Chrisette Michele has quietly built herself a respectable body of work over the years. She’s lent her soothing vocals to songs featuring The Game and Jay-Z. She’s the recipient of a Grammy Award for Best Urban/Alternative Performance in 2009 for her song “Be OK.” And her collection of albums/mixtapes offers R&B listeners a unique set of songs that set the mood right.
As its name suggests, Chrisette Michele’s newly released mixtape Audrey Hepburn: An Audiovisual Presentation takes inspiration from one of Hollywood’s leading ladies. This underrated songstress has crafted an audio project that showcases her top talents as a singer/songwriter. It’s safe to say that Michele’s inspiration paid off.
“Pray Me Well” starts the mixtape off with Michele detailing her search for love and hoping that a single prayer will lead her to the right one. It’s a unique concept backed by production that evokes a classy, late night lounge-y mood. In “Charades”, Michele maintains her defensive stance when she encounters the type of guy she is most attracted to, her lyrics painting the perfect picture of a woman who’s been hurt one too many times before. 2 Chainz’s verse is a welcome addition to the song as he plays the part of Michelle’s love interest perfectly.
The tempo of this mixtape speeds up a bit once tracks like “Love in the Afternoon” enter the fold. This lovely lady makes the point that she’s not afraid of some TLC when the sun is still out. This lively song combines Michele’s sweet voice with an up tempo beat that makes great use of marching band percussion. When she joins Wale on “Rich Hipster,” we’re treated to the life of wealthy fashionista who’s up on the hippest and hottest brands. These songs reflect the strong concepts and ideas from which Michele is capable of crafting wonderful songs.
The producers who lent their talents to this mixtape (J Rob, Phatboiz, Shamtrax, Wizzy Wow) created a soundscape that fits this songstress like a glove. Chrisette Michele shines the most on mellow serenades and livelier beats that are neither too slow/fast. She even sounds comfortable over songs that feature live instrumentation, such as the rock star-esque “Your Fair Lady.” Even when Michele enters the arena of world music, she manages to shine over the song “Kudurista.”
The only track that isn’t quite as strong as the others has to be “My Heart.” The vocalized special effects used by Michele and guest artist Lem Payne hurt the song more than they help. A lackluster rap later on in the track doesn’t help things much, either.
Even so, Audrey Hepburn: An Audiovisual Presentation stands as one of the finest R&B mixtapes to come out this year. It features relaxing vocals, high class production, and solid features that make this project shine.
This mixtape proves one thing: more people need to pay attention to Chrisette Michele.