Friday, March 29, 2013


(Huntsville, AL.)--It's Holy Week, a season that is sacred for many Christians around the world.  Easter is a time of traditions, rituals and reflection.  This Holy Week is also a time of new birth and new beginnings!  Traditionally it is a time when many churches that have barely had enough people to pass the collection plate find their pews are swollen.  Easter and Christmas are two of the most attended services of the year for many churches everywhere.  But, as soon as the Easter bunny and "The Passion of The Christ" movie fade to black, the pews are empty again.

If ever there was a time Christians need to understand "faith" is about more than just mouthing words it is now.  Faith is about praising and serving God every single day he allows us to see the rising of the sun. I've learned to praise him in advance of the "breakthrough" because my faith today helps me to understand despite what it looks like, the blessing is on the way! My spiritual walk in 2013 is strong and God gives me strength in the walk everyday. Oh my how I've changed in the last two years.  Today, in this season I hear God clearly.  All my life I've heard the ministers preach, "God is not the author of confusion." Let's just say in the past my life was so chaotic I absolutely missed his whispers.

How many of us have been guilty of what I call being "Emergency Christians?" You know, "church folks" who only feel the power of their "faith or The Holy Spirit" when we are in trouble or in need?  We keep God under the bed like a chain smoker keeps a single cigarette hidden in their sock drawer, "just in case!"

This week, more than ever I am taking the time to really think about my purpose driven life and the rituals and traditions of the Easter season.

I've grown tired of going from one baptist church after another where the words, "he died, he died, he died and on the third day he rose again" are shouted from the pulpit.  Today, in this season of my life,  I am eager to know what happened between the birth and the resurrection?  These are questions I am taking the time to reflect, research and know for myself. I am also re-examining my passion and getting a full understanding of what I know for sure, "my blessing is tied directly to my service!"

How many of us are truly living our lives in 2013 as Jesus Christ did? Are you a blessing to someone else?  Are you "witnessing" to everyone you meet or are you too busy being self-centered and or self-absorbed?

I am not Catholic, however, I was moved this week when I saw newly elected Pope Francis washing and kissing the feet of prisoners in Italy. Never before, or at least not in my life time have I a witnessed the head of the Catholic church's humility in such a way.  Pope Francis took on this ritual as Christ did with the disciples before what Christians believed was "the last supper!"

According to Sara Titterton of "The Telegraph," a newspaper in the UK, retired pontiff Benedict XV1 revised the ritual in 2007 by selecting 12 lay men in Rome for the ceremony. However, the new Pope Francis shook up this Catholic tradition Thursday by choosing to honor not only prisoners, but women as well as men.  Reportedly women were not allowed for this sacred ceremony, let alone cameras and electronic media.

This newly selected head of the Catholic church is using this week to remind Christians around the world what's at stake with this ancient ritual. Though he is in what many might consider the most esteemed  "role of a lifetime," this man who sits at the helm is driven by simply being a servant.

What a way to take the world to church by continuing to be a blessing to the poor and remembering the down trotting in his prayers and "SERVING" them in the most humble way imaginable and with the WHOLE WORLD WATCHING!

Are you a blessing to the poor?  Are you remembering all of God's people in your daily prayers and with your service?  More importantly, are you being Christ like in your daily life or do you spoil and tarnish your faith by being judgemental, unforgiving and arrogant?  Now is the time to ask these tough questions only you can answer when it comes to truly being a believer.

As we stop to "reflect and remember" our holiday traditions and rituals, never lose sight of remaining humble, grateful and a blessing to someone else.  Have a blessed and Holy Easter season family and remember-"only what you do for God will truly last."

Monday, March 25, 2013


(Huntsville, AL.)--This just in to our VISION/VOICE/VARION studios: apparently Pooch Hall still has fond memories of our "meet and greet" more than a year ago in Pensacola, Florida.

For all of you "doubting Thomas'" out there who still think social media is a passing fancy, think again!  I posted my story, a preview to tomorrow night's premiere of BET's "The Game" roughly two hours ago.  My staff proceeded to include our second look at our exclusive interview with actor Pooch Hall on our Facebook and Twitter sites.  Shortly after our trusted crew made the boss happy with a Tweet,  we were "Retweeted" by the man himself.  Pooch Hall not only remembers the interview,  but "LOL" laughed at loud when I reminded him I drove through a storm, twice for the EXCLUSIVE at his hotel in Pensacola during his brief visit last year.

