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Issue 1084

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Feature

Chante Moore: Moore than Words

Chante Moore
Chante Moore Chante Moore Chante Moore

âEach album reflects where I am in my life. Since my last solo album (2000âs âExposedâ), Iâve grown spiritually and emotionally.

Being a more mature woman, having children, having been married before has taught me lessons and made me a better person and taken me to where I am right now. Iâm not done growingâ¦thereâs still more work to be doneâ¦â

With those words, Chanté Moore could sound like sheâs had a thirty-year career when in reality, sheâs been making records for something like half that time! Ever since she began recording as the first artist signed to the late Louil Silas Jr.âs label (Silas Records), the Bay Area native and L.A. resident has been known for the quality of her music. No cookie-cutter riffs or near-the-mark videos but rather, music that has a certain timelessness about it. I can still hear Chantéâs first couple of albums â in particular her debut 'Precious' â and be thrilled at the beauty in her voice, the range and the soulfulness of tunes like my all-time favorite 'As If We Never Met' along with 'Loveâs Taken Over' and 'Itâs Alright.' Personally, her biggest hit 'Chantéâs Got A Man' didnât do too much for me but I did understand that after a few near-misses chartwise, it was the record that brought her the kind of mainstream attention MCA Records wanted her to achieve.

Now, eight years and two albums with husband Kenny Lattimore later, Chantéâs back with 'Love The Woman,' notable in particular for the work she did with George Duke (who produced tracks on 'Precious') and soul music-minded folks like Raphael Saadiq and Warryn Campbell. âWe began the process of working on this record about a year ago,â she reveals. âIâd been wanting to work with George again for a while, particularly because of his sensitivity, production-wise. He lets you be yourself and guides you. He takes what was in me and bring it out and he lets me be. I usually like to sing a song over and over again so I can feel it. George will say, âLetâs try thisâ after I feel like Iâve sung all the ways I want to. Then heâll say âletâs focus on some areasâ¦and I really like that.â

Among the Duke-produced standouts on the CD (on Peak Records) are Chantéâs versions of a couple of classics â Nancy Wilsonâs 'Guess Who I Saw Today' and Minnie Ripertonâs 'Give Me Time.' Chanté explains, âI didnât hear the Nancy Wilson song till I was about twenty! I wasnât allowed to listen to any secular music in my household and when I did hear it, I thought it had a great story. I loved the journey in the song because it takes you somewhere. I started singing it live about six years ago. 'Give It Time' is the song I walked down the sand to,â she adds, referring to her wedding ceremony six years ago. âItâs so apropos. Iâm learning about love everyday. It really takes work to take love to the next level. Itâs definitely beautiful but itâs also workâ and as she says in her record company bio, âIt takes time to really show somebody what they really mean to you â time and incidents and downfalls and hurt and pain and joy and no money and a lot of moneyâ¦â

Although Chanté contributed the least number of songs as a songwriter to this project than in the past â collaborating on three tracks including the title song which she describes as âvery sensual and inspired by thinking about all the minded folks like Raphael Saadiq and Warryn Campbell. âWe began the process of working on this record about a year ago,â she reveals. âIâd been wanting to work with George again for a while, particularly because of his sensitivity, production-wise. He lets you be yourself and guides you. He takes what was in me and bring it out and he lets me be. I usually like to sing a song over and over again so I can feel it. George will say, âLetâs try thisâ after I feel like Iâve sung all the ways I want to. Then heâll say âletâs focus on some areasâ¦and I really like that.â

Keenly aware of how the music industry has changed since she started out, Chanté says, âItâs a whole new era. Itâs so different â I feel a little like a fish out of water. Record companies donât nurture artists â Louil (Silas) was one of the ones who would do that. Honestly, if I didnât love the music so much, I wouldnât be doing this!â She adds that her absence from making a new record doesnât mean sheâs been idle since 2000: âIâve been working with (husband) Kenny â weâve had two duet albums together and weâre very much alike musically. The second one (2006âs 'Covered/Uncovered') is my favorite. Having an R&B side and a gospel counterpart to the album was a dream for both of us. I donât have the âgospelâ voice so it was about figuring how to do gospel! Itâs way more challenging than doing R&B â you have to balance performance with authenticityâ¦â

On a personal level, Chanté says, âItâs been a good time, a time of learning together. Weâve bonded as a couple and itâs been a blessing to be able to be on the road together. Itâs a good thing we get along! Weâve been able to fortify ourselves, weâve learned how to deal with one another and weâve stood together.â With Kenny currently finishing off his first album for Verve, there are no immediate plans for the couple to tour together right now especially since Chanté is busy promoting 'Love The Woman.' On a tour with guitarist Norman Brown, she concludes, âIâm excited to be out there again and more than anything, Iâm grateful that my music has been able to stand the test of time. Iâve been able to sustain a living in music and thatâs a huge blessing.â
Words DAVID NATHAN

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