Since arriving on the R&B music scene over 15 years ago via her sensual debut single "Love's Taken Over," Chante Moore has flourished into an accomplished female favorite. Billboard singles like "It's Alright," "This Time" and the top two smash "Chante's Got a Man" helped put her name on a short list of artists known for consistency. After recording two duet projects with fellow R&B vocalist Kenny Lattimore (also her husband of six years) and achieving regard in the gospel world, the Grammy-nominated vocalist returns to the solo spotlight with her new CD, Love the Woman, due June 17th on Peak Records.
Arriving nearly a decade after her last solo effort, 2000's Exposed, Love the Woman offers fans a new twist on classic Chante via contributions from a host of hit-making producers, her longtime musical mentor George Duke among them. Reuniting with Duke was not only a personal joy but a professional triumph for Chante, who vocally, has grown leaps and bounds since their first studio sessions together back in the early 1990s. She confesses, "He was pretty floored actually. He made me feel really good. It was really exciting for me to hear that; He's George Duke for heaven's sake!" The pair's comfort level transforms into the chemistry that helps create the magic. "George was the first producer that I worked with [on the new disc] because I know that he understands me," she explains. "I knew he would let me have some trial and error in there. He would say, ‘Okay, let's try it this way.' I knew he would get what's in me, out of me."
Chante teamed with Grammy-winning producer Raphael Saadiq on the acoustic-flavored "Special," on which she sings about the importance of a woman's self-worth. "It has a great message," says the mother of two. "Every friend I have that's heard it thought it was for them. Most of the people who follow my music, they know that I like empowering women and I like being able to say something that's gonna make you feel better about you. Usually we get stuck in trying to be sexy and not in really valuing who we are as women. That's what I'm about, is making sure that you know who you are." Of working with Saadiq she says, "I like how diverse he is with the way he attacks music. He always seems to have something a little different than what he had before but still has his flavor on it."
Reading emotions is the subject of the "My Eyes," a piano-driven melody produced by Warryn Campbell. The songstress admits hiding emotions has never been her strong suit. "My mother used to say that I'm the world's worst pretender. I like being authentic. I like being true to who I am because if I'm faking it's really not gonna be good anyway. I'm a very emotional person so that song is kind of like me."
Chante also offers a moving, Duke-produced rendition of Minnie Ripperton's "Give Me Time," the song to which she walked down the aisle and into Kenny's arms during their wedding. Recording the track brought up all the emotions she's experienced over the course of their union. "The more I'm in this marriage I realize that there's even more to love than I thought. There's more work involved, there's more emotion that has to be tapped into. It's more than what I thought it was. It takes time to really show somebody what they really mean to you - time and incidents and downfalls and hurt and pain and joy and no money and a lot of money. All those things show you who you really are. I'm learning over and over in different ways what love is about."
Chante revisits her sensual side on the seductive title track, which she co-wrote with producer Jamey Jaz, best known for his work with Rahsaan Patterson. "I think every woman is loved differently but there are similarities to the way we like to be loved. I wanted to describe the love session without being vulgar. I don't like songs that make me feel nasty but I like songs that make me feel sensual."
The lead single, "Ain't Supposed To Be," was written and produced by newcomer Shalea Frazier. Having executive-produced the project, Chante didn't hesitate to leave a bulk of the songwriting to others. It was a departure for the natural-born songwriter, who as a teen wrote her own lyrics to the instrumentals of the music she enjoyed. "I found a lot of great songs....I didn't do too much writing this time but I was really happy with the song choices. The songs were so good I just felt honored to sing great music."
In addition to rock-solid R&B material, Love the Woman gave Chante the opportunity to rekindle her love affair with jazz standards, a seed planted when she was a child. Her father was a minister and jazz pianist with varied tastes in music, while she came by her pipes naturally from her late mother, a singer. She successfully tackles Nancy Wilson's "Guess Who I Saw Today," on which she toys with an unsuspecting cheating lover. And she takes on The Queen of Soul on "Start of Something Big," originally recorded by a very young Aretha Franklin. "I love her old stuff. She had some great music [even prior to her R&B career]. The real quality of her voice then was amazing."
In addition to making music together, Chante and Kenny use their gifts to bring fortune to others, as regular performers at the annual concert benefiting the Rowell Foster Children Positive Plan, the non-profit founded by actress Victoria Rowell. In addition to mentoring a group of young girls at her church, Chante is also at work on a self-help book for women. But long before these endeavors, Chante's has always used her music as a vessel for helping others. "That's really made the difference for me, the people who have made it through because they heard some music I did. They've said, ‘You got me through college.' ‘You got me through a breakup.' It's about taking the experiences that I've had and helping somebody else. I think to be valuable in the world you've gotta open up and be able to share who you are." Fortunately for music fans, Chante is more than willing to do so.