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CHANTÉ MOORE 2013 SOULMUSIC.COM INTERVIEW
FEELING FREE TO SING
The delightful Chanté Moore speaks with SoulMusic.com's Michael Lewis about her new CD, MOORE IS MORE (Shanachie) which will be released on July 2. Having recently completed filming R&B Divas LA series for TV-One, Ms. Moore's focus is on her love of music, and she shares how she finds freedom through singing what she can't say...


Recorded May 9, 2013


Michael Lewis: This is Michael Lewis from SoulMusic.com. Today I am very excited to be speaking with one of soul music’s premiere vocalists, a veteran with over 20 years of recordings, who is set to release her sixth CD next month on Shanachie Records called MOORE IS MORE (Official release date is July 2). Please welcome the dynamic and the lovely Miss Chanté Moore. How are you today?

Chanté Moore: I’m doing great. Thank you.

ML: I’m so happy you’re spending some time with us today. You’ve always been one of our favorites at SoulMusic.com. Usually my partner, David Nathan, takes this assignment, but today I moved in on him. I hope you don’t mind.

CM: I don’t. And please tell him that I miss him, though.

ML: Okay, I will. Now, I haven’t had the opportunity to hear the new music on MOORE IS MORE. So, I’m going to depend on you to give us some insight into what we can expect on the new CD.

CM: Oh boy. It depends on my memory, huh? Okay. There’s so much music on there. I am so in love with this record. I always fall in love with every album, but this is one of the happiest times in my life, so I am feeling really empowered and really happy, very peaceful, very strong at the moment. So, the record reflects all of those things. I don’t even know what the first single is going to be. How about that? I don’t know.

ML: Who are some of the producers? I know I was reading some of your tweets recently. I picked up a couple of names: Kwame Holland and Midi Mafia. What can you tell me about those guys?

CM: Well, Kwame and I did, was it two or three songs? I think it’s two. We did a song called “Alone” and we did a song called “Doctor, Doctor”. Those are two of my favorite songs. “Alone” is very – all of the songs on my album – are extremely autobiographical. I am having fun being able to sing about things that I can’t talk about. There are break-up issues and emotions that I feel regarding my last marriage. There’s lots of things that just aren’t even proper to even say out loud, except I can sing about them because it just makes more sense. It’s more freeing and it feels like the words are not going to get mixed up, like they are right now. So, “Alone” is about rather being alone than being lonely. That’s the main point of the song. With “Doctor, Doctor”, gosh what is it about? It’s about me having, I don’t know. Sometimes songs are metaphorical, but it’s about having either me be the doctor or him be the doctor, but he’s got what I need, but I’ve got what he needs. So –

ML: So, it’s about some healing?

CM: Yeah. You’ve got to give it to me. Exactly. Midi Mafia and I did a song together, what is the name of that song? Oh, it’s called “On and On”. Da Brat is on there with me. She’s rapping on the song, and she’s one of my favorite rappers.

ML: It will be good to hear her.

CM: Yes! The song is about going on and on, not stopping no matter what happens. It just doesn’t stop, no matter what happens, I’m not going to stop and neither is she. We both have been through a lot. The song talks about making sure that no matter what happens, we’re going to press forward. We’re going to keep on making music, keep on loving, time goes on and on, and we go on and on.

ML: Okay. Any other producers that you’re working with on this?

CM: Yes. Who else have I worked with? Oh... Big Mike, he’s out of Baltimore.

ML: Oh yeah, he works a lot with Maysa.

CM: Yeah.

ML: I live in Silver Springs. Maysa’s right up the road.

CM: Okay, well, him. I’m trying to think of this guy who did this new song for me. It’s so beautiful. His name is Derrick Kinsey.

ML: Okay.

CM: Do you know who that is?

ML: No, I don’t know that one.

CM: Okay. Well, he’s amazing. We did a song together called “Giving You My Always”.

ML: Sounds like a ballad.

CM: It’s so wonderful. That song is so beautiful that it made me cry just hearing the song. It just made me so emotional. It’s about getting married. It is that moment that we all wait for, but the song is so beautiful by itself that I was writing the song and it brought tears to my eyes. So, just, it was great. It’s one of my favorite songs on the record.

ML: Give me the title of that one again?

CM: “Giving You My Always”.

ML: Oh, that’s a great title.

CM: Thank you.

ML: It’s taking me back, just the title alone.

CM: Yeah. It’s a really really good song. There’s another song with Big Mike called, what is it called? Oh, it’s a remake. One remake of a Barbara Streisand song called “Cry Me a River”.

ML: Oh yeah.

CM: I love that song. I love Barbara Streisand though. But, it’s that one. One called “Baby Can I Touch Your Body?” is another song with him.

