Moore, Chante 1970(?)–
Chante Moore 1970(?)–
When singer Chante Moore released her first album, Precious, in 1992, it immediately hit the charts. Her follow-up albums, A Love Supreme (1994) and This Moment Is Mine (1999), have further established her reputation as a powerful singer and songwriter. Moore also gained fans when she performed on the soundtracks for the hit films Waiting to Exhale in 1995 and How Stella Got Her Groove Back in 1998. In 1995, Aldore D. Collier wrote in Ebony that “Chante Moore sensuously blends jazz, blues, and pop to woo and enrapture listeners with lush romantic ballads about ongoing, and in some cases, unrequited love. Her videos for hit songs such as ’It’s Alright’ and ’Love’s Taken Over’ are filled with passionate, dreamy images of sexy women professing undying and unyielding love.”
Moore’s third album,This Moment Is Mine, takes a slightly different approach. “The new record brought out a part of me that may have been missing from my first two albums,” she told David Nathan of Billboard. “It shows that I’m not just a jazzy R&B singer, but that there are different and diverse ways for me to be produced.” She also co-wrote 10 of the 12 songs on This Moment Is Mine. According to a reviewer for imusic.com, Moore “further hones the exceptional songwriting skills displayed on her first two albums, Precious and A Love Supreme. From the glistening first strains of ’If I Gave Love,’ straight through to the towering affirmative closing of the title cut, it’s evident This Moment Is Mine is the crown jewel of Chante Moore’s illustrious career thus far.”
Moore was born in San Francisco, California, the youngest daughter of Larry and Virginia Moore. Her father was a minister at the Church of God in Christ, and the family—which included an older brother, Kelvin, and an older sister, La Tendre—was deeply religious. The family was also musical: Moore’s father played the piano, and her brother played the drums. As a child, Moore performed in the church choir, and loved to sing along to her parents’ gospel records at home. “I sang all the time, all the time,” she told Collier of Ebony. “My family used to make me be quiet. They would say, ’Shut up, Chante. Don’t sing all the time.’ I didn’t care how I sounded. It was a release for me. I sang with all the gospel albums, primarily Andrae Crouch and Edwin Hawkins.”
When Moore was 12-years-old, the family moved to San Diego. Four years later, she was asked to play Dorothy in a production of the musical The Wiz, an
At a Glance…
Born in San Francisco, CA; daughter of Larry Moore, a minister, and Virginia Moore; children: Sophia Milan Hardison.
Career: Recorded the solo albums Precious, 1992, A Love Supreme, 1994, and This Moment Is Mine, 1999; contributed vocals to the film soundtracks for Waiting to Exhale, 1995 and How Stella Got Her Groove Back, 1998; acting roles in The Fan, 1996, and Shake, Rattle, and Roll: An American Love Story, 1999,
Awards: Voted “Best Female Vocalist” and “Most Promising Newcomer” by Blues & Soul magazine, 1993.
Addresses: Home —Los Angeles, CA.Office —Silas/MCARecords, 70 Universal City Plaza, 3rd Floor, Universal City, CA 91608.
adaptation of The Wizard of Oz. Despite the fact that she enjoyed singing, Moore had no idea that she had any musical talent at all until her performance in the show. “I think I sort of established some sort of measurement of my vocal ability. I didn’t know I could touch people vocally,” she told Collier of Ebony. “Some people said, ’You touched me and your voice is so beautiful, and I was crying at the end when you were singing.’ And I’m like, ’Get out of here!’”
Moore had participated in beauty pageants and also tried modeling—but she realized that, at 5’4’, she would have a limited future in that career. Flushed with success from her debut in The Wiz, she decided to pursue singing professionally. In San Diego, Moore performed in singing and dancing shows, while trying to meet people in the music industry. Her big break came in 1989, when singer El DeBarge saw her perform in the musical Heat Wave in Los Angeles. “It was a Motown production and some of their artists came by,” Moore told Collier of Ebony. “El came backstage to say hello to us, and he and I became friends.” DeBarge asked her to sing backup on the song “You Know What I Like,” for his upcoming album In the Storm. Through her friendship with DeBarge, Moore became friends with his manager, who eventually agreed to manage her as well. “And I didn’t even have my demo tape,” she told Ebony. “I had a manager before I had a deal.”
