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4.6 out of 5 stars 188 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

2009 sophomore release from the Grammy Award-winning R&B vocalist. Two years after releasing her debut album I Am, which was nominated for a BET Award as well as two Grammy awards, Chrisette Michele is at it again. This time she is changing things up from the first album with a more edgy, youthful and urban feel. Collaborating with Compound Entertainment which includes Claude Kelly, Chuck Harmony and singer/songwriter NeYo they have infused her Jazz vocal style with more of a Pop feel leaning to a full integration of Hip Hop Soul. Features 'Epiphany (I'm Leaving)', 'Notebook', 'Blame It On Me' and many more.

About the Artist

It has been two years since sultry voiced singer Chrisette Michele released her stunning gold-certified debut I Am. Blessed with a gorgeous instrument and described as a "soulful songbird" by Entertainment Weekly, the Long Island native proved to the world that she could live up to the hype. Nominated for a BET Award for Best New Artist as well as two Grammy's, I Am was both a critical success and a fans delight.

Still, when it came time to begin recording her follow-up, the aptly titled Epiphany, she realized the need to challenge herself. "I felt like I was a little too shy and laidback my first time out," confesses Chrisette. "On my new project I wanted to raise the bar and step-out of my comfort zone. I wanted to make songs that were more edgy, youthful and urban.

Recruiting talented collaborators that include Ne-Yo, the singer/songwriter has infused her jazz vocal style with more pop. Marking a transition away from her traditional leanings to a fuller integration of hip-hop soul, Chrisette Michele was clearly conscious of the next level. Yet, as can clearly be heard on her newest single "Epiphany (I'm Leaving)," the 26-year-old has expanded her musical palette.

Constructed by Ne-Yo and Chuck Harmony, the title-track is a beautiful broken-hearted song that reveals the emotional misery behind Chrisette's lovely smile. "Ne-Yo took out time from his crazy schedule to talk about direction for some of the songs, including the pain of break-ups and the joys of new love," says Chrisette.

Opening with spacey keyboards and girl group backgrounds, Chrisette's bold declaration of fly girl independence ("It's over," she sings) on "Epiphany (I'm Leaving)" sets the tone of most of the disc. "That word `epiphany' just meant so much to me, because it was during the time that I was preparing to record that something clicked in my spirit." Chrisette's coming back much tougher! Nowhere does that toughness come across more than on the soulful "Blame It on Me." An awesome ballad that colors itself with a little Muscle Shoals soul, there is red dirt earthiness that is just completely raw. "You can say whatever you want, as long as its goodbye," Chrisette wails coldly.

That song is an amazing collaboration with Claude Kelly and Chrisette's writing with Chuck Harmony producing. A producer/ songwriter who is part of Ne-Yo's production collective Compound Entertainment, Chuck has worked on projects with Mary J. Blige, Janet Jackson and Celine Dion.

Since the release of her I Am, Chrisette has always toured endlessly with her band: the Truth and other R&B singers, Raheem DeVaughn, and Solange Knowles. "To me, nothing is more important than touring," she says. "Communicating with the audience through song can be magical. Singing in the studio is one thing, but you must be able to bring it to the stage too."

Citing Japan and Barbados as two of her favorite spots, Chrisette explains, "In Japan, it is just about the music, and an artist is judged by the material, not the latest gossip. While, in Barbados audiences just show such a passion, like they can pick-up what is going on in your heart." In addition, Chrisette also found time to record with The Roots ("Rising Up") and The Game ("Let Us Live").

"Honestly, I was anxious when I went to work with Game, but he turned out to be one of the nicest people I've ever met, and now he calls me `cuz'" Chrisette admits.

As if that was not enough, Chrisette also started working on her acting chops after appearing on an episode of Girlfriends. Playing herself in "What's Black-A-Lacking," an episode directed by series star Tracee Ellis Ross, she says, "That experience was amazing, because they allowed me to have so much input and let me to write my own scenes. Truthfully, there is no feeling like seeing myself on TV." Ne-Yo and Harmony were inspired to write "Another One." Opening with a lovely acoustic guitar and Chrisette singing quietly, "Another One" slowly builds to the point of explosion. "That is my favorite song on the album," Chrisette admits. Mixing rock guitars with hip-hop drum patterns, the track is an obvious winner. "Nobody captures New American music like Ne-Yo and the Compound crew."

Chrisette Michele worked with Rodney jerkins on the first album. "Anybody who thinks they can go into the studio with Rodney and not work is kidding themselves," she laughs.

