Chrisette Michele

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Chrisette Michele
Chrisette Michele in 2007.
Chrisette Michele in 2007.
Background information
Birth nameChrisette Michele Payne
Born (1982-12-08) December 8, 1982 (age 37)
Central Islip, New York, U.S.
OriginPatchogue, New York City
  • Singer
  • rapper
  • songwriter
  • actress
  • Vocals
  • piano
Years active2006–present
Associated acts

Chrisette Michele Payne (born December 8, 1982), known professionally as Chrisette Michele, is an American R&B and soul singer-songwriter. She won a Grammy Award for Best Urban/Alternative Performance in 2009 for her song "Be OK".

She was previously signed to Motown Records and Caroline/Capitol Records, but was dropped from her label in 2017.[1][2][3] In the same year, she announced plans to release new music independently through her own label, Rich Hipster.

Early life[edit]

Michele was born in Central Islip, New York, and grew up in Patchogue.[4] Her father was a sociologist and her mother a psychologist. Michele led gospel choirs in high school. She attended Five Towns College in Dix Hills, New York, and graduated with a vocal performance degree. Her grandmother is Jamaican.[5]

Music career[edit]

2006–08: Musical beginnings and I Am[edit]

Michele has been featured on several hip hop albums. She is featured on The Game's album LAX on "Let Us Live". On Jay-Z's Kingdom Come she is featured on the second single "Lost One", while on Nas' Hip Hop Is Dead, she is featured three times: on the album's second single "Can't Forget About You", the Kanye West-produced "Still Dreaming", and the final track "Hope". She also appeared on the bonus track "Slow Down", from Ghostface Killah's The Big Doe Rehab.

Michele's debut album, I Am, was released on June 18, 2007.[6] The song "Your Joy" was released on iTunes as a free single of the week. The album spawned four singles: "If I Have My Way", "Best of Me", "Be OK", and "Love Is You". The album's lead single "If I Have My Way" charted at number twenty-four on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.[7] "Best of Me" charted on the US Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks at number twenty-one.[7] In December 2007, "Be OK" was released as the third single, charting at number sixty-four on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. In 2008, "Love Is You" was released as the album's fourth and final single; it reached number ninety on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.[7]

In 2008, Michele appeared on the track "Rising Up" from the Roots' album Rising Down. Michele guest starred as herself in The CW's Girlfriends, in the episode entitled "What's Black-a-Lackin'?", which originally aired on February 11, 2008. She also wrote a song for Tyler Perry's House of Payne titled "I've Gotta Love Jones". From May to July 2008 Michele embarked on a nationwide co-headlining tour with fellow soul singer Raheem DeVaughn called the Art of Love Tour; Solange Knowles served as the opening act.[8] In September 2008, Michele performed twice at the Evening of Stars: A Tribute to Patti LaBelle.

2009–12: Epiphany, Let Freedom Reign and mixtape releases[edit]

In mid-2008, Michele began recording for her second album, Epiphany. In January 2009, the album's title track was released as the lead single.[9] It marked as Michele's first solo entry to the Billboard Hot 100, where it peaked at number 89. Released on May 5, 2009, the album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 selling 83,000 copies in its opening week.[10] A week after the release of Epiphany, another single was released, titled "Blame It on Me". It didn't repeat the success of "Epiphany (I'm Leaving)"; however it peaked at number twenty-eight on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. It was followed by two more: "What You Do" in July and "Fragile" in November. Originally, "What You Do" was planned to be the second single from the album. The song features Ne-Yo, who worked with Michele on the album. After the release of Epiphany, she started working on her next album. Michele has worked with rapper Rick Ross and Canadian rapper/singer Drake on the fourth single of Ross's album Teflon Don called "Aston Martin Music". The song was released on October 5, 2010.[11] Michele released her third studio album, Let Freedom Reign, on November 30, 2010. The album included the singles, "I'm a Star" and "Goodbye Game". "I'm a Star" was released in September, and was followed by "Goodbye Game" and "I Don't Know Why, But I Do", both in November, just before the release of the album. The album features Michele performing hip-hop, R&B, as well as the dance-pop influenced "So Cool". The album debuted at number 25 on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 42,000 copies in its first week. It also peaked at number seven on the US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. On November 5, 2010, her first mixtape Love Thy Brother was released. On December 7, 2012, her second mixtape titled Audrey Hepburn: An Audiovisual Presentation was released. The mixtape contained some of songs recorded for her fourth studio album, including its single "Charades", among other tracks.

2013–present: Better, R&B Divas LA, The Lyricist's Opus and Milestone[edit]

The first single from her fourth album Better, titled "Charades", was released on January 29, 2013. Previously, "Charades" was featured on her second mixtape album, released in late 2012. The second single "A Couple of Forevers" was released in February. A video premiered the following month. Michele's fourth album, Better, was released on June 11, 2013 through Motown Records.[12] It was produced by Michele, Shea Taylor and Pop & Oak etc. Michele collaborated with rappers such as 2 Chainz and Wale on the album. The album debuted at number 12 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, selling 27,000 copies in its first week. It was nominated at 2014 Grammy Awards for Best R&B Album. Chrisette Michelle joined the cast of R&B Divas LA for its second season. On March 20, 2015, it was reported that she left the show. On November 24, 2014, Michele released her latest project entitled The Lyricist's Opus for digital download. Two music videos were released from the EP: "Super Chris" on October 1, and "Together" on December 15.

