Keshia Chante’s career has spanned almost a decade – amazing, considering she is only 23 years old. The Canadian singer has had limited American exposure up until now, but her music and creativity is undeniable.
While Ms. Chante continues to search for a music deal in America, thanks to the Internet it is still possible to witness all of her greatest music moments. An in depth review of her music career rounds out this CYInterview.
Putting aside Ms. Chante’s music accomplishments, there is something compelling which she reveals in this CYInterview. Three years ago this week, Keshia Chante was reported by the worldwide media to have been cast in the role of Aaliyah, in a biopic about the late singer’s life. Subsequently, there were published Internet reports that the movie was set to begin filming.
Time passed and nothing came of it. So what happened with the Aaliyah movie? For the first time, Keshia has decided to tell the world. She knows that many fans want to know.
You can read the transcript and listen to the CYInterview below:
Listen to the entire Keshia Chante CYInterview:
Have trouble listening to the audio?
Chris Yandek: I want to say before we get into all the art, what do you want people to know about you that we don’t?
Keshia Chante: “Well, thank you, thank you for the interview. Something that I want people to know, I think for maybe your audience, people that might not be familiar with me, I would say that I have been an R&B singer releasing albums since I was 16. I’m 23 years old now, but I’ve been in music for about eight to nine years. I’ve seen some really exciting U.S. opportunities with my video Bad Boy that was on BET. I did the Chris Brown, Bow Wow, Shortie Like Mine video and a couple of magazine tours that took me across America to different malls and events. So I’ve been kind of bubbling under in the U.S. and I’m hoping to do something hopefully this year there.”
CY: Yeah. I always find the stories interesting of the artist like yourself who is based outside of America, in your case Canada, of course, and you know I was reading as I was going along and doing research for this interview, many people were wondering well, you know like, why don’t we see her more in America? You think you haven’t had enough of a chance yet to show your stuff in America?
KC: “I don’t think. I mean, I have to say, all my opportunities in America have just been based on my fans really going hard for me and certain people in the industry believing in me and giving me those opportunities. But at the end of the day, I’m a Canadian artist signed to a Canadian record label that has always been true. I’ve had a brief stint with an American label and that was all kind of politics and a little bit weird, but for me to even have any U.S. opportunities when I am a Canadian signed artist is not really common you know for all my peers that are Canadian artists they don’t, they haven’t had the same opportunities as me. So I’m definitely very grateful for what I have had. I would need to sign a deal in the U.S. to do that and we’re definitely shopping right now.”
CY: What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned along the way through your career and then, now, for yourself thus far?
KC: “Some important lessons, I think one, being a songwriter is extremely important as a singer. It’s important that people connect with you in a real way. You want to be able to share everything with people. People want to connect to something and sometimes people hide behind other strong writers who don’t really get to show what they want to say. So I think being a songwriter and working on that’s really important. I would say being strategic, being on time, being consistent. It’s a typical thing. Work hard, play hard and things happen for you.”
CY: Looked at some of your earlier stuff and I’m thinking to myself, you know, a lot of throwback to the 90s music, R&B, pop music that the people love you know thinking back 20 years ago and that’s where you started your career. And did you always want your music to be different and you know have a sound that reflected an earlier time.
KC: “Well, I don’t feel like my music has ever reflected a certain time just because I was always very current. When I first put out Unpredictable, that’s definitely a sample, I agree with that, Shook being a sample for sure. Bad Boy, Does He Love Me?, those were all, when those came out, there was nothing like that on the radio and they sound dated now because those were seven, eight years ago,, but I would say that I have always been just trying to be consistent with my age. I always did that even at 14.
I was never half naked. I was never talking about things I didn’t know. It was always very young songs. I met a boy at a parking lot and he wanted to go on a date with me and I always wanted to keep it age appropriate; because it’s what’s real. It’s what’s authentic and I think that’s what people my age, at that time would’ve deserved, would be real honesty towards them and nothing that would make them feel pressured to grow up or anything like that.”
CY: Well, I think your sound is definitely unique when you look at the artist of that music from that time and you think about what was out during that time and then you think about and, you’re like, there was nothing like it.
CY: There was really nothing like it. And I was just like and I was doing research and listening to all your things the last few days, I’m like, you know, for the times that it was when she was coming up and just starting as a teenager, there was not any music like that.
KC: “No there wasn’t and there weren’t any teen artists. There were barely any. I remember Avril Lavigne came out right after and that was kind of the times. There wasn’t really anybody doing that. I know that we definitely did look past in 90s music and we were really thinking about that when I came out in I believe 2002 or 2003 to be exact. But I remember during that time we were definitely thinking about the Brandys and the Monicas and the Aaliyahs and what they were doing during that time. We were making really fun, really appropriate age music in my opinion and we wanted to keep that consistent.”
CY: What were you hoping to accomplish with Night & Day?