While angst and heartbreak is part of Chrisette Michele's persona on her sophomore project, the power and strength of her material gives Epiphany the sound of a future classic. Without a doubt, this is the first great album of 2009.

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 5, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Def Jam
  • ASIN: B001U0HB92
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (188 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,769 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Yasmine Mohamed on May 5, 2009
Format: Audio CD
I bought the first album having heard her sing the hook on both Jay-Z and Nas records. I was very impressed with that album in the sense of it provided something different to what I was used to with R&B/Soul music. I really love this chick's jazzy feel and her voice is incredible. Songs like "Let's Rock", "Best Of Me" and "Mr Radio" were amongst my favorites.

Epiphany is an album whereby she has completely switched it up, still having that funk and jazz vibe from her previous album but with a more contemporary feel. I actually think this will appeal to a wider range of listeners as its very young, hip and fresh.

Unlike the previous album, I adore every single song on this album, and in my opinion each song has single potential. First and foremost, "On My Own" is sure to give you chills, because of the lyrical content (so many people feel this way) or because of the way she expresses how she feels with her voice. "Mr Right" will have you bopping like your listening to some funk or 80s rap music. I love the vocal harmonies on this song. "Playing Our Song" is a really fun song,for some reason it reminds me very much of the song "WOW" by Brandy...don't ask why it just does. I love this song and I am aware that Claude Kelly had input with this song. Very impressive. "Notebook" gives the old school vibe soul music, very relaxing and her voice really shines here. I can see the video for this being set in the 1920s. "Blame It On Me" is absolutely heart warming, the fact she's singing about wanting a relationship to be over regardless of the reason is touching; the same goes for "I'm Okay". Hands down "Epiphany" will be the reason people buy this album, if it wasn't for this single, I would not be aware of the album's existance (the truth).
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Format: Audio CD
If you think you've got Chrisette Michele figured out her new sophomore album Epiphany may prove that you don't have a clue. Die-hard fans will be surprised to hear a deviation from what her debut promised.

With a chic new look and fresh perspective following a disastrous relationship with her former manager, the Grammy-award winning singer-songwriter is back to issue overdue ultimatums on one hand and dote on budding love on the other.

For her second go-round the 26-year-old New York native enlists the help of consistent hit-maker Ne-Yo, who pens six of the 12 tracks, including the first single also titled "Epiphany." Together they strike gold, crafting a bevy of radio-friendly mid-tempo grooves like "Another One", "On My Own," and "What You Do," the latter of which features prominent background vocals from Ne-Yo.

The results are pleasing as Chrisette turns out to be quite a muse for his "fed-up-female" lyrics and catchy melodies. It just so happens that these songs reflect some of her personal experiences during the two years since her emergence.

Producer Chuck "Major" Harmony, in-house member of Ne-Yo's Compound Entertainment, creates a musical landscape that infuses the edginess of hip-hop with the tenderness of R&B. The sound is purely 2009, invoking little nostalgia to decades past. No Nina Simone samples here, but Chrisette still croons with the jazzy-ness of Ella Fitzgerald, at times relying on the delicate rasp of her soprano-contralto.

Though writing far less than with the first project, her skills are put to good use nonetheless, especially on the haunting "Blame It on Me." "You can say whatever you like/As long as we just say good bye/Blame it on me," she pleads.
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Format: Audio CD
Perhaps it amounts up to a musical prejiduce but when a song on any album says something like "featuring Ne-Yo" my caution lights go on.It's because I am expecting another product of the "United States Of Genericia" syndrome that effects most hip-hop influenced R&B artists recording today and that they seem all too obligated to embrace. A handful of artists ranging from Alicia Keys,John Legend,Raaphael Saadiq and even Imani Coppolla with her Little Jackie project seem to really be able to work credibly in both worlds.Lucky for us we can count the talented adolescent Chrisette Michele as one of them!Her debut album I Am(which I really need to hear fully) was a more sudtle jazzy effort. This one is actually quite a bit different obviously. Ne-Yo helps out as producer and his contribution is really helpful because he manages to add hip-hop to Chrisette's jazzy touches without destroying her special qualities for the sake of a quick ego trip. And that is a big key to making decent music in this day and age. The title song begins the album off with a great note;the music and the harmonic exchanges are just beautiful,one of the few songs musically AND lyrically remind me of Stevie Wonder. Especially considering it's coming from someone in the age group he was during his best period. This is a bit of a "breakup" album and not a new concept by any means. What makes this so wonderful is how sincere the whole thing sounds.Read more ›
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