There’s a new diva in town. Chrisette Michele is making her first appearance on R&B Divas: L.A. Wednesday night. If you’re surprised that she’s join the cast of divas best known for their 90’s heyday, well, we are, too.
“Have I lost my mind?” she said to the Tom Joyner Morning Show. “I almost, did, but I didn’t. I wanted you guys to get to know me. Y’all going to get to know the crazy, flower crown-wearing, mountain-climbing, Girl Scout cookie eating Chrisette Michele,” she says.
“I like the Trefoil ones. I’ve been a Girl Scout since I was eight years old. I’ve only been seen through lyrics and a tour bus. I’ve never had to had interpersonal relationship. This industry’s been really nice to me. This is the first time you’ll see me talking to people outside of the music.”
Michele, a Long Island, New York native now on her fourth studio album, is known for her power ballads like “If I Have My Way” and her recent hit, “A Couple of Forevers.” A Grammy winner for “Be OK” in 2009, her jazz-influenced style has won her a lot of fans and put her in a unique place among current R&B singers.
Though Michele has done hip-hop (most notably on Aston Martin music with Rick Ross) she’s one of few current singers who doesn’t have to rely on hip-hop for commercial success. Michele says her most difficult adjustment to reality TV was her new travel schedule or lack thereof.
“I hadn’t had to sleep in the same bed for eight years. It was a challenge for me. I hadn’t had to do that in eight years. I really mean it. Being still was a challenge for me and then being still with six people was a challenge for me but it was a lot of fun.”
This season the divas, including Li’l Mo, Claudette Ortiz, Chante Moore, Michel’le and another new addition in soul singer Leela James, will head to Puerto Rico, among other places. Michele says that for her, being on the show became a way to set an example for the kind of bonds women experience everywhere whether at work, school or in a church community.
“There are women around the country that have to deal with each other in all of those places. It was a challenge getting into a Black woman’s mind in a matter of six weeks. It was almost like being on a game show.”
Michele says that the person that you generally end up in conflict with is the person most like you. Putting a positive spin on it, Michele says that she and Moore had the most in common.
“You’re going to see she and I trying to figure out how to love each other,” Michele says. A newbie to reality TV, Michele says she dropped her preconceived notions about it at the door and tried to have an unbiased experience.
“I had to get my mind right. I’m a sister,” she says. “I know how to read. I know how to get loud, but I tried to follow my heart and keep that first.”
With that attitude, Michele will obviously bring a draft of fresh air to the show. But if she could use that draft to blow someone off the island who would it be?
“You’ll have to see if we even make it to the island,” she laughs.
R&B Divas: LA airs on TV One Wednesdays at 10 p.m.
Click to hear the entire interview above!