KC: “Ah, I wanted to, I definitely wanted to control what I was doing and I definitely accomplished that. I went in the studio, I had the exact idea of what kind of music I wanted to make, what I wanted to talk about from vocal arrangements to production. It was already in my head and I was lucky enough to have enough amazing people that knew how to make it happen. You know, amazing piano players or amazing drummer, guitarist, I had that, those musicians that I needed. What I wanted to accomplish was I really wanted the night side to be dance. I wanted it to be fun; I wanted it to be pop; I wanted it to be a 23 year old girl in Vegas. That’s what I wanted my night side to be.
And my day side, I wanted it to be R&B. I wanted it to be like my first and second album. I wanted to just kind of open the diary a little bit and make it a little bit more personable R&B music and I really feel like I’ve accomplished that and I’m hoping to work on part two you know. So I think that’s really fun. “
CY: I think that looking at that scenario when you look at Shooting Star, it’s definitely Las Vegas, night life feel definitely. I think of that right away and I was thinking about that. It definitely, Shooting Star is a song of the times and you could tell that is from, you know, 2011, 2012. This is definitely a current song for the times. How would you compare your newer music compared to the music you did earlier in your career?
KC: “It’s really interesting because the way that the music industry and just the way that consumers were in 2000, 2002, 2004, around that time, it was different. Songs had more time. They had more of a moment. You’d hear a song and you’d probably listen to that same song for a year and a half. It would really live, it reminds you of a moment for I think that type of music. I feel like now, music is very next, next, next, next, next. It’s what’s new, what’s fast and it’s kind of, things don’t get to live as long in my opinion. But my previous songs, I feel like the singles especially R&B again, very teenager, driven, very young. I felt the new music compared to that again, 23 year old girl going through love, going through heartbreak, going through, you know table dancing, going all those things. But I think it’s definitely more mature, the subject matter is different.”
CY: Yeah. I agree with you 100 percent. And as far as just general society goes, I think it’s always in this society that we have today, you know, with the 24/7 news cycle, the 24/7 Facebook and Twitter cycle, everything is what’s next. It’s not just music. This is the world. Everything is what’s next.
KC: “No. For sure. 100 percent.”
CY: You know, I think looking forward now and we’ll talk about a few others things ‘cause I was quite interested because I’ve been following you for a very, very, very long time actually on your Twitter. Years actually.
CY: And I thought to myself, you know you were just kind of always sitting there and then here we are today finally doing this interview and I was doing research and I’m like, it’s time to bring her through. Yesterday, of course, was Aaliyah’s birthday. She would’ve been 33. A few years ago there was talks of you know, playing her in a movie of her life and I just wonder for myself and everyone out there what really happened?
KC: “It’s kind of funny to talk about it just because it’s not something that I should be or supposed to be talking about, but I think you’re fabulous. So what I will say is, for me, being in L.A. and being in the acting world, having some really incredible agents, working with agents, obviously have Beyonce and Chris Brown on their roster, there’s been a lot of really cool opportunities that have come my way. I did meet a few people production company wise that are developing the Aaliyah movie and they spoke to me about playing her in the biopic of her life.
It got into the news and I remember I was actually on a flight, I was sitting on a flight, I can’t remember where I was going, but I was with my team at the time. And I was sitting at a flight and I remember my phone went off like crazy and people were like, ‘Oh my gosh, like, you’re in the movie. Blah, blah, blah.’ And I was getting all these links. It was like Perez Hilton, it was all these blogs and I remember I landed and I got a call from Aaliyah’s lawyer and Aaliyah’s family. And from my understanding, there are people trying to create a movie and Aaliyah’s family are still mourning her loss and aren’t ready to share her story and create a film. So there’s a bit of back and forth thing with her family and with creative people.
And I know that they would bless a movie being created, they’re just not 100 percent comfortable and unfortunately from my understanding they don’t have complete control of her estate. So a movie could technically be made without them green lighting it and I kind of think that’s unfortunate. So I want her family to be on board and to be happy with it. It’s still kind of lingering in the air. I would love to play the part. I know there’s a lot of things that I would want to do physically vocally to nail it. I think it. I’m a huge fan of Aaliyah. She was a role model for me, still inspires me to this day and I would want to do it justice and exceed people’s expectations of it.”
CY: I just want to say to you, you know this is a world outlet where we have presidential candidates [see here] and [here] and major stars and we had Robert Wagner [see here] exclusively remembering his great friend Liz Taylor. So we break things here. So for you to tell us what really is going on because on the Internet there are so many mixed messages about what happened with this, what didn’t happen with this and I thought to myself, you know, besides talking about your music, I’m like, we should really get a clear answer on this one. We really should.
KC: “Yeah. And for me, I’ve always wanted to kind of talk about it, it’s just really, it’s uncomfortable. I don’t want to disrespect her family. I know that they’re, they don’t like it. They don’t like when they get calls from people, like, ‘Oh, I heard this about your daughter. I heard this.’ Because it’s painful for them. So I know that the lawyer and even them and even my team who have kind of like you know, it’s happy, it’s better for everyone to not really speak on it and I just feel like you know, I’m not supposed to speak on it, but I know in this situation, yeah, it’ kind of, it’s a long time coming and I know people really want to know what’s going on. So yeah, I definitely think this was the perfect time to tell you.”
