Last night Grammy award-winning singer Chrisette Michele sat down with Boston Fab! before she took the stage at the Greater Boston Morehouse Alumni Chapter’s Annual MoreJazz Scholarship Banquet. Michele describes why she loves Beantown, what it means to be an American, and why education is important to her.
Boston Fab: So how have you enjoyed your time in Boston so far?
Christette Michelle: As Boston is a college town, their appreciation for the music that I do is a lot different than in cities that aren’t necessarily college towns. I’ve been here a few times, once with India Aire and once I came by myself. Their reception has always been welcoming and appreciative of the music as opposed to…I don’t have to put on a lot of calisthenics. It’s more about the sound.
BF: What made you want to do this particular performance? I was hearing about how you are very interested in education and educational pursuits…
CM: Both my parents are educators and are social workers in the community, so I’ve been around education my whole life. Then of course I went to went to college to study vocal jazz so I am definitely an advocate for education in the black community.
BF: What can we expect from your performance tonight?
CM: Tonight is pretty casual. A family friend gave my mom a call and asked if I could come out. And because I’m not in Boston all the time I thought it’d be fun and besides it’s Morehouse family so it’s more of an act of love for the people right there in front of me.
BF: Where are you heading to after this?
CM: I’m going to stay in Boston for a few days to do sightseeing and hiking a little bit. I like Boston. I like the ruggedness of it, the grittiness of it…and then we’re off to Miami. We’re performing a lot maybe about four times a week, so we’re kind of constantly on the go.
BF: When you were saying the grittiness of Boston what areas are you thinking of?
CM: Like in Indianapolis for instance, all the building are really pristine, very tall, very cut and here it’s like you hit a cobble stone street with kids playing hacky sack; it’s just very colorful. You can get coffee, you feel like you can walk your dog …anybody that comes to Boston just kinda feels [like] this could be one of their homes. You feel like an American in Boston. I just like that feeling.
BF: Speaking about being an American, the name of your new album is “Let Freedom Reign.” How does that relate to your idea of “the American dream” or Americanism? What was the thought behind that?
CM: I think everything that I’m doing right now is a great definition of “the American dream.” My grandfather was a slave on a plantation, and moved up north with my grandmother my mother and his other six children and lived in the projects in New York. They all got an education, they all went to school for different degrees and then I was the next generation and moved to Long Island. My parents allowed me to chase the dream of singing, which several years a ago for a girl like me, would have been unheard of. We all have struggled–Lena Horn, Billy Holiday–so I feel like they paved the way for me and I am definitely apart of their dream…and they are as much American as anybody.
Many thanks to the management team and Capital Connections Agency.