site logo

Chrisette Michele Biography

Last updated: 05/19/2009

Chrisette Michele Payne was born in Central Islip, New York to parents who worked as deacons to their church. This connection inspired her to reflect on childhood memories in her own Def Jam debut album. She sings in a jazz style reminiscent of singers such as Sarah Vaughn, Jill Scott, Macy Gray, Erykah Badu, and Ella Fitzgerald.

The daughter of a deacon father and choir director mother, she led gospel choirs in high school. She attended Five Towns College in Dix Hills, Long Island, NY and graduated with a vocal performance degree


She has been featured on several popular hip hop albums. Most recently she was featured on the The Game's album, L.A.X. on "Let Us Live". On Jay-Z's Kingdom Come she was featured on the second single "Lost One", while on Nas' Hip Hop Is Dead, she was featured three times: on the album's second single "Can't Forget About You", the Kanye West-produced "Still Dreaming" and the final track "Hope". Recently she also appeared on the bonus track "Slow Down", from Ghostface Killah's The Big Doe Rehab.

Michele performing in Brooklyn in August 2007.

I Am (2007)

Michele's debut album I Am is currently in stores now. Michele's song "Your Joy" was released on iTunes as a free single of the week. The album spunned four singles "If I Have My Way", "Best of Me", "Be Ok", and "Love Is You". The album's lead single "If I Have My Way" charted at #4 on the Adult R&B charts, and #24 on the Hot R&B charts. Following its success, "Best of Me" charted on the Adult Contemporary Tracks at #21. In December 2007, "Be Ok" was released as the third single charting at #64 on Hot R&B charts and #21 on the Adult R&B charts. In 2008, "Love Is You" was released as the fourth and final single on the album. The single charted #96 on the Hot R&B charts and #20 Adult R&B.

[edit] Epiphany (2008-present)

In 2008, Michele appeared on the track "Rising Up" from The Roots' album, Rising Down. Michele guest starred on an episode (What's Black-A-Lackin'?") of Girlfriends as herself on Monday, February 11, 2008 on The CW. She also wrote a song for Tyler Perry's House of Payne entitled "I've Gotta Love Jones". The video premiered in 2008 on television however the song is not publicly available.[5]From May 2008 to July 2008 Chrisette Michele embarked on a nationwide co-headlining tour with soul singer Raheem DeVaughn called the "Art of Love Tour"; Solange Knowles served as the opening act.[6] In September 2008, Michele performed twice at the "Evening of Stars: A Tribute to Patti Labelle".

In mid-2008, Michele began recording for her sophomore album. In January 2009, Epiphany was released as the album's lead single. The album is currently set for release in March 31st 2009, entitled Epiphany.

When she appeared on an episode of "Lift Every Voice" on BET in February 2009, hosted by Coco Brother, she has shared that she would like to one day record a live Worship (Gospel) album.