***Author’s Note: This review was written based on the 6:30 show. Attendees at the 9:30 show have reported a significantly less satisfying experience. It has been reported that the 9:30 show including only four songs and about 25 minutes of performance time and that the connection with the audience was extremely poor. The show began late and was followed by a hasty exit with no time for autographs or fan interaction***
Chrisette Michele is an artist who believes in staying true to herself in a day and age where conformity is the industry standard.
Performing live at the Vonn Jazz supper club yesterday, she played to the sold out crowd with an understated presentation that stood in sharp contrast with the mass produced, special effect heavy concerts that have come to be expected by today’s audiences.
Chrisette appeared onstage simply dressed in jeans and a white top, unscripted and unchoreographed, and delivered a vocal performance that, while more noticeably more mechanical and subdued than usual, was still all about raw artistry.
From her triumphant, don’t-mess-with-me rendition of I’m a Star, to the rich, pulsating rhythms of Unsaid, Chrisette carried the evening with a voice that was visceral and beautiful without the need for illusion or artifice.
Concertgoers were understandably disappointed that the performance, which clocked in at just under an hour, felt slightly rushed and started fifteen minutes past the scheduled time.
Some of the highlights of the evening included If Nobody Sang Along, a piece about what it means to be a recording artist, which Chrisette delivered in a clear true voice that mirrored with poignant honesty the thoughts and emotions she felt on the inside. The final song, Blame it on Me, was the one song of the night that drew a palpable response from listeners, who waved their arms and swayed while reliving memories of their own experiences with lost love, still branded inside of them like the cold blue fire that burns at the center of a flame.
glowbass.com caught up Chrisette Michele following the performance for a short conversation about her latest album and her growth and development as an artist.
Examiner: Tell me in your own words a little bit about your journey as a singer, songwriter and artist.
Chrisette Michele: So far it’s been four years of family taking care of me, a record deal at Def Jam, a Grammy Award. It has been a fun time, three albums in.
Examiner: I love the title of your last album, Let Freedom Reign. What was the inspiration for that title and how does it speak to your evolution as an artist?
Chrisette Michele: Really, a myriad of people, especially Dr. Martin Luther King. It’s the idea that freedom is available to whoever decides to allow it to be the core control of their life.
Examiner: This album is very honest. It says a lot about who you are as a person. Do you ever feel that it makes you too vulnerable to the public, or is that something that you set out to accomplish by design?
Chrisette Michele: Definitely, sometimes I get nervous about being a little too vulnerable. Sometimes I lie and make believe that I’m something that I’m not, like in love, or in deep distress. But most of the time when it’s not about love, it’s really about me.
Examiner: What is your favorite track from Let Freedom Reign and why?
Chrisette Michele: My favorite track, there’s a few of them, but one, If Nobody Sang Along, that’s definitely the most honest and the most vulnerable, and I’ve got to let things off my chest.
Examiner: Music helps many people get through all kinds of tough situations and difficult times. What song, if any, has helped you though some of your own challenging moments?
Chrisette Michele: You know, the song Blame it on Me has really taught me what it means to cater to a fan base. That song showed me that people in the audience are vulnerable too. When they sing along with me, they are just as uncomfortable as I might be telling my story. That’s why I continue to write break up songs for them, like Goodbye Game.
Examiner: If there is one message that you hope that your listeners will take from your music, what would it be and why?
Chrisette Michele: You can do anything. You can accomplish anything. You can get through anything. By the grace of God, and especially with the strength of a beautiful family. A lot of us in the music industry depend on crazies. I have been lucky enough to have my mom and dad with me.
Examiner: To wrap up, what is one fun fact that you can share with your fans that not many people know about you?
Chrisette Michele: I have about 200 or 300 pairs of shoes and I have just about as much lipstick!
For more information on Chrisette Michele, visit her website: www.thisischrisettemichele.com