Chrisette Michele: I Am

She is Chrisette Michele and with her debut, I Am (Def Jam), this constituent of the House of Hov delivers one of the quietest, yet most powerful albums out there. With collaborations from Salaam Remi, John Legend, Will.I.Am and Babyface, the team of producers and writers is a combination that resulted in an album much like its collaborators: subdued and cunning.Chrisette has joined the ranks of those classic-hinted artists, who merge so much of the sounds that influenced them together. Making her mainstream debut under the Jay-Z umbrella in his “Lost Ones” single, Chrisette quickly gained honorable buzz. Just a few months later, Chrisette once again wowed audiences by singing on Nas’ “Can’t Forget About You” as well as making her video debut, which ultimately was the catalyst for her buzz as a solo artist. I Am delivers love-induced songs that resonate familiar in their rhyming and content, yet subtly create a new “old” sound. Chrisette’s captivating vocals leave you listening with an alert ear, even during the albums slow-paced ditties like “Your Joy” and “Love Is You.” However, some instances such as “Good Girl” prove the songstress is trying to have it all stylistically. While blending many genres, Chrisette creates a mystery as to who she is musically. Perhaps that was her intention all along—to be an artist leaving all kinds of doors open, so that she can later enter the one she pleases. However, “If I Had My Way” as a single will seemingly limit any doors she might want to go through. The track does no justice to Chrisette’s original song arrangement or creativity.I Am is the antithesis to any of the albums currently playing on iPods across the land, particularly those drenched in love-scorned tracks and painful riffs. This is a hopeful compilation of songs. Even when Chrisette seems to show the slightest trace of falling apart, it’s still encouraging. Take the Will.I.Am collaborated “Be OK,” where she claims that she doesn’t need to cry when leaving her man. “Best Of Me” shows another resilient and strong woman running into an ex-lover and his girlfriend, while showcasing dignity and kindness…talk about rare!Songsters doubling as positive role models have become increasingly scarce in music today. However, in Chrisette Michele, we may meet the light at the end of the tunnel. I Am resonates with love and hopefulness, strength in saying goodbye, and loving the prospect of marriage. It’s about time.