Much like his character, Derwin "Ding Dong" Davis on BET's hit reality show,  Marion "Pooch" Hall who actually played football in high school and briefly in college is kind, polite, and the perfect gentleman.  Ladies, I'll also let you in on a little known secret from that day.  I lost my photographer because he had to go back to Mobile, Alabama for breaking news and severe weather, but Pooch Hall didn't flinch and he didn't make me feel bad about being a "one man band" that day.

In fact, he shot the entire interview himself by propping my camera up between a towel and two chairs and used his skills in cinema and directing to help me pull the whole interview off without the viewers being the wiser.  He singled handedly saved this 'damsel in distress' that day and I will forever thank him for it.

This just echoes what "I know for sure,"  social media is a fan's way of really getting up close and personal with some of their favorite celebrities in 2013.  Sometimes, that includes veteran journalists who know their way around the "red carpet!"

Thank you Marion "Pooch" Hall for the Retweet today on Twitter.  In addition to reaching out to many of your loyal fans of BET's The Game,  you made this old girl happy too.  I can officially die happy!   21 century technology, "gotta love it!"


Introducing The New Cast of BET's "THE GAME"


(Atlanta, GA.)--"The players change, but the game stays the same!" That's the phrase being used to reel in loyal fans this week for the kick-off of season six of BET'S "The Game!" Okay, admit it, I was among the thousands of female fans who spent the better part of the weekend perched on the couch getting in my "Pooch Hall fix." If you haven't heard, there are big changes on the way in "The Game's" playbook this season.

Pooch Hall and Varion Walton-March 2012
Pooch Hall returns this week, but a lot of fans are trying to find out for how long? Apparently the loss of Hall and his television "soul-mate" Tia Mowry-Hardrict who played the role of Melanie,  is forcing the writers to "reboot" the embattled series again.

They've undergone changes before, BET picked up the series that has remained number one in black households after it was cancelled by The CW Network more than two years ago.                            

Mara Brock Avil, the show's original writer and creator is "banking" on loyal fans weathering this latest "sitcom storm" again. In a recent interview with The Los Angeles Times she said, it has been a huge challenge, but reflects the true world of sports. "What has happened speaks authentically to the world of sports," Akil said. We fall in love with players, and it hurts when they leave. It is like Peyton Manning leaving The Colts to wear a Broncos uniform.  It hurts, but it is what real life is like. First, you get nervous, then it becomes exciting and new. There's new life to the show.

Brock-Avil said losing Hall and Mowry-Hardrict has been hard since they have long since been considered the "heart of the show," but she is confident remaining veteran cast members like Wendy Raquel-Robinson, along with the addition of R&B singer Brandy and newcomers Jay Ellis and Lauren London--are strong enough as an ensemble to "score points"with their loyal fan base.

You can check out BET's hot new trailer for SEASON SIX, along with bio information on new cast members by CLICKING HERE:

FOR A SECOND LOOK at  VISION/VOICE/VARION's EXCLUSIVE  interview with Pooch Hall about season five,  check out this video that's generated nearly 4-thousand page views with our fans on our YouTube channel.



(HUNTSVILLE, AL.)---It is what everybody is talking about today, what else-the weather! It is freezing outside and we're told don't expect a warm-up anytime soon.  I've got to admit Palm Sunday left me depressed with lows in the 30's and 40's. Now we're waking up to headlines  of 12 states under a winter weather warning today, some expecting at least a foot of snow.   The unusual weather pattern is also creating a major headache for major airlines that are now canceling and delaying flights. Forecasters now tell us to brace for 6 more days of seriously cold weather. What the what?

Clearly winter is not letting go, at least not yet. The unusually Spring-like temperatures are literally "raining on every one's Easter Parade" not to mention making everyone miserable. 

My nieces and nephews, natives of the South have had their fill of snow in the Northeast. While plans for "Spring Break 2013" are being seriously altered for more than a few of my friends living in the Mid-West.

As we look to Easter weekend, let's just hope mother nature will have a little mercy and gives us some warmer temperatures.  Lows of 27 degrees in the 7-day forecast has me really re-thinking the whole concept of "Popsicle Peeps!"


Tuesday, March 19, 2013


(Huntsville, AL.)   Celebrating Women in Business!   You still have time to get reserved seats for this Friday's fundraiser in Huntsville, Alabama.  Join me and Emmy Award winning journalist and entrepreneur Janette Smith for an evening of informing, empowering and entertaining.

For more ticket information call:  (256) 603-0324 or (256) 682-2882.  It's a great night to embrace being "fiercely feminine!"   

