Chrisette Michele has so much to be thankful for. She recently appeared at the Soul Train Music Awards during the cypher segment performing her new single “Steady” from her upcoming album, Milestone. She has her own label, Rich Hipster, and if things could not get any better she is newly engaged. The moment Michele and her team walked into the conference room on the 25th floor of the John Hancock building in Chicago, you could just feel the peace. She is in a good space. We talked about everything from love to her music.
Congrats on the release of your newest single, “Steady” on iTunes. How does it feel?
When it comes to singles, you release it then you hold your breath for about six weeks and see what happens.
This single has a distinct sound. How would you label it and what kind of sound where you going for?
People have been calling it Trap-Soul, I kind of feel that. I didn’t think to call it anything. I was playing in the studio. Its literally a paintbrush. I wanted to have fun, I wanted to bop my head. I wanted to be able to play music loud in my car. I want people to kind of watch.
The soul train cypher was awesome! Could you talk a little about how it felt to be involved?
Any opportunity to be near Erykah Badu is epic sauce. She is definitely my favorite and she has set the bar for so many things in my life. She just came out with a mixtape so I really felt like it was ok to do “Steady” with Erykah Badu because she understood. Then she made all those jokes about Hip Hop and rappers. She was having fun with it and so could I.
It feels like Hip-Hop.
Yeah, it definitely is in a hip-hop space. I missed the sound that I did with Rick Ross, that Aston Martin sound. When I decided to put out my own album I said you know I can do whatever I want. I can go back to the Hip-Hop roots that I started with.
Your newest project is called Milestone. What is the significance of the name?
I’ve been in the industry now for 10 years. I feel like I’ve come through so many highs and lows. I went through litigation for seven years. I finally got out it. I found love, and engagement. I feel blessed. I feel really really blessed.
What song defines this project?
They all are a definitions of me. There are two songs that define me in this moment. I have one song called “To The Moon.” It’s about the guy that I’m engaged to, Doug who I was in love with 10 years back. We found each other again and then started this journey again with him. With him by my side I feel like I can go to the moon. That’s the space I’m in now. Then there is this other song called “Diamond Letter.” For the first time in my career I decided I was going to write a song about my ex and say it’s over. I had to do it. I had to say goodbye to all of the bad experiences that I’ve ever had. Having this ring on my finger really makes me feel like I have to have closure. I’m writing a letter to this ex with this diamond on my finger.
Could you feel the emotion leaving you as you wrote it?
I could and when I sang it in the studio it was surreal for me. A real moment.
Who is doing the production on Milestone?
We hung out with a young man by the name of Blickie Blaze and Four Kings production really did most of the work on this album. This is the third album I’ve recorded since I started recording a new album. So the third time is the charm.
Will there be other albums immediately after Milestone?
I’m not sure. A lot of times the fans will speak louder than me and I’ll have to stay on the road for a longer time than I planned. That seems to be the consensus for most of the albums, we dont seem to get off the road in time, so this time we will have a studio on the back of the tour bus and see how that goes.
So talk about Rich Hipster, your label, and what it feels like to be truly independent.
Having your own label is like having your own pet in that it may pee on the floor, you have to walk it, feed it, groom it. It’s a lot of work. It’s really cute but it may take a [email protected]#$. Its not as easy as it sounds. Putting out albums is work and a lot of financial planning.
What are your thoughts on the resurgence of soul music and where do you think you fit in?
I don’t think anybody knows where they fit in with soul music right now. I think everybody is a little bit up in arms wondering about the state of soul music in general. It’s currently colorless. It doesn’t matter if you are Black, White or Asian, as long as you have a soulful voice, you can say you sing soul.