The multi-talented singer, songwriter, dancer, and occasional host is back after a brief stint away from music with her latest single “Here I Am”. While starting her creative career as a background dancer and choreographer, eventually Chantel Nicole started making a name for herself while appearing on popular YouTube segments and magazines and K-Pop outlets.
She has made appearances on Seventeen Magazine, Bustle, Elite Daily, and even Korean channel MNet. Her first set of 3 singles intrigued fans and critics alike, giving them a taste of what was in store. Recently, her TikTok has skyrocketed with teasers to her new single while building an authentic and engaged audience of music lovers.
Chantel Nicole’s “Here I Am”
Chantel Nicole’s latest single “Here I Am” released on July 16th, 2021 is the single from her unreleased project, “CHROMA,” which will serve as a palette for her mix of genres in Pop and R&B. The single was originally a K-POP demo crafted under the tutelage of singer-songwriter Rodnae “Chikk” Bell. After completing the track Chantel knew this piece of work had to be on her project as it incorporates the multi-faceted nature of her personality and creativity.
The idea for the song was inspired by the childhood animation, Sailor Moon, and depicts Chantel as the “Damsel in This Dress” ready to save the heart of the one she loves. The track is sultry, dynamic, and keeps listeners guessing. As the production builds, new musical textures are introduced and the energy keeps building. In the accompanying music video, Chantel dons eight different looks while performing choreography in several stunning locations.
“It’s not just about saving someone from a bad relationship but my proclamation to the world: You want something exciting and new? HERE I AM. I’m asserting myself and inviting listeners to do the same.” – Chantel Nicole
Chantel Nicole – Here I Am
Meet and Get To Know Chantel Nicole
Kulture Vulturez: Growing up what do you think led you to becoming the creative person you are now?
Chantel Nicole: Growing up I say my influences definitely came from [Shirley Temple]. I was playing sick from going to school one day and I saw this little white girl named Shirley Temple tap dancing, and I was like wow. This little girl, in which I did not realize was super old at the time, had me like, oh my goodness, she is a little girl, she is tap dancing. At the time I was really interested in learning how to dance, and I never said anything until my mom offered me dance lessons.
I started dancing when I was 10 years old. I cried the first class I had, I felt like I could not do it. My mom gave me speech saying, ‘if you don’t want to do this, I will take you right out.’ After that, I was like I am sticking with this. 20 years later, here I am doing my thing.
Throughout my life I would say dance has had a huge influence on my creative process when I am writing, when I am singing, and when I am picking out beats and production. I would consider dancing as a prime focus because I think how I can catch people eyes. It has always been through dancing. Now I am able to correlate with the ears, like how can I catch their eyes, how can I catch their ears, how can I catch their hearts. Dancing led to singing and led into what I am doing right now.
Kulture Vulturez: Do you feel like you were destined to perform and being in the spotlight, or was it something you had to grow in to?
Chantel Nicole: For me, I always felt like I was meant to do something with people. When I was younger, I actually wanted to be a politician. When I was younger, I wanted to be like Shirley Chisholm. I also wanted to astronaut. There was a lot of things [I wanted to be], maybe to try figure out how to make the world a better place.
When I started introducing creativity into my gift of public speaking and being a people person, I realized I could totally do this. I always been creative. I jokingly say that I made a wish on a wish bone after Thanksgiving, and I wished to be able to write, draw, and do things like that. I think I always had it in me. I think throughout the years I have been able to cultivate all the talents that I had. Now I can just harvest it and give you all what I have been making.
Kulture Vulturez: What do you love the most about performing?
Chantel Nicole: What I love the most about performing is interacting with people. I remember dancing, even though I could not see people with the lights, just to hear the applause afterwards. That may sound pretty selfish, but a lot of people say they do it because they want to make people feel good. Yeah, I do want to make people feel good, but I am a human being who also wants to feel good and there is nothing better than doing something that you love, even with all the hard work that goes into it.
Doing something that you love and then feeling really proud of that work, because you know that every single thing that you have done has culminated to this one moment. I definitely love performing. I love doing it because it makes me feel good. If it makes someone else feel good, then it is a win win situation.
Kulture Vulturez: Where did your love for K-Pop come from?
Chantel Nicole: I feel like every black kid who is a millennial grew up watching Dragon Ball Z at some point. That is how that happened. I got into anime when I was younger with all the action and fighting. I remembered there was this one anime that would come on late at night during Adult Swim on Cartoon Network. I heard a song, and I was like the melody is crazy on this. I YouTube [searched for the song], I found the chick [singing] was Korean. I was like, how is the Korean girl singing Japanese music, it did not click to me.