Monday, March 18, 2013



(Huntsville, AL)--It's a party with a purpose!  This Friday night, the women in The Rocket City will take on a new "attitude and altitude!"  Join me and Emmy Award winning television personality Janette Smith as we come together with the business women of North Alabama in the annual  "Little Black Dress Affair."  

It's a night designed with you in mind.  Good food, good friends and a great opportunity to discuss the number one killer of women, heart disease.  That's this Friday night,  March 22 at The Improv on Oakwood Avenue in Huntsville. "Women empowering women." don't miss it!

Friday, March 15, 2013



"Mr. Motivation"--Les Brown

For more than two decades he's literally "talked" his way into becoming one of the richest men in America!  Les Brown, the charismatic best selling author, television talk show host and motivational speaker recently brought some of his wealthiest friends to Mobile, Alabama to share their secrets of "leading and succeeding" with other aspiring entrepreneurs.  As fate would have it, taking advantage of a rare and "unexpected opportunity" ends with VISION/VOICE/VARION earning an "all access," backstage pass to one of the wealthiest men in America.  








(Huntsville, AL.)  It's only March, but Grammy Award winning R&B Recording Artist Anthony Hamilton is already in the holiday spirit!  The "Pray For Me" singer returned to North Alabama recently to once again tap into the magic he makes with his writing partner and producer Kelvin Wooten of North Alabama.

In a "VISION/VOICE/VARION" EXCLUSIVE,  we discovered Anthony Hamilton set aside a week out of his extensive 2013 Tour schedule to record his new Christmas CD.  Wooten who lives in Athens, a small bedroom community just outside the City of Huntsville has worked with Hamilton before on several hits, including "So In Love," a duet Hamilton recorded with singer Jill Scott.

It is the first time the "dynamic duo" has teamed up since gaining an Oscar nod for their collaboration on the single "Freedom," a duet Hamilton recorded with newcomer Elayna Boynton on the soundtrack of the movie "Django Unchained."
Anthony Hamilton on "The Adult Mix" WHRP- 94.1 Huntsville"
Hamilton has gone on record before, proclaiming 'Huntsville as one of his favorite places to record.'  During his visit he sent out several personal tweets, including one where he affectionately dubbed Wooten as his "musical soul mate." Anthony Hamilton even took time out of recording in Huntsville this week to do a few press junkets with Kelvin Wooten,  their first in Huntsville since the two attended the Hollywood premiere of the "Django" movie in Los Angeles last December.

I personally was psyched the whole day because I was one of only a handful of members of the local media given an opportunity to hear Anthony Hamilton's impromptu version of "Away in a Manager!" The soulful blend of the R&B crooner's rich, soulful vocals, coupled with Wooten's "groovy base line," not to mention some absolutely amazing rifts from a guest lead guitarist, immediately reminded me of another legendary Christmas crooner Nat King Cole.

Hamilton and Wooten's version of  "Away in a Manager" is so unique and strong, I have no doubt this version is going to catault the award-wining musical team into being remembered for giving us another unforgettable Christmas "classic" for the ages.   Just remember, you heard HERE first!

THE HUNTSVILLE TIMES- "Musician's Musican" featuring Kelvin Wooten

Kelvin Wooten, Mid-Day Jock Toni Terrell and Anthony Hamilton

CLICK HERE:  Details of Anthony Hamilton's Mother's Day Concert in Huntsville

VARION'S VIEW: Scar on my Forehead: Wide Awake

(Huntsville, AL.)--Many of you may recall my absolute fondness for a young writer from Huntsville who had the great fortune of spending more than six months in Italy. Terasha Nicole is a North Alabama based writer we introduced to "VISION/VOICE/VARION" readers last year.  Many of you joined me in hanging on her every word as she beautifully described her adventure and discovery of Europe.

This month, the aspiring writer is talking about the adjustment of being home and sometimes, "the growing pains" that come with making it back to those you love most.

In this week's Varion's View, check out Terasha Nicole's latest entry under "Scar on My Forehead."

Scar on my Forehead: Wide Awake: A new chapter in my life is turning. As I try to fly high on the wings of gratefulness, I sit on the wings of a broken heart. But I heard a...

Thursday, March 14, 2013



Mutual Love Affair, Available on CD Baby & I-Tunes May 2013

His laid back vocals and smooth, jazzy baselines have turned heads before.  Now,  after more than a decade Terry Townsend is back and in a really big way.  His new album "Mutual Love Affair" is co-produced by "Django Unchained" music producer Kelvin Wooten.  The duo is teaming up again and getting a lot of attention for the title track.  The single "Mutual Love Affair" is a duet featuring Alexandria Thomas and it's already getting a lot of attention for it's rich, flawless, "out of the box" blend of contemporary gospel and jazz.  

