Fans might know Chrisette Michele for her unique voice and introspective songs, but they’re about to see a whole other side of the shaved-headed songstress on her third album Let Freedom Reign, arriving November 30. The R&B diva will not only be flaunting her pipes, but also her rap skills, and has a few surprise guests in store.
The Grammy winner plans to bust a rhyme on a track with four undisclosed rappers. “I’m rapping this time, there’s a few featured rappers on there,” she tells Rap-Up.com, noting that she was a rapper long before she started singing. “There’s four of them, and there’s four verses, and we’re still choosing which ones we want to use.”
Though she’s remaining mum on which lyricists have contributed to the project, the 27-year-old reveals that her album will feature backing vocals from Jazmine Sullivan and Ne-Yo, with the bulk of production handled by longtime collaborator Chuck Harmony. “Me and him make such a great team, on our Brandy and Darkchild or Janet and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis,” she explains. “Me and Chuck get along that way.”
Freedom has already spawned the first feel-good track “I’m a Star,” with plans to release “Number One” as the follow-up single. The tune, which Chrisette claims is about “doing what you got to do to get where you want to be, following your dreams, and reaching your goals and aspirations,” is a family affair, co-written with her mother (who also helped her pen “Good Girl” off her debut). “She’s always in the studio with me and I just had a writer’s block and I was like, ‘Mom, just fill in the blanks, please!’ And she did.”
The album is also a departure for Chrisette, with songs written about love as well as her experiences in the music industry, how men cry as much as women do, and how difficult it is to stay in a relationship. “It’s just from the bottom of my heart,” she shares. “It’s not typical and there might be a song that you might not relate to, but at least you’ll know it’s mine.”
Leading up to the effort’s release, the New Yorker is hitting the road in support of the new offering, and plans on holding celebratory parties across the U.S. “I’m doing a bunch of Freedom parties all around the country, so check Twitter, listen to your local radio station—they’re telling everybody to come out in their coolest outfits and be totally honest with who they are.”
–Steven J. Horowitz