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LAist Interview: Chrisette Michele

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Chrisette Michele busted out before our very eyes and ears at the end of 2006, singing the hook on her boss, Jay-Z's "Lost One".Shortly after the 24 year-old's incredible voice was heard on Nas' hit single, "Can't Forget About You." That same voice, according to her bio, gave L.A. Reid, DefJam Chairman, goosebumps. In June, Michele dropped "If I Have My Way," the lead single from her debut solo album, I Am. LAist caught up the DefJam songbird who is on the road opening for Neo-Soul star, Musiq Soulchild tomorrow night at the Wilshire Theater.

Are you excited about coming to LA?

Oh my God, yes! I love it out there.

What are some of your favorite things to do here?

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I love shopping. Undefeated is my spot, I love buying sneakers. Bossa Nova is definitely my favorite place to eat in LA. I always get the "Traditional Chicken" from Bossa Nova. I am in LA a lot, I do a quite a bit of writing in LA.

You were fortunate to work with big names like Nas and Jay-Z, what did you learn from them?

It was the coolest being in the studio with them. I was truly blessed to have the opportunity to work alongside Jay and Nas. Both of them are so honest with their work. They're not afraid to talk about anything and offer insight and advice, they are both very open. I mean Jay really said a lot on "Lost One," he wasn't afraid to open up and get all that out there for everyone.

What can fans expect to hear on your album?

Expect to be uplifted. Whatever your situation is, expect to be uplifted. This album is very eclectic, we've got neo-soul, R&B, soul, hip hop, and a little pop on there.

Your father is a deacon. You've sang quite a bit in church choirs. Was there any concern from you or your family regarding signing with DefJam, a label with hip hop roots?

I sang in every church choir I could. I started singing in a choir in Brooklyn. I sang in grade school, high school and college. But to answer your question, signing with DefJam wasn't a concern at all. I was thrilled to be working with L.A. Reid. My mother is my manager and she is very involved with my career and the decisions I make.

Who are some of your favorite singers?

Billy Holiday, John Legend, Erykah Badu and Amy Winehouse. I love Amy. She is so honest and open with her lyrics. I really love Natalie Cole, I got to meet her. That's actually one of the highlights of my career, she told me I sounded like a sample on "Can't Forget About You," that was really an honor.

Lastly, do you have anything you'd like to say to your fans in LA?

Let LA know they've been one of the most supportive cities for me. They cheered for me at shows before anyone even knew who I was. LA radio is also definitely showing me some love and I really appreciate it. I can't wait to get out there.