Bestfan Exclusive: Interview with Keshia Chanté
Keshia Chanté is back with a brand new fresh sound and style. It’s been a while since we last heard from the “Unpredictable” songstress. Her upcoming album, Night & Day is a 2-disc project, showcasing two sides of herself. She released her videos Table Dancer” off the Night side with her hot blonde hair and bangs and “Test Drive” off the Day side showing off her guitar skills. Keshia has truly grown up and wants all the fans to see! Bestfan had the privilege to chat with the 22 year old about her comeback and also how fashion is so important to her.
(Bestfan): After a brief absence from the spotlight, you’re making a strong comeback with a brand new refreshed look and sound. Was this an important time in your life or career to grow as an artist?
(Keshia Chanté): I’ve been active in the music business since I was 13 and my single was when I was 13 as well. I’ve been M.I.A for the last two years, although I’ve been working behind the scenes, getting involved in acting and the fashion world but I haven’t really been expressing myself and that is my opportunity when I make music, so I took some time out to hone by writing skills and I wanted this new album to be all songs written by me that were about what I’m going through because I’m 22 right now so I wanted there to be growth. I wanted my vocals to be stepped up, my performance as an entertainer to be stepped up. It’s a really critical time for me.
(Bestfan): You have 2 new singles, “Test Drive” from the “Day” side of your album and “Table Dancer” from the “Night” side. Can you explain the significance of this 2-disc album and why you decided to release 2 singles at the same time?
(Keshia Chanté): When I go out like to a movie or if I’m working or what not, I get a lot of fans that come up to me and telling me what they love. Sometimes I hear fans say, “Oh! I want you to sing a song like this or a song like that”. Also, personality wise – I’m a Gemini, so there are definitely two sides of me and believe everyone has two sides to them. I really just wanted to make fans happy, it’s been a really long time and I also wanted to make myself happy and kind of not be stuck in a box. I think it’s really common for a lot of artists to get pushed into a box so I wanted to be able to make pop music, but I also wanted to make music that was a lot more soulful and to the heart. For the “night” side, I wanted to make dance songs and club music. I wanted to make my fans who have grown up with me to have songs they can enjoy, but I also didn’t want to lose the fans that I started with which was my first album and all R&B. I definitely wanted to do contemporary R&B with a mix of dance. I wanted to make everyone happy as well as try something different artistically.
(Bestfan): In your music video for Test Drive we noticed you rocking out on the guitar. Is this something you recently learned how to play or are you able to play different instruments?
(Keshia Chanté): I would say I’m an amateur at playing the electric guitar and an amateur at playing piano, those are the two instruments I’m truly fascinated by. I am playing the electric guitar live in “Test Drive”.
(Bestfan): We love the new, fresh look and styling in your latest music videos. What influenced your decision to essentially ‘reinvent’ your image?
(Keshia Chanté): I’ve grown up. For the “night” side, “Table Dancer” is more playful, fantasy and experimental – I definitely wanted to do blonde and bangs. I want that side of the album to be fun and try different things. For the “day” side, “Test Drive” is more of a natural look and more of how I am.
(Bestfan): Who and what were your inspirations with your new album, in contrast to your previous albums?
(Keshia Chanté): The inspiration with the new album when I first started was Alanis Morrissette’s “Jagged Little Pill” album, Coldplay albums and Brandy’s “Afrodisiac” album. For me, I wanted something with no genre, singing something real. I really want to touch people. I really wanted to make songs that would prize it and that came out of my diary and every song in the album is exactly something I’ve been through or something that I dreamed of but they’re all real to me, that was inspiration for the day side. When I started to get really deep and going to some dark places for the acoustic side of the album, I decided that I wanted to have some fun too. I did “Table Dancer” and another song called “Meet Me At The Dancefloor”. My inspiration and energy for it is definitely Alanis Morrissette and Coldplay, but I did want to go back to a little bit of Brandy, Monica and early Aaliyah.
(Bestfan): Are there any collaborations or featured artists on the new albums?
(Keshia Chanté): Not of yet. For me it’s kind of honing my songwriting. I haven’t really thought about features yet, I really just wanted to have my little art piece finalized and I’m going to figure out another rapper or singer but not sure yet.
(Bestfan): You’ve toured with Destiny’s Child back in 2005, what was that experience like and who would you like to tour with in the future?
(Keshia Chanté): The experience was awesome. Beyonce is amazing, Kelly is a sweetheart and Michelle is very kind. They’re all really amazing. I had a really good time doing that. Their showmanship is incredible. Of course Beyonce is my idol in terms of being a performer, I love watching her performances and killing the stage, she definitely inspires me. I would love to tour with Kanye West, I think he is really awesome. The type of heart he has and his passion for music, whether it gets him in trouble or creates diehard fans. He is really amazing and dedicated to his art.
(Bestfan): In the past you have done quite a bit of acting. Would you still like to act in the future or is the focus more on music at the time being?
(Keshia Chanté): It’s definitely about the music, it’s my number one and it’s where my heart is. I love acting too, so if the right role comes along or if a good lead role comes up, it’s all about timing for me because music is priority. Acting is really exciting so I would love to even be behind the scenes someday, maybe direct something.
(Bestfan): We spotted you at the Greta Constantine Spring/Summer 2011 Collection show. How important is fashion to you and would you like create your own clothing line one day?
(Keshia Chanté): When I’m in a bad mood and I put on something, I feel great. I think it’s a big way of expressing yourself. I just love mix matching, there’s an art to fashion and I think if you respect art whether it be painting, fashion, films or music. I think if you love one, you’re going to love them all. For me, I get to dress up in my music videos and tours.
Yeah, I would love to do my own fashion line, I think it would be more of a boutique collection rather than to a big company. I would like it to be more exclusive, because to me it’s about loving the fashion rather than selling the fashion. I mean, Alexander McQueen is a perfect example of someone who took art to the next level, it wasn’t really about commercial industry of it, it was about the art and that is what I would want to do.
(Bestfan): You have had great success with your earlier albums, including your self-titled debut album as well as 2U. How difficult is it for a female Canadian artist to reach mass audiences, specifically the American market?
(Keshia Chanté): I feel lucky that I get to do what I do, wake up and perform and do interviews. It’s really exciting for me because it’s my dream but I definitely want to tour in different countries and I’m very fortunate for people like me having MTV embrace me and play my videos. I think it’s important that, if you’re an artist music is to be heard worldwide, or at least an opportunity to be heard worldwide. I have songs on my new album that having positive messages and also songs that people can relate to and cry to and hopefully heal with. I would love to share that with the world.
Bestfan Quick Q’s
Which artist would you love to work with (male/female) (dead/alive)?
I love Kanye West, Miguel, Lady Gaga, Definitely Beyonce, Coldplay, Alanis Morrissette.
What is your favourite junk food?
I get scoops of vanilla ice cream and put an entire pack of smarties on it, that’s my favourite thing in the whole wide world.
Who is your favourite fashion designer?
Honestly, I would have to say it’s Donatella Versace, I love and live for Versace. I think she’s amazing and all of her stuff is the epitome of the 70’s glamour, so Donatella is definitely my favourite.
What electronic can you not live without?
What current song can you not get out of your head?
Kanye West’s “Gorgeous” from his My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy album
What would Keshia Chanté fans be surprised to know about you?
I’m really shy and scared of the dark. They’ll be surprised that I’m a lot like them, I have bad days and sad days too.
– End of Interview –