When I answered the phone, I was greeted with the sweetest voice and personality coming from the other end. That voice belongs to none other than Keshia Chant», a rising young talent who has already earned a name for herself in her native Canada, and is beginning to make waves across the border, all at the ripe age of 18.
Although young in age, Keshia has a very dedicated maturity when it comes to work ethic, one which she has been sticking to since she first broke waves in the music industry. Her self-titled album debuted in June 2004, with such hits as "Unpredictable" and "Does He Love Me". Only 16 years old at the time, Keshia's powerful voice was unmistakable and age defying. Although signed by SonyBMG Canada, Keshia gained credibility from the U.S. music industry almost from the start, gaining attention from another single entitled "Bad Boy". The song sparked the interest of Stephen Hill from BET, and the video was soon added into rotation on the BET network. After the release of this video, Keshia was picked up by Sony Urban/Epic in New York, and now both labels have joined together to release her upcoming album.
Her upcoming album, Kiss, has a tentative release date at this moment, but that hasn't stopped Keshia from working hard to promote the album. "I've been on the Teen People Rock n' Shop Tour for the last couple of weeks, and it's been so much fun," exclaims Keshia. The album's first single "Been Gone", has just been added by radio stations across the city and is already gaining a significant amount of support, and for this Keshia couldn't be more thankful. "I love Canada, and I really feel like my roots are here," explains Keshia. Although she was born in Ottawa and travels back and forth to New York City, Keshia calls Toronto her home and resides here whenever she gets the chance.
Keshia has used the past two years since her last album to do a lot of growing and transitioning. "I feel like I've done so much at such a young age," Keshia states. "I mean, I've had so much to learn in this industry, but all along I knew I had a vision of what type of artist I wanted to be and what type of career I want for myself." Even though Keshia feels she has grown up a lot both mentally and vocally, she still believes she can be a positive role model for young girls. "The idea of a role model sounds a little bit scary to me because it sounds like someone who has to be perfect, but I feel like there aren't many other artists out there for young girls. I feel like I'm very honest and real, and I have good priorities, and that's the best type of role model you can be," Keshia explains to me.
Regarding the new album, Keshia has been very hands on and involved with the project. "I think the album is perfect," boasts Keshia, "but that's probably because I am such a perfectionist." "I'm a very tough critic and I'm always hard on myself," says Keshia, and it shows. Keshia executive produced this album herself, and recorded it in New York, L.A. and Miami, not bad for a girl who hasn't even completed high school yet.
But being in the spotlight is something Keshia always dreamed about doing, back to when she was six years old and performed a song for her mother for Black History Month. The song was "Dear Mama", by the late Tupac Shakur, one of Keshia's biggest idols. "I love Tupac!" cries Keshia, in a cute, adolescent manner. "I've always had lots of posters of him on my wall and we even have the same birthday." However, her music adoration doesn't end there. "I also admire artists such as Christina Aguilera and Beyonce, those girls have such talent," she declares.
When asked what she hopes for her own future in music, it's no surprise that Keshia admires two of music's most prominent female singers, for her goals are as big as theirs. "I want to do a world tour," she admits, "I could also see myself getting into some modeling and acting as well. Right now I'm signed with Ford Models, and even though I might be the shortest model they've ever signed, I still believe I have a future in it," she laughs. If her drive and ambition are any indication of her future success in the business, this young talent has a lot to look forward to. "I just get so excited about this business, about every aspect. That's why I called you and not my manager, I was like, give me the number, I want to talk to this girl." And talk we did. Keshia's kind sincerity and never-ending politeness was reverberated throughout the interview, with every "yes mam," and "Miss. Angelica" she uttered. This young lady's positive outlook on life and confident attitude blew me away, and it will only take a small matter of time before the rest of the world follows in my footsteps.
For more information about Keshia's upcoming album and her tour schedule, log onto Keshia's official website at: http://keshiachante.com/ or check out her myspace at http://www.myspace.com/keshiachante.
Writer: Angelica Blenich