Saturday, March 2, 2013

Chrisette Michele - “Its Only Hair”

Chrisette Michele 
“Its Only Hair”
"The Gifted Singer Opens up About Her Hectic, Healthy, Balanced Lifestyle" 

Her voice, unforgettable! Her retro, soulful style, sexy!  Since the release of her first CD, "I Am" in 2007, Chrisette Michele has delighted fans all over the world. Her success has brought about comparisons with big names that came before her like Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn and Billie Holiday. But lately, it's not her voice, but her hair that's making headlines.
    During her short time in the spotlight, fans have watched her go from short, to curly to coiffed with just about every color in between--depending on the music awards show and/or her music videos. . 

    I got an opportunity to catch up with the R & B singer/songwriter during her performance at Bayfest in Mobile, Alabama. She didn't disappoint, entering the room casual-chic. Chrisette was wearing a denim jacket with a tight black and blue mini skirt. Right off you couldn't help but notice her make-up was flawless, her full red lips colored to perfection; her smoky colored eyes signaling that "come hither" look.  But, the one thing you could definitely not ignore, Chrisette Michele's "new" super short, natural hair-do. 

    The golden transition for this singer with the golden pipes came when she was totally fed up with her tresses. "One day while on tour I decided to cut all of my hair off," said Chrisette. "I was tired of my hair being burned and over processed; yanked and pulled.  "I knew it was over for me when a small piece of bonded hair would not come out right before a performance," laughed Chrisette. "So by the end of the tour, I stepped off the tour bus, went straight to the barber shop and I got a hair cut, all the way down to the roots."
    It's not the first time she's decided to loose the locks. "I've been experimenting with different hair styles since I was in the seventh grade." The first time I went natural was when I was in high school. But, I cut my hair this time because I wanted to take control of my body and my body image. "I wanted to apologize to myself for all the things I did to ruin my hair while on the road, explained Michele. "I wanted a new relationship with myself, beginning with my hair." 

   She's not alone, other singers and performers like Janet Jackson, Solange Knowles and India Arie are "turning heads" as Hollywood goes healthy. Hollywood celebrities who are now free of hair weave. They are making the choice to wear their hair natural, free of chemical relaxers or treatments. "Going natural is so much healthier for my hair. I don't have the stress of chemicals and the flat irons. Today, the balance of my well being is so much easier now that the total focus is not my hair, "confessed Chrisette.
      Let's face it black women are the queens of self-expression. We have an insatiable appetite when it comes to hair and make-up. It's a billion dollar industry, however, Chrisette Michele is not phased by the "need to please." "I don't think about the industry when I'm thinking about changing my look, my hair or lip color, it has nothing to do with what anyone else is doing, so I don't have to make up a reason for doing it. "Its more about what I'm feeling at the moment, I worry about the repercussions later," Michele adds.

 chrisette-michelleYOUR BODY IS YOUR TEMPLE: 
   Though she gets a good workout vocally during her high energy performances, Chrisette Michele says diet and exercise is something she simply can't afford to ignore. Right after cutting her hair, she enlisted the help of "The Hollywood Trainer", Janette Jenkins! "Initially Janette was training me 5 days a week and I took 3 months from performing and stayed in Los Angeles. I worked with Janette, went to the gym and ate correctly. "Cutting my hair for me was just the beginning of me saying to my body, I'm ready to take care of you and treat you kindly," said Chrisette.  
     One of the biggest benefits following the big chop has been her hair is now easier to maintain. "I simply wash and condition it', says Chrisette. "  But, a lot of black women exercise less than they should because of hair care worries.  "They don't want to work out because they don't want to mess up their hair." If you sweat, you can wash your hair and not worry about getting it styled or straighten if it's natural. "It not that serious, it's just hair, it will grow back".

    Maintaining a healthy diet on the road is her biggest challenge yet! "It can really get scary when you are touring and you don't have a lot of time. Almost everything in the airports and in the convenience stores is processed. "There's so much salt, everything is high in sugar. There's so much out there you can get for 4 or 5-dollars to satisfy your hunger, but you end up paying the ultimate price with your health," cautioned Chrisette. 
    "One thing I do as an alternative to fast food is make a stop in whole food stores and make a stop at Trader Joe's. "I stock up the bus and make sure we've gotten lots of nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables and things you don't have to cook. "I stick to fish and chicken. I eat a lot of vegetables and I buy things with lots of antioxidants so that my skin looks good and I feel good on stage." 
  "I'm so serious about taking my vitamins. I also take cod liver oil.  My grandmother says cod liver oil heals everything."  I add it to a smoothie-shake here and there in the morning and surprisingly you can't taste it because it's overpowered by the fruits and the milk. While I only occasionally drink milk, I try to avoid a lot of dairy because it helps to limit the amount of mucus build-up in my voice".  I also don't do a lot of foods high in acid; that helps with things like acid reflux so that nothing is coming up to mess with my vocal cords when I'm performing. "I've also cut down on red meats," revealed Michele.
    Family influence and family values have been instrumental in her meteoric rise to the top.  Born Chrisette Michele Payne in 1982, God and gospel were always instrumental in the Payne household.  Chrisette's father served as deacon and played organ in the church, while her mother served as the church's choir director. Together they helped the young aspiring starlet discover her unique vocal instrument with one of her very first performances in church at the tender age of four.

   Once described as a "soulful songbird" by Entertainment Weekly, the Long Island native proved she could live up to the hype.  In addition to being one of Def Jam's most promising talents, Chrisette Michele was nominated for a BET Award for Best New Artist as well as two Grammy's.  Her CD entitled "I Am," was both a critical success and a fan's delight. Two years later, she followed that up with "Epiphany. " 
     With the help of songwriter and producer Ne-Yo, Chrisette's single "I'm Leaving" from her aptly titled sophomore project--"Epiphany" the singer had another hit.
This time though she raised the bar and stepped out of her comfort zone. "I wanted to make songs on my second CD more edgy, youthful and urban," Chrisette told <> <>  during an interview.

    And her fans can't get enough. For more than three years heartbroken females everywhere have united in dubbing her the "the voice" of bad breakups. Others praise Michele for her uplifting lyrics that express the joy associated with finding a new love.  

    As if the big transition to her health and wellness weren't enough, Chrisette spent a lot of time shooting a new video -"I'm a Star", a new single that's being released on her third CD-"Let Freedom Reign".  "I'm a Star" is already resonating with teen girl organizations around the country who have adopted the song as a way to help young girls with self-esteem and abusive boyfriends.
     "Let Freedom Reign" is also about self discovery. "I've learned people are not as scary as they were in the beginning of my career.  I was petrified of people when I first started this journey because as I heard all of this scary stuff about blogs, website and gossip columns, it had me really scared." It was important to shield myself in the beginning until I got my feet wet. My feet are wet and now I'm in waste deep. My latest CD reflects where I am right now in my life. "I've learned to be myself, period".  It's about being completely honest, free to love yourself and getting excited about those liberties.
     "My voice is so very important to me." The more I find out things about myself, the more I can bring to the creative process. So if I'm constantly attentive to my health and my voice, the creative process becomes more fun for me and I simply don't have to worry about limitations."

   No limitations for a rising young star who reigns supreme in an industry of mindless compositions and one hit wonders. Chrisette Michele, America's gifted singer and songwriter exercising the freedom to "keep it real" in and out of the studio. 


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