CY: Thank you. And before we go on and moving along, I think that could be your Selena moment. Do you feel like that could be your big moment?
KC: “Oh my gosh, for me, you know, that would be amazing, but genuinely for me, I want my kind of moment, whatever that may be in terms of being international and getting a tour worldwide, which is something we’re working on, but I think for me, I really want to be known as Keshia and my music. I think if that was to do as amazing as Selena or exceeding that, I would be extremely grateful. But I definitely don’t want that to be my kind of moment in America, my first time nationally. If it happened that way, that’s the way God intended for it to be. But I mean it’s not something that I’m sitting there like, this has to be it. You know, I want to use this as my opportunity to make it happen, definitely not. But if it happens that way, you never know how the cookie’s gonna crumble.”
CY: I feel like you know and we’re sitting her you know the day after she would’ve been 33. I wonder if you feel for yourself is there any kind of bigger responsibility when people say you know, you’re carrying on the torch for Aaliyah or you are like her or you are the artist that resembles her today. Do you feel like any kind of bigger responsibility there?
KC: “Because I looked up to her so much like, I remember I was bawling. I remember I was in bed for the longest time, at least a week. Just like, it was so hard for me. I grew up with her and I wanted to be just like her. It was always weird because you know, my hair, obviously my hair’s real and it’s straight and it’s, that’s the way that it is and in school people would always say I looked like her and I never, I genuinely never tried to put any effort. Even in the Unpredictable video and my Bad Boy video, so many people were like, ‘Oh my gosh, she looks like Aaliyah.’ I was never, we never sat there and said, ‘Let’s try to mimic or find inspiration from that.’ It was always me being me.
But I do look at, I look at a lot of her work and she was so ahead of the times. She’s very futuristic. And I think it’s important if you’re gonna take anything from what she’s done, is to be authentically you. She was the only artist in kicks, baggy pants, dancing, even in videos she had snakes. She was doing things before all of our pop artists were doing them now. So I think if you’re gonna take anything away from that, it should just be authentically you and thinking outside of the box. That’s something that I admire from her and she just had swag. I loved her swag. It’s crazy.”
CY: Absolutely. Ok, a few fun things and then I’m gonna let you go.
CY: One of my biggest supporters is Shontelle Layne and I told her I was gonna be interviewing you and she said, sometimes Americans fans confuse her for you and that Canadian fans are so annoyed by that. Ever heard that?
KC: “That we, no, you know what, I have never actually heard that. The most recent one that I heard, I always hear like different things. I’ve never heard the one about Shontelle which is so cool though ‘cause she’s an awesome, she’s an awesome artist. But I remember for example, I ran into Chantal Kreviazuk not too long ago and she got me confused for Keyshia Cole and I guess she had like a little tiff with Keyshia Cole in the studio. She kind of thought it was me for a second. So I think she has beef with me for a minute and then she’s like, ‘No, no, no. Oh. You’re Chante.’ I heard that which is kind of weird. But Shontelle, yeah, I know that especially my management team and me being Trinidadian, the fact there’s a lot of back rooting in the islands. And I know that my manager knows Shontelle very well. And I know even that Rihanna had my first album before she came out when she was still living in Barbados. So I know that I gotta make a trip to Barbados soon for sure.”
CY: Keshia Chante, thank you so much for joining me today, let’s wrap up with something fun. What are your hopes for the future?
KC: “Ooo, hopes for the future, will definitely be doing a tour worldwide, you know releasing albums in America, so many cool fans I’m dying to meet, like I really just want to meet them ‘cause they’ve been going hard for me for so long and hopefully get to do something special for them. I know that would make them really happy. Just living life, I feel really lucky to be making music and be making music for this long and living this dream of mine so I just want to keep doing that. I would love to get into fashion and films and filming and finding artists one day. But I have a huge list of goals. It would take a year to tell them all to you. You’d probably hang up the phone by then. There’s a lot of things.”
CY: I wouldn’t hang up the phone. We’ve done almost 90 minute segments here, but hey, I mean, you want to write out a list for me, you want me to publish that alongside the interview of your goals, I’ll be happy to tell them to the world to you, whatever you want to mention.
KC: “Aww, you’re so sweet.”
CY: I don’t have a problem doing that. It was great talking with you. Hang on with me, of course, and thank you for you know coming into my world, we break things here, we get people to tell the record straight and I’m glad that we figured out some things today and it was very great speaking with you.
KC: “Yeah. Oh it was a pleasure speaking to you. You’re awesome.”
You can purchase a copy of Keshia Chante’s album Night and Day here.
Keshia Chante’s official website is at www.keshiachante.com.
You can follow Keshia Chante on Twitter at https://twitter.com/KeshiaChante
You can email Chris Yandek at ChrisYandek@CYInterview.com Chris is available for interviews to comment on anything featured on CYInterview.
You can follow Chris Yandek on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/chrisyandek