Sultry R&B/soul/jazz singer Chante Moore brings a wealth of sexiness and seduction to the forefront of her latest album “Exposed” [MCA Records]. With her to-die-for looks and knockout frame, Moore’s voice has been a consistent element of R&B radio for sometime now, thanks to a handful of hits aimed at lovers of romance and poetic rhapsody. Her songs have embraced listeners and opened heartfelt insights on love.
“My love for music makes all the difference in sound. I like putting emotions in my songs so that people can understand and relate to the topics. Most of my influences come from gospel,” Miss Moore said in an interview recently. Her father was a gospel musician and her mother was a gospel singer. As she pointed out, her family was always involved in music, “My mother is my biggest influence as far as a person is concerned. She always motivated me to do what I have always dreamt about doing and to be strong.”
The singer, who was once married to actor Kadeem Hardison (best known for his role as Dwayne Wayne on the hit television sitcom “A Different World”), has been doing the rounds promoting her latest album. The album, which is being distributed locally through Tuff Gong International, debuted in the Top 60 on the Billboard 200-album chart and is fast approaching gold status.
Prior to embarking on a career in music, the 5 foot 4 inch tall beauty did a brief stint as a model. “I did some modeling while I was still a teenager. I entered 10 beauty pageants. I really enjoy competitions; the mentality you had to have to be standing beside someone who was much better looking than you and who wanted to be the winner was just motivating for me,” she explained.
Moore jump-started her singing career back in the early 1990s after a demo tape of her songs was sent to various record labels in the U.S. “My manager sent the demo to the record companies, and MCA, which I am signed to, was one that responded positively. The rest as they say, is history,” she explained. Her first ambitious music project was guest appearing on El DeBarge’s “In the Storm” album. She was featured on the chorus of the track “You Know What I Like.” “My manager at the time was also managing El DeBarge, so that’s how the collaboration came about. The song did pretty well in the urban market. As a consequence it helped me to get my own record deal,” said Moore.
To date, Chante has released 4 albums: “Precious” (released in 1992, which saw her teaming with George Duke, whom she said taught her a lot), “Love Supreme” (1994), “This Moment Is Mine” (1999), and her latest, “Exposed.” “Old School Lovin,” “It’s Alright,” “This Time,” “Love’s Taken Over,” “I See You in a Different Light,” the smash gold single “Chante’s Got a Man,” and her up-tempo dance number “Straight Up” are among her hit singles.
Teena Marie and Prince are listed among her favourite performers and recording artistes. As far as current trends in music, she was quick to point out that Toni Braxton, Jay-Z, R. Kelly and Lauryn Hill were tops on her list.
“Exposed,” which got rave reviews from the North American press shortly after its release, features the production talents of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (who worked on her “Chante’s Got a Man” smash), Jermaine Dupri, Tim and Bob for Funktowns Productions, Katrina Willis and Laney Stewart, among others. “I had so much fun making this entire record. Jimmy Jam and Terry have a commitment to me as an artiste. I had a great time working with them. Jermaine (Dupri) has also been committed to me. He keeps me in tune to new and developing trends,” said Moore.
Asked how she came up with the title of the album, Moore said, “I kept saying Raw.’ I was trying to feel the mood of the record and it was more stripped down and exposed, as far as being artistic. The word exposed’ just kept cropping up. I had to figure out how best I wanted the record to be represented. It expresses a deeper part of who I am. I wouldn’t say my album is a new direction for me, it just reflects my growth. I wanted to have fun doing what I am doing-relaxing and making the music come out. It’s not a matter of targeting any new audience. I just want to be honest with my audience and myself.”
“Exposed” contains some excellent cuts. The first track, “Straight Up,” sprinted its way up the charts recently. “Bitter,” the new single, is another winner. So too are “Take Care of Me,” “When It Comes To Me,” and “Better Than Making Love.”
Moore has visited Jamaica on three occasions. She is bowled over by the beauty of the island and the people. “Jamaica is so beautiful. I love it. I like Paris for the fashion, but I love Jamaica for its beauty.” Asked if she would ever do a reggae song, she said, “Yes, I would love to. I would really like to do that. It’s just that I can’t think of anyone who I would do something with right now. I love reggae. It’s beautiful music and I love making beautiful music which moves me on the inside.”
The singer is mother to 4-year-old Sophia. She tries to juggle the joys of motherhood while nurturing a growing music career. “When I am home and working, [Sofia] says to me, I don’t wanna share you with nobody when you come home, mommy.’ She knows that all I am doing is working. She understands that her mommy has to work and I have to go away a lot. She understands. Kadeem and I share the responsibilities. She needs both of us while she is growing up,” Moore said.
Outside of the music business, Moore says she would like to embark on other projects. She has written a script for a play, which she wants to make a reality in the near future and she would like to write a book. As far as her daughter’s career plans are concerned, she said if her daughter decided not to go into the music business when she is older, she would not encourage her, “I would not encourage her, but I would support her on her choice. The music business is something you would have to have a lot of stamina for. You have to have the desire from your heart.” She added, “I grew up in the church. It’s more about spiritual than gospel music. What is most important is where you go after you die. I have a soul that I have to be accountable for.”