One month later, Moore landed a recording contract with MCA Records. Her debut album, Precious, featured seven songs that she had written. When it was released in 1992, it almost immediately went gold. Two songs from the album, “Love’s Taken Over” and “It’s Alright” became Top Five R&B hits. The first album was so successful that she was featured in a one-hour special, “Candlelight and You: Chante Moore Live” on the cable channel BET. Moore has been compared to vocalists such as Diana Ross, Roberta Flack, and Sade. According to B. Kimberly Taylor, writing in Contemporary Musicians, Moore “has seemingly incorporated elements of all three legendary singers: the dulcet tones of Ross, the thoughtful songwriting ability of Flack, and the smooth elegance of Sade.” However, Moore told Sharon Dukes of YSB magazine, “I don’t pattern myself after anyone in particular..l really sound like my mom!”
In 1993 Moore met Kadeem Hardison, a performer on the hit NBC sitcom “A Different World.” Later, she and Hardison were asked to co-present an award at the NAACP Image Awards. “We had to go backstage after the awards presentation and talk to the press,” Moore told Collier. “By the time we got to the press room, he grabbed my hand and he didn’t let it go the whole night.” Moore drew on her relationship with Hardison to write the songs for her next album,A Love Supreme, which was released in 1994. The album explores the theme of finding the right person, falling in love, and moving toward long-term commitment. Like Precious, A Love Supreme quickly went gold. The following year, Moore toured with legendary soul artist Barry White on his Icon World Tour.
Because of her background in gospel music, many people had expected Moore to pursue that genre first. However, she didn’t want to be pigeonholed as a gospel artist. “I would love to record a gospel album,” Moore told Ebony, “First I wanted to establish myself…. People think, ’Okay, you’ve got that talent. Don’t let the devil use you, honey. Let the Lord use you.’ But I do. In every interview I talk about the Lord.”
Moore waited several years before releasing her third album,This Moment Is Mine —a risky move in the ever-changing music industry. “Mindful that people’s musical tastes change…she [Moore] was a bit nervous, but very hopeful that fans would continue to embrace her after a layoff of several years,” Collier wrote in Ebony in 1999. “And they have. Hers is one of the fastest-climbing albums on the charts.” In an interview with David Nathan of Billboard, Moore explained her reason for delaying the release of This Moment Is Mine, “I wanted to wait for the right producers, and although it has been arduous, I’m glad I waited. As much as I’ve been gone, people have been welcoming me back with open arms, letting me know they’ve been waiting for this record.”
For Moore, the lyrics in This Moment Is Mine reflect “personal experiences and those of people close to me,” she told Billboard. “In between recording songs for the album, I’ve been transitioning from being a girl to being a mother.” The album is dedicated to Moore’s mother, Virginia, who died in 1995. Moore co-wrote 10 of the 12 songs on the album, including the hit single “Chante’s Got a Man.” The idea for the song, she related in Ebony, came from a conversation she had with producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis while working on the album in Minneapolis. “Jimmy and Terry tease me a lot because I write a lot of happy songs and I’m always smiling. They were like, ’Come on, we need to write a sad song.’ When they teased me, I said, ’Don’t get mad at me because I got a man at home.’ Jimmy was like, ’That’s it! That’s the name of the song.’ That’s how it came about.” In fact, the song “Chante’s Got a Man,” which is about successful relationships between African American men and women, has inspired people to approach her on the street. “Most guys will come up to me and say, ’Thank you. We appreciate that a woman is not down on us. We appreciate you saying good things about us,’” Moore told Collier, “Women come up and they’re like: ’So, how do I get a man?’ or ’What do you think I should do?’ It’s funny. I just say, ’Well, love yourself. Be who you are.’”
