Currently putting the finishing touches on her soulful debut album, an artistic exploration that fuses 24-year old Chrisette Michele's diverse musical interest into a wonderland, the young artist couldn't be more pleased. I realize that I'm new to the music world, but I've been preparing for this moment for long time, said the Long Island native who once attended 5 Towns College. Even before signing a recording contract, Chrisette Michele had performed on the same concert bills with more established artists like Kem, India Arie, Angie Stone, and Lionel Richie. India 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, said Chrisette Michele. Working hard in the studio writing songs and recording demos, Chrisette Michele finished an album worth of material before even trying to get signed. I'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. Though already a fan of gospel and classical, it wasn't until Chrisette Michele was seventeen that she also developed a passion for jazz. When I was still in high school a teacher introduced me to jazz singer Astrud Gilberto, and afterwards my life was all about jazz, she remembers.With the release of, Chrisette Michele will soon be sharing those musical dreams with the rest of the world.
If you didn't get to know Chrisette Michele by way of Jay-Z (she was the one singing sparkling hooks on "Lost Ones") or Nas (she channeled Billie Holiday on "Can't Forget About You"), stop wasting valuable seconds. Though the hype on this pure-voiced, raunch-resistant songstress has her resuscitating a classic jazz sound that rarely infiltrates R&B--comparisons to Lady Day, Nina Simone, and Ella Fitzgerald are mounting--she's more her generation's answer to Erykah Badu: any notes she wraps her lips around come out fresh-sounding, and she adds to the effect with a built-in elegance that's irresistible to R&B and non-R&B fans alike. Hip-hoppers get a custom dose of Michele's magic on "Be O.K.," featuring the flabbergastingly prolific yet still likable Will.i.am, jazz sentimentalists will instantly succumb to "Like a Dream," and anybody with ears on his or her head will warm to the slinky slow jam that is "If I Have My Way." Michele's is a rare talent; count on this outstanding debut propelling her to stratospheric heights. --Tammy La Gorce