Wooten, who co-produced Grammy Award winning artist Anthony Hamilton's single "Freedom" featured in the movie "Django Unchained" calls Mutual Love Affair, "some of my best work with Townsend thus far!" The whole project is so contemporary it could really go either way, gospel or R&B, said Wooten.  "Honestly,  almost all of the tracks could be played on any top 40 station," declared Wooten.

Townsend says his 'love affair' with gospel is and has always been a "labor of love." The North Alabama based singer and songwriter tells VISION/VOICE/VARION,  "I learned a lot from my first project and I really wanted to take the time out to really listen to God and ask for his direction on moving forward with my second album."   I asked God to surround me with the right people for my next project, people with like minds.  "I'm happy to say he answered my prayers," Townsend said.         

Check Out Varion's Initial "Meet & Greet" with Terry Townsend in Huntsville 
Ten years ago Townsend's debut CD "The Blessed Project" earned him critical acclaim in both inspirational and gospel genres.  "The Blessed Project" also earned him critical praise from music critics all over Europe, including the UK.  Cross Rhythms Magazine based in London wrote an article praising Townsend for his "unique, out of the box approach" to inspirational gospel.  Mike Rimmer, a featured entertainment reporter with Cross Rhythms wrote: The Blessed Project "contains the right blend of soulful singles, laced with enough musical spice that are sure to send shivers down your spine."  He called it "easy listening" and encouraged music lovers all over the UK to support the Alabama based artist.

A decade later,  Townsend is posed to bask in the afterglow again. Vision/Voice/Varion has learned before his May 2013 release, his title track "Mutual Love Affair" is already in heavy rotation with some jazz and gospel stations in the Huntsville area.  

Keep it here for details on the forthcoming CD "MUTUAL LOVE AFFAIR," exclusively on CD BABY and ITUNES.             
Photos: Richie Carter-Richie Carter Photography


Monday, March 4, 2013

The Arrival of Spring

(Mobile, AL.)  It's been a long time coming, spring!  I cannot tell you how many "freak snow" storms I have survived in North Alabama this season. There simply have been too many to count.  I would be among the first to proclaim "I don't remember Huntsville, Alabama being this cold several years ago!"  I think with all of the super storms this season, everyone is now paying attention to former Vice President Al Gore. For years he has warned the world is in danger because of all of the damage being done to the ozone.

The "wacky winter weather is something we would all just as soon forget,except too many of us are still digging our way out. 

The Presidential Inauguration of Barak Obama was a chilly reminder of our record freezing temperatures for 2013.. Days leading up to the inauguration my family and friends from Washington, D.C. to Connecticut, to  New York City were buried under several inches of snow and they couldn't put on enough layers to counter act the frostbite forming in their fingers and toes.  

This year was truly confirmation for me,  “I am indeed a beach bunny to my heart.”  Give me the ‘sand and surf‘ any day before a hat, gloves and a Northeaster.  It simply would not survive cities like Detroit or Chicago. 

I relocated to North Alabama briefly for a number of entertainment projects and for the longest I couldn't get my day started because I woke up to temperatures of 22 or 32 degrees.  What the what?  Who wants to take a morning jog wearing four layers of clothing and an overcoat?

I think my family and I collective exhaled at the first sign of a "budding" azalea  in my parents front yard last week. The brightly colored petals are a "vivid reminder" of the explosion of color yet to come.
I cannot wait until it is warm enough to take a run in the park; enjoy a bike ride or perhaps enjoy an occasional swim.

If you haven't guessed yet, spring is my favorite time of the year.  It brings forth my favorite flowers tulips and magnolias. Tulips, like the Magnolia are prized for their form and color, but also for their fragrance.  Though allergy sufferers will strongly disagree, I feel both flowers are a Gulf Coast treasure and a mental cue of the “rebirth”and "new" opportunities that come with the new season. 

Here's to all the "winter weary warriors" out there that are willing to join me in my quest of not waiting until overnight Saturday to “spring” our clocks ahead one hour.  If I had my way, we would turn the clocks back on what I have affectionately dubbed as “Friday Eve.”  If you haven’t figured that one out, that folks is Thursday.  Ah spring!  Gotta love it!  We lose an hour of sleep, but its a worthwhile trade off for an additional hour of daylight.   