In addition to her singing career, Moore has had a few small acting roles. She appeared in the film The Fan in 1996 and in a TV mini-series Shake, Rattle, and Roll: An American Love Story in 1999. While she would be interested in pursuing acting more seriously if the right role came along, Moore stated in Ebony that music will always be her top priority.
Moore credits her relationship with God for her success. “The Lord brought me to this,” she told Ebony. “When people tell me, ’There’s something special about you, I tell them it’s the Lord, because I couldn’t do this without him. He’s [the one] who has blessed me.”
Contemporary Musicians, Gale Research, 1998.
Billboard, August 14, 1999; May 1, 1999.
Ebony, May 1995, Sept. 1999.
YSB, April 1995.
Additional information for this profile was obtained from http://imusic.com.
Singer El DeBarge Provided Her Break
Groomed for High Profile Career
Pop balladeer Chante Moore enjoyed a resoundingly positive response to her 1991 debut album, Precious, and she continued to explore romantic musical terrain with equal success in her second release, A Love Supreme. While Precious presented her mellow pop style with jazz underpinnings, 1995’s A Love Supreme instead highlighted her earnestness and playful personality and allowed Moore to grow comfortably into her early success. She cowrote 14 of the songs on her second album and branched out as coproducer as well. Moore fuses soulful ballads with rhythm and blues, pop, and jazz. YSB magazine’s Sharon Dukes wrote, “Only in her twenties, Moore is a talent whose blend of jazz and R&B continues to surprise and capture listeners from all generations. Listen to the music… smooth lyrics that swirl and soothe, over sensual notes, but with a strong message.”
Moore’s first album was so successful that she was featured in a one-hour BET special, Candlelight and You: Chante Moore Live. She has been compared to Roberta Flack, Sade, and Diana Ross and has seemingly incorporated elements of all three legendary singers: the dulcet tones of Ross, the thoughtful songwriting ability of Flack, and the smooth elegance of Sade. Moore told Dukes, “You can’t grow up in America and not have influences from all the greats. I don’t pattern myself after anyone in particular… I really sound like my mom!”
The youngest of three children, Moore was born to a Church of God in Christ minister and his wife in San Francisco, California. The family moved to San Diego when Moore was twelve. She was raised in a musical atmosphere: her father played the piano and her brother played the drums, and she sang in a church choir throughout her childhood. Although she never performed a public solo because she was too shy, she used to sing at home all the time. She told Ebony magazine’s Aldore Collier, “My family used to make me be quiet. They would say, ‘Shut Up, Chante. Don’t sing all the time.’… I sang with all the gospel albums, primarily Andrae Crouch and Edwin Hawkins.” Moore’s other early influences were Tremaine Hawkins and The Imperials. Her father loved jazz music and played it often at home.
At the age of 16, Moore was asked to play Dorothy in a musical production of The Whiz. She told Collier, “That was the first time I ever sang anywhere publicly. This lady from the church asked me to be Dorothy because I was so young … she wanted me to sing and that didn’t make sense. But I learned… I didn’t know I could touch people vocally. A little bug was put in my head.” After her experience in The Whiz, Moore decided to pursue
For the Record…
Born Chante Moore c. 1970 in San Francisco, CA; the youngest of three children; father was a Church of God in Christ minister; moved to San Diego at the age of 12; children: one daughter.
Played Dorothy in a musical production of The Whiz at the age of 16; released debut album Precious for Silas/MCA Records, 1991; released A Love Supreme, 1995.
Awards: Voted “Best Female Vocalist” and “Most Promising Newcomer,” Precious named the year’s best album by Britain’s Blues & Soul magazine, 1993.
Addresess: Silas/MCA Records, 70 Universal City Plaza, 3rd floor, Universal City, CA 91608 (818) 777-4000.
music professionally. She participated in local musicals in San Diego, and occasionally had the opportunity to meet people in the music industry.
Singer El DeBarge Provided Her Break
In 1989 Moore met singer El DeBarge while performing in the Motown musical Heat Wave in Los Angeles. DeBarge went to see the play one evening and met Moore backstage; the two struck up an enduring friendship. She eventually met his manager, Fred Moultrie, who offered to represent Moore as well. At the time, she didn’t have a demo tape—so she landed a manager before she had a record deal. A month after retaining Moultrie, he convinced her to sign a contract with MCA Records.
