With its soulful tone and jazzy edge, Chrisette Michele's voice has been compared to legends such as Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald. Her sweet sound also gives Gayle goose bumps and has attracted the attention of music industry giants including Jay-Z , "L.A." Reid and Babyface. Singer, songwriter and composer Chrisette talks to Gayle about her passion for singing and the inspiration behind her music.
Just 24 years old, Chrisette's mature, complex voice belies her age, but the songstress says she's been cultivating her talent since the age of 8. From a number of jazz bands to the church choir to musical theater, Chrisette was involved with music at every stage, in every way imaginable. Her passion for jazz, which is a heavy influence in her music today, also began when she was a child. "It was the drums," she says. "The beat…the bop-your-head moving and the dancing and the choir—moving the saxophone around."
Another important factor in Chrisette's music is storytelling. "I love to tell stories and I love to tell other people's stories," she says. For her debut album I Am, Chrisette wrote all the music, including songs about romantic love and a heartwarming tribute to her father, who she says has always nurtured her artistic side. No matter what the subject, Chrisette says she puts her heart into everything she sings. "I just feel liberated—for the people who are listening and for myself."
Printed from Oprah.com on Thursday, December 12, 2013