One of the great mysteries for those of us who consistently cover the world of contemporary R&B is quite why the super-talented Ms. Chanté Moore is not a household name or multi-platinum recording artist. Not only is she a brilliant vocalist and an exciting performer but she simply a stunningly beautiful young woman. She has the voice, the skills, the looks so why, some of us ponder, hasn't she achieved the same kind of global status of, say, a Toni Braxton? Seeing her this autumn on a show with Will Downing, Phil Perry and Gerald Albright, I was mesmerized - as was the entire audience at The Greek Theater - by her unbelievable acapella reading of "As If We Never Met," the highlight track from her 1992 gold album debut "Precious."
Now it may be time for the rest of the world to be mesmerized by Chanté's artistry. Her 1998 single "Chanté's Got A Man" was her first major pop and R&B hit and now there's the sense that Chanté may finally be achieving the across-the-board mainstream recognition she richly deserves with the release of her fourth album, "Exposed." It’s a promising sign that the album will actually gain a European release (next spring) unlike its predecessor, "This Moment Is Mine" and that the first single from "Exposed," the infectious "Straight Up" has been receiving instant airplay. This may finally be Chanté's time..
The vivacious singer/songwriter is frank when she addresses the question of why she hasn't had reached the lofty level of some of her peers: "I'm at peace with the fact that it hasn't happened yet. I don't think I've missed my chance and I don't put myself into that kind of mindset. I rarely listen to the radio or compare myself with others…once you realize who you are, you know it's not about anyone else moving over. I think there's room for me. It helps that "Chanté's Got A Man" did well. A taste of success helps and it's like an aphrodisiac for more. I'm an aggressive person by nature so after that record's success, I was ready to get up again…this time a little faster than usual!"
Chanté's referring to the relatively lengthy gap of four years between her last album and 1994's "A Love Supreme" during which she switched from her affiliation with Silas Records and MCA. Her first couple of albums positioned Chanté as a more mature vocalist, with a leaning towards quiet storm jazz and that was intentional: "Initially, I was heavier into jazz myself," she states. "I was also more concerned when I first started recording with what was required of me, things like 'you must be poised in public, you must say the right thing.' My music is now more me. I'm less concerned about how I'm viewed. It's about being true, coming from my gut and from my heart, about me saying 'this is who I am.' I think when you first start out, you initially show the best side of yourself and then you expose a little more of yourself. My previous albums were more about the 'sweet' side of love and relationships. But sometimes things hurt. This record is more about the bitter and the sweet…"
It's relevant that Chanté should mention the word 'bitter' since it is the title of a somewhat controversial track on "Exposed," which features a bevy of current and contemporary hitmaking producers and songwriters. Controversial, because the hook of the song uses the 'n' word, a term not usually associated with a singer like Ms. Moore who was never thought of as a 'street-oriented' artist until "Chanté's Got A Man" revealed a more 'girl-next-door' image. The song is about the feelings that can occur in the aftermath of the end of a relationship: "When breakups happen, sometimes there's bitterness. I did break up with (actor) Kadeem Hardison but the song is not about him. Sometimes there are issues….but I'm not bitter towards him. The song "Bitter" does come from experience but it was motivated or inspired by someone else…"
Longtime Chanté fans will find plenty to be happy about on the album - tracks like the brilliant "Man" ("a combination of the old and new, a pretty funky track"), "Train of Thought" and the wonderful "Better Than Making Love" which was produced by Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and has "a Janet Jackson and an S.O.S. Band feel!" Another standout is "Love is Still Alright" which Chanté considers "is about knowing that even if a relationship doesn't work, you can still look at love as being wonderful…" Those who became familiar with Chanté on the heels of "Chanté's Got A Man" will also be satisfied with tracks like "Take Care Of Me" which features DaBrat, the snappy "Go Ahead With All That" and "You Can't Leave Me."
"Exposed" has all the ingredients to propel Chanté to the next level of success and she considers the material she wrote for the album is "more blunt, more honest, more raw. It reflects where I'm at and what I want out of life. The songs I wrote are not sugar-coated: it's like 'let's get down to basics.'" That attitude carries over to Chanté's reflections on where she's at, career-wise: "I'm so grateful for what I have now. I do what I love to do for a living and what a blessing that is. There are so many people who have come and gone since I started recording in 1992. I think this is my time to make it and maybe before I wasn't prepared. Now it feels like I'm on the cusp. I'm prepared to walk through the door and I'm more ready tha
About the Writer
David Nathan is the founder and CEO of SoulMusic.com and began his writing career in 1965; beginning in 1967, he was a regular contributor to Blues & Soul magazine in London before relocating to the U.S. in 1975 where he served as U.S. editor for the publication for several decades and began being known as 'The British Ambassador Of Soul.' From 1988 to 2004, he wrote prolifically for Billboard, has penned bios, produced and written liner notes for box sets and reissue CDs for over a thousand projects. He returned to London in 2009 where he has helped create SoulMusic.com Records as a leading reissue label.