People familiar with Moore’s background and musical ability expected her to record gospel music on her debut album, but she explained to Collier, “First I wanted to establish myself … to do everything else I wanted to do…. The Lord brought me to this. When people tell me, There’s something special about you.’ I tell them it’s the Lord because I couldn’t do this without him. He’s the one who has blessed me.”
Moore’s debut album for MCA, Precious, quickly went gold, as did her second album, A Love Supreme, which details the experience of finding the right person, discovering the joys of love, and moving toward a commitment. The album includes Lionel Ritchie’s “Sail On,” Deniece Williams’ “Free,” and Alicia Myers’ “I Want To Thank You.” Moore’s inspiration for the romantic release was real life: she met and fell in love with actor Kadeem Hardison at a 1995 NAACP event, and by 1997 the two had decided to marry.
Groomed for High Profile Career
Louil Silas Jr. launched a joint venture with MCA Records in September of 1992 to create Silas Records, and Moore was the label’s first artist. Silas told Billboard’s David Nathan, “Chante had everything: the musical talent, the personality, charisma, and beauty. I knew right away that she was a long-term career artist. I studied what (Berry Gordy, Jr.) did with Motown, the whole grooming process that helped create real entertainers.” When MCA chairman Al Teller told Silas that he could oversee his own label, Silas told Nathan he knew he wanted Moore to be his first artist.
Moore was placed with three different veteran producers, and Bassel Benford and BeBe Winans were each called in to collaborate on one song. Visibility was created for Moore by placing her on the soundtrack for the movie House Party 2 : she and Keith Washington recorded the duet “Candlelight and You” for the album. A special wardrobe clause was created in Moore’s contract for her public appearances, key professional photographers and stylists were utilized, and her video for “Love’s Taken Over” was shot in Paris.
BET also played a significant role in Moore’s development and visibility. The station covered her video shoots, appearances at parties and record launchings for other artists. In addition, she appeared on Video Soul, Video LP, Screen Scene, and Teen Summit. Her concert special was aired twice on the station, and her visibility overseas in Canada, France, and England was heightened through concert appearances and tours.
Moore’s Precious debut held its ground after nine months on the Top R&B Albums chart and close to six months on the Billboard 200. Readers of Britain’s Blues & Soul magazine voted Moore “BestFemale Vocalist” and “Most Promising Newcomer” in 1993. The readers also named Precious the year’s best album. Precious delivered two Top 5 R&B hits: “Love’s Taken Over,” and “It’s Alright.” Moore also toured with legendary soul artist Barry White on his summer Icon World Tour in 1995. She was asked to contribute to the song “Freedom” for the Panther film soundtrack, but she felt the lyrics were too harsh for her to make a genuine contribution. Moore told Jeff Hall of the Camden Courier-Post, “I make sure I can send (the album) home to church and not be embarrassed.”
(Contributor) House Party 2: The Pajama Jam (soundtrack), 1994.
Precious, Silas/MCA Records, 1991.
(Contributor) Beverly Hills Cop III (soundtrack), 1994.
A Love Supreme, Silas/MCA Records, 1995.
(Contributor) New York Undercover (soundtrack), UNI/MCA, 1995.
(Contributor) Waiting to Exhale (soundtrack), BMG/Arista, 1995.
Akron Beacon Journal, June 1, 1995.
Billboard, July 10, 1993.
BRE, May 2, 1997; July 9, 1993.
Camden Courier-Post, June 16, 1995.
Cleveland Plain Dealer, June 10, 1995.
Durham Herald-Sun, June 16, 1995.
Ebony, May 1995.
Jet, July 22, 1996.
Music Connection, March 15-March 28, 1993.
New Orleans Data News Weekly, December 23, 1995.
Now Magazine, August 1995.
Times-Picayune, December 22, 1995.
Tri-Valley Herald, November 21, 1995.
West County Times, November 24, 1995.
YSB, April 1995.
—B. Kimberly Taylor