That is how that happened, through anime I got into K-Pop. I actually wanted to dance in the whole K-Pop sphere. I was only dancing I think up until I was either 16 or 17 [years old at the time]. I was only dancing and only had ideas of going to Julliard, because I saw Saved the Last Dance. I was like, ‘I’m going to be like the white girl from Saved the Last Dance.’ I got into K-Pop, I wanted to learn dances. I am going to figure out how to choreograph, because they come here looking for our stuff, so why not learn how to choreograph. At the time, I was still at the dance studio.
Eventually I had gotten injured, and things took a turn for a different creative route. I started songwriting, I figured out the songwriting process and the structure of K-Pop. It is very similar of how we use to write back in the 1990s, even way back to Motown [Records] days. The way we use to write and take time to really create a full song with a bridge, [K-Pop artists] are doing it now because they have writers that look like you and me. It all came out to be really natural after a while. Now, I am a just writing songs for myself, as well crafting demos that I can eventually shop out to.
Kulture Vulturez: Your latest single “Here I Am”, what inspired you to create that song?
Chantel Nicole: Coincidentally, I have founded a black woman, couple of years ago, who have written a couple of K-Pop songs for one of the biggest artists out in [South] Korea, called EXO. Again, she is black. I am like, wow, this sister is doing that. She wrote one of the biggest songs that sold a million copies. Out there in Korea, a million copies is a lot.
I am thinking she much be killing it. For years I have been following her career. She had a mentorship program and I instantly [told her], I wanted to do [the mentorship program] with you. She gave me an assignment to write a couple of songs. I wrote a guy group song, which I was like whatever. It came out of me like nothing. Then “Here I Am”, I heard the beat for it, and I thought this would be fun to write to.
“Here I Am” was initially a K-Pop demo. If you heard the demo, there were so many different voices I had to use. I had to use my lower register [voice] and my upper register [voice], because it was supposedly a girl group song. Eventually I had a friend from RCA tell me, why don’t I just keep this song. He was like, ‘it is good, I actually liked it more than the guy group song. I know you wrote that one pretty fast, but this one keep it. If she says she does not want to use it or you guys do not come to an agreement, then keep it.’
“Here I Am” was inspired by so many different things, Janet [Jackson], I’m Your Baby Tonight by Whitney Houston, and some K-Pop. The structure is K-Pop, so it does have a lot of switches and changes in the structure, but of course it is my voice. Just wanted to let people know that here I am, first of all. You are looking for something better, saying that music is not doing what it used to do for you, and I am trying to bring that to you, here I am. And, the obvious meaning, I am trying to save someone from a broken heart.
Kulture Vulturez: Can you breakdown your upcoming project CHROMA, and what to expect from it?
Chantel Nicole: CHROMA is essentially the purity or the intensity of color. With this project I am going with the whole RoyGBiv (RGB color scheme), red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. Kind of a rainbow thing. That is why there is only six songs on [the project], just to get the full scope of the rainbow. It is not tied to any LGBTQ things like that, but if people are into it because of that then cool.
It is just for the sake of having a solid plan. I was thinking I need to have several songs. Red is passion, so the first song is going to be really emotional talking about my whole year and a half gap of not writing music. The second song is “Here I Am”. It is orange, it is warm, it is fiery, and so on and so forth. I am really excited about it, because each song relates to a certain color, a certain feeling that you get when you see a certain color. I am really excited for it.
The next single I am working on is the green one, which is a little more earthy and a little more sensual. It is going to be more R&B and I am excited for that one. I do not like writing sensual songs, but this one is full of innuendos, so I am excited for it. I am trying to get it done by at least the Spring [of 2022], because I cannot wait another year to release a project. This will be my first project and I am super excited. I cannot wait for everyone to hear it, because it is going to be a lot of fun stuff on this one.
Kulture Vulturez: Outside of music, what are some of the other things you are involved in or have aspirations to do?
Chantel Nicole: Outside of music I also host a music podcast called CCTV, The Non Stop Pop Show. As with its title, we talk about global pop music. Whatever is popular we talk about it, and we do not just say the song is crap. My friend use to work for a record label and I use to do publishing and other things like that. So, we talk about the music, we talk about the instrumentation, we talk about the vocal delivery. It is interesting because we both have an administrative and performative perspectives, and we bring that together. We have been doing pretty well with that one.
I also host a live stream on Amazon Live. I was fortunate enough to stumble on to hosting. Back in the day I use to want to be a public speaker, the whole Shirley Chisolm thing, Channy Chisolm if you will. That became a thing for me. When I am not doing that, I am doing extra background work, because I use to do musical theater. That is what really got me into singing, musical theater. I do some musical theater, here and there.
When I try to earn some money, I do these activations, which is being a brand ambassador. I am on the streets handing out papers and samples, almost like if I was handing out mixtapes. It pays really well and that is what is funding this project. And I teach English. I never knew how much English I did not know, until I trained to teach it. I have a lot of different hats I have to put on, but I am always thankful that I have money to put back into this music.