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Teen Pregnancy Epidemic Hits Memphis High School

Teen pregnacyTeen Pregnancy Epidemic Hits Memphis High School 
By Varion Walton
(MEMPHIS, TN) –It’s a story that’s had tongues wagging for days; 90 girls reportedly pregnant at Frayser High School. Since this story broke school administrators have been filtering calls from everyone from Oprah to Doctor Oz. 

Everyone wants to know how in the world so many girls ended up pregnant at this one Memphis School alone. Babies making babies is not the kind of attention getting headline this embattled high school needs. 
frayser high90 girls, about one-in five enrolled at Frayser High School, reportedly pregnant or have already given birth. That’s approximately 11 percent of the female student population. Only 800 kids enrolled here. 

Frayser is located in the 38127 zip code. A mailing address that is seeing so many “special deliveries” that it has mailed in one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in Shelby County, Tennessee alone. 
Alarming stats that has the nation focused on the “so called baby making machine” known as Frayser High School.  But some people simply refuse to believe that so many girls from one school got pregnant. “When I first heard that it was hard to believe. You’ve got young men and young women there, but I don’t believe there were 90 girls in one year, no I don’t believe that”, proclaimed Robert Adams a Frayser Resident. 

One of the reasons people question the number is that it’s reportedly forbidden for a teacher to question a student about what appears to be a baby bump. To do so school officials say would be an invasion of privacy. “My daughter was so little you couldn’t tell she was pregnant.  They don’t know who is pregnant and who is pregnant unless they are truly showing,” said Christine Jordan. 

Christine Jordan says her daughter Jessica was not only taught abstinence at Frayser High School, but in their home! Unfortunately that strategy didn’t work. Jessica Woodard became pregnant at the end of her sophomore year. “Yes, she has a baby too. I honestly trusted Jessica to do what I asked of her, but when you don’t have anyone here to watch her, what can you do? I’m a single parent and she’s the baby, my youngest daughter and when I work she is here alone,” Jordan explained. 

Unfortunately, that’s the same story for many teens in this poverty stricken neighborhood. They have too much time on their hands and no one around to supervise them. The community of Frayser is also plagued with gang violence and unemployment.  The lack of economic opportunities lives a lot of struggling mothers like Christine Jordan without fathers around to help pick up the slack. “I’m not the only single parent; you have a lot of single parents trying to do the best they can in this community with what they make with their incomes,” noted Jordan. 
The glare of national cameras has brought about a new focus on an old problem.  Teen pregnancy has been a plague on this community for years. The pregnancy rate in the City of Memphis is around 15-to 25 percent.  That’s twice the national average. 

With so many people talking about the embarrassing pregnancy rate at this school, officials and parents fear any newly suspected teen mom won’t come forward, afraid of being labeled Frayser High School’s 91st pregnancy. Folks living in this community are hoping the negative press will stop. “It’s extremely frustrating because you’ve got all these kids dropping out of school.  Half of the children their don’t want to go to school anyway and for you to continue to just put a negative spin on the school it impacts those young ladies. Many of the girls including my daughter are angry”, exclaimed Jordon. 

Having a baby at such a young age is not the avenue this working mother wanted for her daughter or any of the other girls at the school. But, she thinks the spotlight on this issue might be a wakeup call to everyone!  “My daughter didn’t drop out of school.  She is still hanging in there trying to finish. She is in the 11th grade and she’s doing great right now and hopefully she will keep her head on straight and not get a second baby,” Jordan said. 
School officials trying to pin down the exact number of pregnancies here and they’re working a solution. Right now school and city leaders are teaming up with Girls, Incorporated; a non profit group launching a series of initiatives aimed at reducing the number of teen pregnancies.  The organization has strategically placed more than 17 billboards throughout the Frayser community that calls for “no baby” until you are of age. 
Christine Jordan says what would really help is for the community to continue to “rally around these young people.” Right now her daughter Jessica and about 70 others attend Frayser’s “Prep Academy”; it’s a school within the school- where discussions of sex education are forbidden however they are given more flexible hours and plenty of tutoring. 

The prep academy as designed to get overage students back in the classroom.  It’s a board approved program providing these struggling new moms and their boyfriends what they need to finally become high school graduates. “My daughter has a lot of teachers who are trying to help her out.  She’s got the support at the school and here at home.  A lot of her teachers are helping her out because they know she’s got a baby.  It’s all kind of working out because her grades are up and she has a positive attitude. 

Something that is in short supply in a community struggling for answers to a lot of life’s questions.

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.