Like any good R&B singer, Chrisette Michele knows from first-hand experience how to sing about love’s many peaks and valleys. (Recent reports claim that her former boyfriend and manager is suing her for $20 million. Love can stink sometimes hunh.) I talked to her recently for theGrio.com about her album Let Freedom Reign, and in our convo she mentioned how her latest song, “Goodbye Game” is one of those end-of-relationship, looking-at-the-front-door anthems. She explains:
It was the first song I wrote when I went to record this album. I said this is the song that my fans want to hear. I talked to my aunt and said this is the first single. They didn’t believe me… [The label] went with “I’m a Star” anyway. No comment. This is the song after “Blame It On Me” [from last year’s Epiphany CD]. Like, you blamed it on him or her, you walked away from it. Now I’m playing the goodbye game. Like, stand up, be strong, get out of it. Move on to the next thing.”
So given her expertise, I also asked her to share her favorite break-up songs with me. She offered up some really great ones too. The first one is “But Beautiful” sung by Della Reese. Though Chrisette said it was by Ella Fitzgerald, I couldn’t find that recording. Della/Ella, it’s easy to get the names confused. But Reese’s version is so powerful, you’d be remiss to mistake her voice for anyone else ever again…even Ms. Fitzgerald.
But Beautiful” is a jazz standard about how love can really hurt sometimes but is really beautiful. It’s a slow ballad. I used to sing it all through college, and I still do when I have a chance.”
Un-break My Heart” by Toni Braxton is one of the most beautiful broken-hearted ballads that we’ve ever, ever, ever heard. I adore it.”
And then I’ll be honest with you “Blame It On Me,” my own song, when I sing that song, boy, I get so liberated and so emotional, and to hear the audience feel the same way, for us all to be waving goodbye at the end of the song is just…I really enjoy “Blame It On Me” and I’m really proud of that record.”
End of the Road” by Boyz II Men. I love that song. The harmonies are crazy. For them to bring harmonies and musicality with the commerciality is incredible. It was a big, big, big hit. And they were singing. They weren’t lip-syncing, every performance was live. Incredible.”
“Don’t Speak” by No Doubt. Gwen Stefani is so sarcastic, she’s so edgy. She’s such a girly-girl, but her heart gets broken at the same time.”
Weigh in with your favorites below.