The music industry is an interesting anomaly. Artist often come and go; the term “one hit wonder” came about because of the artists who would have one hit and never be heard of again; groups get together, break up, form new groups; some artists have the talent, but not the stage presence – have the skill, but not the exposure – or have the look but cannot their way out of a paper bag.
Chrisette Michele is none of these things. She is a consummate performer, her voice is consistent & flawless and her stage presence, from day one, has always been authentic and commanding. To know her is to know that she is a private person, her family means everything and she takes the music business and her craft very, very seriously. But to see her on stage is simply a treat. She loves her fans, engages with her audience and is both humble and powerfully confident all at the same time. On Friday, October 28th – Beny Blaq Entertainment and The Park at 14th presented a special Halloween Edition of “The Park Unplugged” featuring Chrisette Michele.
One thing that makes Chrisette Michele a true singer is that she rarely performs without a band and her Unplugged performance at the Park was no exception. Chrisette fans packed the 3rd floor of the Park much in the same way they have done for past performers like Faith Evans, Estelle, Raheem DeVaughn, and Tank – to name a few. Beny Blaq Entertainment brings the best performers each and every week to “The Park Unplugged” and Friday night was no exception.
Chrisette took to the stage in a fashion much like her personality, quiet and unassuming, but once she takes hold of the mic – her consummate performer side takes over, and take over she did. Chrisette opened with “Epiphany”, a crowd favorite and then slowed it down with her hit ballad; “Blame It On Me” – following up with “Golden”. Chrisette asked the crowd, “Are you grown & sexy? This is for the sexy folks” as she launched into “If I Had My Way” – a personal Chrisette Michele favorite. And as she ended the song, Chrisette did something that you would not often see in her early career performances – she showed off a bit with her phenomenal vocal range/ability and it real spoke volumes to how much she has evolved as a vocalist. It was definitely a “you had to be there moment” and it felt like she had studied, practiced and “channeled” a few of “the greats” – Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Minnie Ripperton and Nina Simone as she took us on a musical journey of simply sound. And it was wonderful.
“I have to tell a secret”, Chrisette shared. “DC always has shown me so much love …. And I’m literally working on a 4th album”. Chrisette shared that she had been in the studio and when she left DC, she would be returning to the studio to work on the new project. And then Chrisette shut the Park down as she performed a gospel favorite, Richard Smallwood’s “Total Praise”. Chrisette’s roots are in the church and her faith is a huge part of who she is as a person, so it was refreshing to see her infuse gospel music into her performance. Her final song of the night, “What You Do”, had the heads bopping from side to side, as the audience sang along; and toward the end of the song, Chrisette decided to go sing background vocals and let her background vocalist take the lead. It was a perfect way to kick off the Halloween weekend. It is always a “Treat” when Chrisette Michele comes to DC.