do you think you sound like her?
Chrisette: People say that I do. It was never my intention to try and sound like her. Actually, I didn’t have any cd’s until I was about seventeen or eighteen. So most of my musical influences come from the church, that I was raised in. So people say that and it is a compliment and I appreciate it.
Angel: Ok, in the next part of the interview, I’m just going to say like two words and you gotta pick one of them. For example, the first one is..
Angel: Usher or Justin Timberlake?
Chrisette: [loud laugh] Justin Timber… oh man. Justin Timberlake. [laughs]
Angel: Jay-Z or Nas?
Chrisette: [loud laughs] Dag. [inaudible comments] Dag..
Angel: You can say both if you want to. I’ll be nice. You can say both if you want to.
Chrisette: The truth of the matter is, you wanna know the truth?
Angel: Yeah the truth if you want. Yeah, keep it real.
Chrisette: If I wasn’t on they c.d.’s yet, and I didn’t know any of them. I probably would say Nas.
Angel: okay, okay. [laughs]
Angel: Mercedes or BMW?
Chrisette: I drive a Mercedes. Mercedes.
Angel: Real World or College Hill?
Chrisette: Real World
Angel: New York or L.A.?
Chrisette: Dag, those are my two spots. I guess you make more money in L.A. L.A.
Angel: Burger King or McDonalds?
Angel: Pepsi or Coca-Cola?
Angel: Gold or silver?
Angel: MTV or BET
Chrisette: Dang, this is where my fans choose if they gon like me or not. [both of us laugh]. Oh she don’t like us. You know what, I’ll say MTV, ‘cause they support all races.
Angel: Ok, that’s good. Well that was the last one anyway.
Angel: So do you wanna say anything to your fans or shout anyone out? Because I know my time is almost up.
Chrisette: I wanna give a shout out to Long Island.
Angel: And one more thing. Would you mind doing a drop for me on the site? Like say something like, “this is Chrisette Michele on concreteloop.com.”
Chrisette: Okay, you want me to say it now?
Angel: Yeah, I’m ready.
Chrisette: This is Chrisette Michele on Concreteloop.com
Angel: thank you.
Chrisette: OH, WAIT A SECOND! I just went on Concreteloop.com.
Angel: For real?
Chrisette: And I read these peoples things.
Angel: You read some of the comments or questions?
Chrisette: Yes, and I was very tempted to write back. But I read that I was gonna have a interview..
Angel: Did you see any questions that you wanted to answer that I didn’t ask?
Chrisette: Let me think for one second. Oh, somebody said, this is me about to be ghetto. So this will be me supporting my ghetto side.
Chrisette: Somebody said she needs to lose weight so she can become more marketable or something like that.
Chrisette: I just want to let that person know that I’m very very excited about being my size in this industry. Because the average woman size in America is a 14.
Angel: That’s true.
Chrisette: So at this particular moment, I am an average woman. And if you don’t know what an average woman looks like, you need to open your eyes and look again. That’s all.
Chrisette: Whoever said that really played they self. I was like, I bet your girl was my size. But anyway.
Angel: [laughs] Imma make sure to add that too.
Angel: well thank you for taking the time out to talk with me.
Chrisette: Okay. Concreteloop Rocks.
Angel: Thank you.
Chrisette: Have a good day.
Angel: You too.
CHRISETTE MICHELE’S ALBUM ‘I AM’ IN STORES JUNE 19TH!!
Click here to Pre-Order and check out the song ‘Good Girl’ below..