Newly Brooklyn-based R&B chanteuse Chrisette Michele released her fourth studio album last week. Titled Better, the project is headed up by the sultry slow-jam single “A Couple Of Forevers.” As she gears up to smile for the cameras for the album’s promotional push, we asked Michele about some of her timeline highlights–her love of Chili’s sweetcorn, the punishing Album Release Jitters Workout, and fans who keep proposing to her on Twitter.
Opening for Mary J Blige was an honor and a blessing.Thank you… Better… the album… 4 more days
— chrisette michele (@ChrisetteM) June 8, 2013
How was opening for Mary J. Blige?
Fun! I kept joking on stage that I had brought on my best pair of leather pants just to make sure that I was dressed correctly for Mary.
When did you first get into Mary J. Blige’s music?
I was with my cousin who happens to be named Chrisette Michele too and it was years ago and she was playing her first album. I must have been like nine-years-old. I remember her voice just had that passion and honesty in it. I was attracted to the truth that you can feel in her voice and her songs.
Which of her songs would you most likely perform at karaoke?
Probably “Not Gon’ Cry,” just so I can be a drama queen and overdo it.
Do you have any drama queen tendencies yourself?
Yeah, on my last album cover I definitely had on like two inches long eye-lashes. That was pretty dramatic.
Sooooo yummaaaayyy!!! vine.co/v/bLAxOUxHvZH
— chrisette michele (@ChrisetteM) June 6, 2013
Where did the Vine video with the sweetcorn take place?
We were at Chili’s! It was me and my band. I love their corn! All their sides are delicious.
Do they do anything special to the corn?
You know, they put, I guess salt, and pepper on it. I don’t know why it’s so good! It’s always sweet, so maybe it’s really sweet corn kernels that are sweeter than normal. Or maybe they poison it with some addictive chemical.
If you endorsed Chili’s, what would you say?
Man, I can’t say anything about baby-back ribs, can I? I’d go with something like, “I want my freakin’ sweetcorn!”
What’s the tahini date dressing recipe?
Oh, it’s so good. A lot of time I watch YouTube videos and feel like coming up with different ideas and tahini was one of them, so I mixed tahini with dates and lemon and vinegar. It sounds gross when you hear it, but it’s so good and I pour it over swiss chard and a whole other bunch of veggies and I just go ham.
Are you a big cook?
I am, it’s one of my favorite things to do.
What’s your signature dish?
Truthfully, every Thanksgiving I always end up making the mac and cheese. I use ricotta, I used extra-sharp and I use mild cheddar cheese, and then of course all the other stuff that goes into it.
How was the official Album Release Jitters Workout?
First I woke up in the morning, I went to the steam room, then I went right downstairs and did SoulCycle, then I went back to the steam room, and then I went to the weight room and lifted weights for an hour. Then I went back to the steam room and then did yoga, which was an hour-and-a-half class. Then I came upstairs and made my tahini dressing, poured it on some swiss chard and went to bed and woke up the next morning without the jitters, but with the most intense soreness I’ve ever experienced. I couldn’t walk for like two days! It did get rid of the jitters though, and they’re a very bad feeling. I hate them.
Are you nervous about how the new album will be received?
Actually, I’m not nervous at al,l but I am getting ready to have to smile a lot more than usual. That makes me nervous. I probably laugh more than I smile, but posing for cameras is something I’m not very good at.
What’s the strangest piece of feedback you’ve ever been given about one of your songs?
Ah, man, I know a lot of children have been conceived to my songs. It’s definitely very strange when someone tells you that to your face.
How do you normally react?
Smile! It’s amazing, I don’t know what I should say–thank you or congratulations? And on Twitter, I get some strange comments but the one that always catches me off-guard is, “Will you marry me?” Because, you know, marriage is a very civic institution!
Do you have any tips on how people can successfully propose to you?
Yeah, I would love to be proposed to in a really nice dark restaurant and then, when I say yes, I need for all of my family and friends to pop out of the background as a surprise. You know, somebody might need to know that. But not on Twitter–Vine would be the greatest place to publish it!