After wooing audiences up north, Keshia Chante has arrived in the U.S with her single Bad Boy, which is currently impacting MTV and BET, although it is her third consecutive hit in Canada. Yes, you heard right. This little lady has already had string of Top 10 hits, shot numerous videos - two of which were directed by Little X - and has a chart-topping album to her name.
It was only a matter of time before Canada became too small for her talent, but as everyone knows, America is no easy market to crack. In fact, not one urban act from our northern neighbors has actually managed to cross over in the United States, although Kardinal Offishall came close with his Neptunes produced Bellydancer as did Inessence with their club hit You Will Never Find.
With a dozen teen artists coming out every month under heavyweights like Jermaine Dupris and P.Diddy, will Keshia Chante be able to make her mark? Will she be able to put Canadas urban scene on the map? Already off to a good start, this 16-year-old self-proclaimed Tupac fan lets AlllHipHop.com Alternatives know that she is not here to play teenage games. Her plan for world domination has only just begun.
AHHA: Theres alot of buzz on you in Canada. How do you manage school in all this?
I read somewhere that you choose not to have a tutor; you prefer to go to regular school.
Keshia: I just think that if you do what you really want to do, and I do love to sing, youll do whatever you have too to make it happen. I know school is important and I dont want to loose it in all of this. So its pretty much balancing the two. Its all about focus. I go to school usually from nine to three, and then I come home and get ready for shows. Theres usually dance rehearsals and stuff like that.
AHHA: How do your classmates handle your fame?
Keshia: Its kind of weird. They are more shy with me than anything else. I guess thats kind of a good thing though.
AHHA: Theyre probably intimidated!
Keshia: Yeah, I dont understand why! I guess its a good thing because it doesnt distract me from my classes.
AHHA: Your schedule must be crazy considering there is so much hype on you at the moment and so much press. How old were you when you started?
Keshia: Its really strange because the album came out when I was 16. I got signed to BMG when I was 14. I was shooting videos, recording and everything when I was 14. I did an underground joint and released four singles and three videos before the actual album came out. Ive been working hard and doing shows all over, so Im used to the hectic schedule.
AHHA: Whats your opinion of the Canadian urban scene?
Keshia: Im definitely representing the frost side [Toronto]! Theres a very strong rock scene that overcomes everything else, but R&B is definitely rising up. Toronto is like a mini-New York, and the music follows what America does. So when you go off [that formula], theres definitely a different outtake. But I think were growing - we are going to get there eventually. R&B and Hip-Hop have taken a huge leap in the past few years. Well develop our scene eventually
AHHA: Why do you think no one from the Canadian urban scene has cracked the U.S?
Keshia: I think our formula is different. And I think population is a big factor. We have a lot of rock fans; the number one stations play Rock and Top 40. So for a Canadian urban artist to crack the U.S market, thats a whole another level.
AHHA: Who are some of your influences?
Keshia: Oh my god, definitely Tupac Shakur. I was six years old when I first heard Dear Mama. I was at the back of my mums Mustang and I learned every word. I memorized it even though it was a five minute song. My mums friend wanted me to perform it, and my mum wasnt sure whether she wanted me on stage. I did it, got a standing ovation and just that feeling, it was so much fun. From there I knew I wanted to be in music.
AHHA: So whats in the future for Keisha? Is there another album? Are you pushing it internationally? What are your goals?
Keshia: My definite goal is to push this album internationally. Ive been working on material for my second, third, fourth album [laughs] since I was little. The first album is still pretty new. Bad Boy, which was the first single in Canada, has just been released in the U.S. I was so excited when I saw it on BET for the first time!
AHHA: The relationship topics you sing about on your album, are they real life experiences? With school and music where do you find time to date?
Keshia: I dont write about things that I havent gone through in my real life, but I do believe you dont have to write everything on your album. A true vocalist does have to write every song on their album. A true entertainer can make any song real, even if they didnt write it and never experienced it. They can sing it with passion. There are some issues that I have dealt with but there are also issues [on the album] that I can understand and can relate to. The Bad Boy song is definitely real though!