ML: Okay. So, it sounds like another range; I love the range of music. For example, on your last CD, LOVE THE WOMAN, there was such a range from “Guess Who I Saw Today” and “Give Me Time” to “It’s Always Gonna Be Something”.

CM: Yep, it’s like that again, but that’s because of my love of music itself. I’m not stuck in one place, saying I’m an R&B artist only, or I’m a jazz artist. I love music. I love to sing. So, I’m really happy to be free to sing whatever feels natural and authentic to me.

ML: Okay, well, I can’t wait to hear it all. Tell me how you got connected with Shanachie Records, who's gonna put out this record.

CM: They called me out of the blue, honestly. They called a few years ago, and I just wasn’t ready to record a new record yet. So, I kind of put them off just a little bit, and then we really, my manager Cheryl Cobb-Debrosse and I were working on new music and just recording first, working with Kwame and a few other artists that we love. We were just having such a wonderful time recording and we wanted to make sure that we had our ideas down first because the record company always has what they want, especially because I’m not a new artist, people already expect something from me. Because of that, we wanted to make sure that we had our ideas because we grow, and people sometimes want you to do “Love’s Taken Over” again. Although I want "love to take over" again at some point in life, I’m not there musically. I’m still growing and still developing and still maturing in music and I think that it’s really important to make sure that you keep that kind of outlook, evolving as an artist and as a person. We keep changing and growing as a person. So, it’s impossible for me to be the exact same artist as I was when I came out, even though that may be your favorite album or whatever, but I think that people have to grow with you.

ML: Exactly. I couldn’t agree more. Let’s talk a little bit about dealing with the new realities of the record industry. Talking about your first album, I remember when that came out. I was at that first listening party in that whole Silas Label was built around you, pretty much, from what I recall, when PRECIOUS came out in 1992. But, things have changed so dramatically now, it’s almost unrecognizable from the way that things were. How have you managed to navigate these turbulent waters as they were?

CM: Well, again, it was my love for music. I’m still finding my way because it is something very very new. The industry is. I love that the internet is here because, in it, we can find people that we’ve never found, people in their living rooms who haven’t left their houses in a really long time, or in there making music, and it’s difficult to have found them before because they had to find the label or the label had to find them. One of the two. Now, people come out because they made records and put them on the Internet. We know who they are, from Amy Winehouse to, I ‘m mean there so many people, that little girl? What’s her name? Boo Boo? Something like that?

ML: Oh, Honey Boo Boo?

CM: Yeah, that’s it. Those people, seriously, we would not know them if it wasn’t for the Internet. The weight has been shifted in the music and in the television industry.

ML: Or Sweet Brown.

CM: Yes, all that. So, it works for us and against us.

ML: It’s kind of a great equalizer in a way.

CM: Yeah, but if we can really figure out how to get hold of it, and it’s about bringing new people in who are in this era, in this generation, and making them part of the team, having them help you understand because I know that there’s a real generation gap that happens from year to year, and it’s about pulling each of us from one to the next. I know for me it’s about making people aware of the love for music and not just the love for success or money or sex, you know? For me, it’s about pulling them into the love of my music. I love music, and that’s what I really want to encourage all of the people, anyone who listens to my music or who doesn’t. Really, it’s about learning to love music for what it is, and appreciating the artistry and then, for them, it’s about helping me and those of us who have not been in this kind of new age movement react to learn how to appreciate how to get into a whole other realm of exposure and accessibility because before we had to go out to get the people. Now, we can text and tweet and Facebook right from our telephones and that’s something brand new for us, but it’s something that can work if you know how to use it as a good tool, rather than something that we’re afraid of or taken aback.

ML: Now, I know you’ve also been working on your new venture, the R&B Divas LA show.

CM: Yeah…

ML: Okay, what was that laugh? How is that going?

CM: Well, I never dreamed I would be on a reality TV show first of all. The fact that I have done this show is a little bit strange for me. It was new, very, very different for me, being around six new women in my life. I have very old, very dear friends who have been in my life for a long time. I don’t mean old as in aged; I mean old as in time we’ve spent together, and I’m not one to open up a whole lot to new people. So, it was very, very different for me to have a group of young ladies in my life that I don’t already trust. So, I enjoyed it very much, but it was very strange, a very, what would I call it?

ML: Surreal?

CM: Interesting. It was very interesting, day to day, not knowing what that person’s going to say, or how I’m going to feel about being in this circumstance with that person, not knowing what’s going to come out of their mouth, or knowing what’s going to come out of mine.

ML: And not knowing how it’s going to be edited.

CM: That’s true too.

ML: I think that’s always a scary part, I would think.