On November 12, 2016 Michele released her single "Steady". It was produced by Blickie Blaze, also from Four Kings Productions, who are currently collaborating with Michele for her album. "Steady" is the lead single from her upcoming fifth studio album Milestone, which was scheduled for release on June 10, 2016 via her label Rich Hipster.

In 2018 she released her mixtape, Out of Control.

In 2020 she released a single, Wait.[13]


In January 2017, media outlets reported that Michele would perform at the Inauguration of Donald Trump. This was met with backlash on social media,[14] prompting Michele to respond via an open letter on Twitter, stating that she had intended her performance to serve as a bridge between Trump supporters and opponents.[15] Author Aliya S. King published a response to the singer's letter on BET, expressing disappointment with Michele's choice to perform and felt like her letter was a "cop-out".[16] Michele was initially supposed to perform at the Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration held the day prior to the inauguration, but did not perform and instead performed at one of the inaugural balls the following day.[15][17] In response to her performing, Spike Lee removed Michele's song "Black Girl Magic" from his upcoming Netflix series She's Gotta Have It.[18] Subsequent to the performance, Michele announced the release of her poetry album No Political Genius.[19]




  • The Art of Love Tour (with Raheem DeVaughn) (2008)
  • The Epiphany Tour (2010)
  • The Milestone Tour (2016)

Supporting act

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Result
2008 Vibe Music Award Breakthrough Artist of the Year Nominated
Grammy Award Best Female R&B Vocal Performance ("If I Have My Way") Nominated
BET Award Best New Artist Nominated
Centric Music Award Virtual Awards: Soul Approved Won
Female Artist of the Year Nominated
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding New Artist Nominated
2009 Grammy Award Best Urban/Alternative Performance ("Be OK") Won
Soul Train Awards Best R&B/Soul Female Artist Nominated
Urban Music Awards Best Female Act Nominated
2010 Centric Award Centric Award Nominated
2013 Soul Train Award Best R&B/Soul Female Artist Nominated
2014 Grammy Award Best R&B Album (Better) Nominated


  1. ^ "Chrisette Michele Speaks On Miscarriage After Reportedly Getting Dropped From Label". Vibe. October 28, 2017.
  2. ^ Breakfast Club Power 105.1 FM (November 2, 2017). "Chrisette Michele Addresses Miscarriage + Aftermath Of Performing at Trump's Inauguration" – via YouTube.
  3. ^ 'Chrisette Michele Opens Up About Miscarriage and Label Drop After Trump Inauguration', Essence, October 28, 2017.
  4. ^ Gamboa, Glenn. "Chrisette Michele has an 'Epiphany'", Newsday, May 3, 2009. Archived May 6, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Johnson, Richard (February 3, 2014). "Chrisette Michele stays true to roots". Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  6. ^ "Cost 2 Coast Presents". January 30, 2013. Retrieved January 31, 2013.
  7. ^ a b c "I am All Music Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved May 19, 2016.
  8. ^ "Universal Music Group".
  9. ^ New Music: Chrisette Michele "Epiphany" Off New Album – Listen Now! Archived February 3, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Caulfield, Keith (May 13, 2009). "Chrisette Michele Scores First No. 1 On Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved May 13, 2009.
  11. ^ "Rick Ross 'Teflon Don' In Stores Now". Archived from the original on December 20, 2010. Retrieved January 9, 2011.
  12. ^ "Album Cover:Chrisette Michele-"Better"".
  13. ^ "Chrisette Michele Returns With New Single "Wait"".
  14. ^ Monroe, Jazz (January 20, 2017). "Spike Lee Not Using Chrisette Michele Music Due to Trump Performance". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on January 27, 2017. Retrieved April 30, 2017.
  15. ^ a b Gamboa, Glenn (January 20, 2017). "Chrisette Michele defends inauguration participation but doesn't perform as scheduled". Newsday. Retrieved January 20, 2017.
  16. ^ King, Aliya S. "An Open Letter to Chrisette Michele". Retrieved January 20, 2017.
  17. ^ Rogo, Paula (January 20, 2017). "Chrisette Michele Performs at Trump Inaugural Ball—And Dragging Ensues". Essence. Retrieved January 22, 2017.
  18. ^ Williams, Brennan (January 25, 2017). "Chrisette Michele: My Family Cut Me Off For Performing At Inauguration". HuffPost. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
  19. ^ "Chrisette Michele on 'No Political Genius' & Performing at Trump's Inaugural Ball: 'It Was My Responsibility to Say Yes with Purpose'". Billboard. Retrieved January 28, 2017.

External links[edit]