No one can 'Love You Like' Che'Nelle Image

by Biko Kennedy

Born in Malaysia, raised in Australia, and living in Los Angeles, Che'Nelle embodies the essence of truly marrying cultures while being uniquely her. With a vocal range reminiscent of a young Whitney Houston and the creative delivery of Mariah Carey, Che'Nelle has a musical charm that you simply can't resist. We caught up with the beautiful chanteuse to find out more about her musical journey and her latest single Love You Like Me.

JAMusic: Some of the most genius artistes have thrived when taking chances and innovating. How important/present is that on the soundscape today; from what you've seen and that might have help in composing your singles?
C: I think it's only as important as it is to the individual artist. I think there's always a presence of innovation in the soundscape today. It's almost an inevitable thing though, that certain artists are going to experience and urge to want to break out of comfortability or being too under control by either the industry or whatever it is that has held them back. I haven't seen a lot in terms of what 'really' happens with other artists but I know for me allowing myself to take risks and creating a whole year’s work of music that I had no idea if it would go anywhere or do anything was more fulfilling than almost all the years of creating songs because it was coming from an open, authentic, fun, spiritual, free space. I think that naturally helped me compose Love You Like Me. 

JAMusic: What elements do you hold that’ll define you as an entertainer as oppose to just another artiste?
C: Mmmmmm… I think my voice, my own individual style that I bring forth through my songs/music. All I know is I'm not here just because I think it's a good idea, or I'm interested in being an artist. If I quit tomorrow I believe someway somehow the universe will push me back into what I value most which is music. My talent or my gift is kinda beyond me I think sometimes. All I know is that I'm meant to sing, song write and perform and hopefully inspire if not everyone in the world at least somebody hahaha… 

JAMusic:  What's the biggest risk you've taken artistically; one that went over surprisingly well and one that might've gone over people's heads?
C: Biggest risk I've taken that went surprisingly well was turning down an offer given to me by the label. I had an urge to start fresh and not continue with a style I was no longer feeling. It was scary and I wasn't completely sure if I was making the right choice but the desire was so strong that I decided to say no and went back to LA for two years. Surprisingly the label hit me asking me if i have new music, and when I sent it I was again surprised at how they felt it was something they wanted to support and put out. The risk I took that went over people's head I think was when I released Strut. I was trying to transition into my new sound by taking my song Fierce and re-making it into more of a funk pop version. It didn't hurt necessarily but it still was risky because it was my first song out as an indie artist and I didn't get the feedback and reaction I was anticipating. 

JAMusic: What do you consider to be the greatest obstacle that you had overcome in achieving your current status?
C: I know this may sound cliche, but I think "I" was the biggest obstacle. I allowed my fear to be in the way, my confusion, my laziness and procrastination to get in the way of what I truly wanted to do. 

JAMusic: Let’s talk a bit about your latest single Love You Like Me. What’s the story behind the song and what’s the message you’re trying to portray?
C: Ok lets just keep it simple. I'm sure there are people out there who feel and think that no one could love their person the way they do. it's a pride and confidence thing, just narcissistic (laughs) but hey sometimes I feel we may think this way even if we may not say it out loud to our partners. Its also a message of support I think… "I know you going through some things but i'll be here for you no matter what cos no one can love you like me". It started out as something fun to sing about but it turned out a lot more relatable then I thought (laughs).

JAMusic: How did the collaboration came about Konshens? Was he always an artiste you wanted to work with?
C: I heard about him and have danced to his song at carnival and stuff (laughs hysterically). I met him at an empire party where Ghazi the head of empire introduced me to him. I asked if he was down to feature on my song and surprisingly he said he's down (laughs) I was like yay! I felt he was gonna be able to bring a different flavor to the song, which he clearly did, thanks Konshens!! (laughs)


JAMusic: With the single now in rotation on local and international radio stations what insight can you give on the power of music and its ability to communicate certain messages verbally and non-verbally? And what do you think your music represent?
C: Oh wow I could be here all day answering that question (laughs) the power of music is relentless. It heals, it inspires, it causes you to feel so many different emotions, it helps a person shift... I often think melody alone can do all that hence why I believe I was able to sing in Japanese all these years and not understand everything I'm singing but I felt the song and melody and music and that somehow flowed through people and people have been touched.. it's amazing. I think my music represents culture… authenticity and connection.

JAMusic: Are there any other Jamaican acts you’re looking at that you’d like to work with? 
C: Its funny because I listen to a lot of Dancehall and Reggae growing up haha.. Mavado, Sizzla, Vybz Kartel… I would love to work with Mavado, I met him one time when I was out there.. sweet guy.

JAMusic: What would you consider to be the greatest contributor to your musical diversity and versatility?
C: Probably living in different countries and being exposed to all kinds of music, culture, and people.

JAMusic: How does your musical influences compound when you are sitting to write a song and record it? / Apart from them being timeless, what drew you to all the artistes that influence your sound?
C: I guess it's different every time and it depends on the producer I work with too. My musical influence throughout the years sometimes is a subconscious one and sometimes I'm aware and purposefully wanting to compose a song with particular sounds, phrases, melody etc. what their connection to the song, their soul in it. One thing I loved about Whitney Houston was not just the fact she hit notes so on pitch, but she hit people in the gut and in the heart with her voice and not all artists make me feel that - she was a natural...

JAMusic:  We live in an era where the average person's attention span is limited to what they want to see or hear. What are you doing differently that will hold their attention?
C: I think staying consistent with posting, exposing and advertising my music and personality on outlets like Instagram or Facebook helps… not sure it's different (laughs). I do #MelodyMondays for eg. where I sing a cover most times and originals sometimes to keep people coming back. 

JAMusic: When you look to the future, what are some of the areas you’d like to change professionally and personally?
C: Professionally I would like to maybe also get into acting though I will always wanna sing and perform ... and personally…(laughs) I dunno I see babies haha… 

JAMusic: What's the purpose on your musical journey? What's the message you're trying to give?
C: The purpose on my musical journey is to promote authenticity, help and inspire individuals to see and believe they can do what they love to do and succeed.. I create songs, perform them and encourage individuals with my different perspectives of life and relationship through song.. I believe all artists in the world do it to express, release and inspire… but all of us touch listeners differently.. and all I can hope for is that I do the same…

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