CM: That is scary; yes, it is.

ML: Do you know when that’s – when is it supposed to air?

CM: It comes on July 10th.

ML: Okay. So, the tapings are completed for that?

CM: They are finished. We are done and yeah. It was fun though. It really turned out great. I was very pleased and happy that the ladies and I got along as well as we did.

ML: Oh good. That’s good to know.

CM: Yeah, it was good stuff. I’m blessed and honored to have people in my life that love music the way I do, and that’s really what I think drew all of us to the TV show, is that it was surrounded by music and that’s what it was about, and not just, oh, we’re just going to get together and fight or argue about something. It made sense to gather together about music and the love of music.

ML: I remember, a few weeks ago, one of your Facebook postings was about a performance that you did as part of that show with some of your new music?

CM: Which one?

ML: I think you had a contest or something on Facebook, for somebody to win tickets to the taping.

CM: It was. I can’t really tell you everything that that’s about because the TV show hasn’t come out, but yes, new music is definitely on the show.

ML: Well, that’s good. So, I think one of the great things about that is that people will know that your CD is out and that you have new music because I think I was really disappointed that LOVE THE WOMAN, which I thought was phenomenal, but I just think people didn’t know the music was out in a lot of situations.

CM: Yeah, sometimes when the smaller labels have releases, it’s very difficult for them to get the advertising and the promotions out to the people that really want to know, and then to new people. So, yes, this is going to be a great vehicle for me and my records that I won’t have to struggle as much to let the world know that there’s a new record.

ML: We have a pretty good ongoing relationship with Shanachie at SoulMusic.com, both ways we love each other. Our fan base and your fan base, and their fan base are all in line. So, I think this will be great all the way around for you and your new project. Now, I know you’re coming to town here, to the Capital Jazz Festival?

CM: I am.

ML: I will be looking forward to seeing you there. I saw you at the Howard Theater last August.

CM: Oh yeah, that was fun. Was that by myself, or was that with?

ML: Nope, that was just you. That was just you. Oh, there was an opening act, Temika Moore.

CM: Okay. I remember that. That was so much fun. That was a great show.

ML: That was a great show. I posted up a couple of a cappella clips that you did, the requests that were shout out from the audience, and every couple of days I get messages from people when they come across those clips about those songs and the way you did them. That was a really phenomenal show, and I can’t wait to see you again.

CM: The crowd was so great, honestly. That was one of my favorite shows ever.

ML: Right. So, do you have any other tour plans coming up?

CM: Yes, but I’m not sure I can tell you yet. It’s such a strange time period, but yes.

ML: Still putting things together?

CM: The Essence Festival, we'll be there, a couple of the girls from the show will be there as well. Also, there will be a tour. I can’t tell you exactly who’s on it yet. I know things are being solidified at the moment, but we’ll definitely be out there supporting the record. So, I’m really excited. I just think it’s time. It’s time for me to be out.

ML: It sure is. Let me just ask you a general question, if I can. Now, I know you’ve worked with some amazing artists and producers in the past, Jimmy and Terry, and Raphael Saadiq, George Duke, is there anybody that you haven’t worked with yet that you would like to collaborate with or tour with or work with?

CM: Oh gosh, there’s so many. Every major artist that’s out there right now, I’m kind of loving, from Justin Timberlake to Beyoncé and Rihanna and Usher, P!nk. There’s so many people that I would love to work with. Producer wise, it’s a little more difficult to pinpoint because what’s funny is I used to really love having a CD in my hand. You used to be able to read the liner notes and now we buy them on the internet and I find it’s a little bit more difficult to find out who did what.

ML: Who wrote what?

CM: Mmhmm.

ML: Yeah, I’m in that camp too. I need to read. I’ve always been that way.

CM: Yeah, I need to find some CDs and have them in my hands.

ML: Well, I just want to thank you for spending a little time with us, and we really look forward to having, holding – I’m going to get a CD - MORE IS MOORE – because I have to see that picture too, you know?

CM: Thank you.

ML: We’ll look forward to that next month some time. And, I’ll see you at Capital Jazz for sure.

CM: I will see you there, and I also sing with Will Downing while I’m there, so check that out as well.

ML: Fantastic. That’s good to know. Alright Chanté, you have a lovely day.

CM: You too, sweetheart. I appreciate your time. Thank you so much.

ML: And we will talk to you soon.

CM: Okay.

ML: Alright, bye-bye.

CM: Bye-bye.

About the Writer
Michael Lewis is a long-time associate at SoulMusic.com. His industry experience includes Sony Music, Motown and La Face Records, and a tenure at HEAR Music. He is grateful to contribute to sustaining the legacy of R&B and soul music.
  
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