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INTERVIEW: JPOP STAR CHE’NELLE

Hi Che’Nelle, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

-I’ve been pretty….. busy.. lol but purposefully busy lol

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Love You Like Me”?

-Sure! Its the single from my new ep i’ve just released called ‘calm before the storm’. theres a version with Konshens who blessed the song with his verse and theres a version without him. Its a pretty forward message talking about a person who is confident in knowing that they’re the only person that knows how to love the person that they believe wont be able to find no one else better in the world lol I tend to be more forward in my songs then i am in person lol

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

-Lol.. probably the fact that i think no one can love my man the way i do, just had a cocky moment i guess, but he def was the inspiration..  I tend to have very peculiar and dramatic imaginations and sometimes it effects my reality .. i should stop typing cos I’m starting to sound like a lunatic lol  most of my songs start out either from a thought that creates a path of its own, a day dream, a past memory, a current moment or situation that could spark a sentence of a verse or chorus .. and some days i just think of concepts for fun and it surprises me most times listening to how my songs form and turn out at the end. its magic..

Any plans to release a video for the single?

-Absolutely… stay tuned..

The single comes off your new album Calm Before The Storm – what’s the story behind the title?

-Well for the past two years i’ve been working on a new path, new sound new vision.. I took a major risk by not signing with the label again in japan because i no longer felt passionate about Jpop music. Don’t get me wrong .. I’m so grateful that i had the opportunity to grow a career in japan by singing jpop music, I seriously was so fascinated by it and enjoyed it for a period of time.. the beauty of it was that jpop really motivated me to figure out what music i really wanted to sing for the rest of my life.. and so i took a leap finally and left that all behind.. not knowing where i was going to end up career wise.. So i created a new path musically for myself and almost a year later the label reached out and was interested in the new sound. I had an expectation of them turning it down because for years I didnt get the support i wanted in pursuing new music with them whenever i asked.. so interestingly enough, they wanted to license it not just in japan but all of asia.. so here i am finally in control of my craft.. and ‘calm before the storm”.. is a piece of what i have created that i’ve chosen to put out as an appetizer of whats to come.. and i’m so excited ..

How was the recording and writing process?

The recording and writing process was magic.. after turning down the new deal and starting from scratch I was more excited then scared of what i was going to create. I reached out to a few people in my life who I believe the world should know about.. a producer and a writer who i are now my go to’s. My writing partner CJ (chris jackson) who is a ball of talent has penned many of my songs with me and who i now call my writing partner.. Mario ‘silver age’ parra who was the producer who came out and worked with me from scratch on pretty much all the songs..I told him i have some ideas in mind that i wanted to mould and grow with him..

We had all kinds of days.. fun, inspiring, mellow, exciting, motivating, full of vision, .. it really was different in so many ways.. each long day went by so fast.. the creative process although at times slow and frustrating .. was always fun for me.. we were all in our element and wow i felt like missy and timberland lol after a few months of working together.. i began to branch out to work with other producers like keith harris, and the stereotypes etc.. I didnt feel comfortable doing that until i had a base, a go to sound that I either can have an example to show and work off of or to use as inspiration.. I really had some of the most flowy, magical songwriting sessions i’ve ever experienced..

After becoming a major star in Japan, what’s been like to somehow start from the scratch now in the US?

  • Its humbling.. it also showed me that its not about quick success.. i enjoy the journey the work.. although i have my days where i just cry and wanna pull my hair out.. I still for some reason have such a hunger in what i do.. I still have this fire burning within me.. I thought at times that fire was gonna blow out.. but no matter what.. the fire still continues to freakin burn..

  • Its scary though i must say.. especially going from an entire label backing you on projects.. to “becoming the label” lol being indi is no joke.. having to see over everything major and minor detail, not really knowing all the ins and outs yet so taking a bunch of risks, meeting people growing relationships and at the same time keeping with the creative side of thnigs, budget, music videos, people lol I’m trying to keep my sanity!! but hey these are the kinds of struggles I’m willing to go through because theres a little part of my somewhere that believes all this is somehow worth it… I have a small amazing team who believes in the che’nelle vision and i’d be lost without them.. takes a village man..

To answer your question though lol biggest difference is the environment and the size of my team.. I’m not running around doing tv shows…still just feels like I’m going going going… one new destination to the next. i miss being around my fans though.. thats probably what is the biggest difference if any lol

Has it being harder for you to breakthrough in an industry that seems to ignore Asian artists?

I think that all artist have their own struggles.. theres no actual formula especially cos the industry and the world is constantly evovling.. so i don’t know maybe? maybe its harder? i don’t know because i don’t know other artists inside story and i don’t really have no one to compare myself to.. and if i did compare myself to someone its all outta perception.. The reality is that theres not many artist outside of america thats asian whose a household name out here.. I don’t know why.. and the reasons i’ve heard doesnt really make sense to me.. i don’t think its impossible.. and thats probably apart of the reason why I’m still striving.. growing.. working.. preparing.. my music.. to one day spread worldwide..

Have you look at any other Asian artists and groups like PSY or Far East Movement approach for success or have you been creating your very own?

Of course Ive watched them! lol they’re creating a path for artist like myself.. a few more of us and we break the mould and i believe eventually the charts will be filled with not ust artists from these parts of the world but also from the east.. its inevitable.. and yes i am busy creating success of my own.. we all are..

What struggles and personal stories will you be diving into this new record?

Criminal is a song about being honest as a woman that we can be too much sometimes in a relationship . We push and expect so much from our men and expect them to get put up with it .. it’s a song about letting our person know that although we can be that way, we don’t wanna lose our person.

Hollywood was written about how we view love.. using Hollywood as a metaphor… Love is not all it’s cut out to be… just like Hollywood… seems like it’s all about the glitz and glam yes… but there’s so much darkness and dirt to it too.

Any plans to hit the road?

Yes… thats on the priority list… Its so important to me to go out and perform.. and plus thats all i wanna do cos I’m so passionate to be on stage.. to connect with people to share my imaginations and stories.. So thats a constant aim. . can’t wait to be everywhere. lol

What else is happening next in CHE’NELLE’s world?

Whats next? i’m about to shoot a video for “criminal” which is a ballad record from my ep.. I’m also on the way to japan in a few days for a mini tour.. its exciting..

Watch here

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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