Michelle Chamuel has been around for a while, but she is finally getting the notice her talent so richly deserves. The 26 year old singer originally from Amherst, Massachusetts is a finalist for Season 4 of The Voice.
The Voice has showcased several lesbian and bi ladies in previous seasons including: Vicci Martinez (Runner-Up Season 1), Beverly McClellan, Frenchie Davis, Sarah Golden, Erin Martin (from Chicago!), De’Borah Garner (also, from Chicago!) and Karina Iglesias. None have won (yet), but many have come close.
Now for those of you who don’t follow The Voice or have not been following it this season, they have brought in two new celebrity replacement judges, Usher and Shakira to take the place of Christina Aguilera and Cee-Lo Green. Michelle chose to be on Usher’s team during the blind auditions and he has served as her mentor along the way throughout the competition (a smart choice, ask Justin Bieber how it turned out for him?). They have developed some great chemistry working together and you can definitely see how Usher has helped her come out of her shell as a performer along the way. He went from being the last one to push his button for her during the blind audition to becoming her number one cheerleader during her performances. I think her genuine passion for what she sings has really grown on everybody.
Despite her relatively quiet and self-described ‘nerdy’ demeanor, she has emerged as the fan favorite for the show and there is no question the other judges recognize what she brings to the table in her performances as well. She seems to be able to turn it up a notch on stage every week through her voice and her demonstrative ability to express herself through the songs she is singing.
Michelle has been in music for years. She got her start in 2007 at the University of Michigan where she became the lead vocalist of the band, My Dear Disco. The band members labeled their unique mix of electronic, pop, alternative rock music as “Dancethink.” In 2010, the band now known as Ella Riot performed at Lollapolooza. They took their “Dancethink’ sound on the road and had been touring throughout the country before she decided go on The Voice as a solo performer. She has received recognition for her artistry in the past but nothing like what she has been receiving now that she has been on the show.
Among her growing fan base, she’s also definitely grabbing the attention of many swooning ladies out there watching her performances, (not sure if she’s single or not!). As an open and out queer woman, she feels comfortable owning and talking about her sexuality, but prefers not to lead with it or be labeled one thing or another.
“ I don’t think of myself as “a lesbian musician” or a “Jewish artist.” It’s not one and alone. I think of myself as a musician. I’m not in to labels, which makes it so that I don’t live by them anyway, so I’m not trying to fit into a category. I think people should do whatever they want. Look. I have a straight leg and a gay leg [shows us her one shaved and one unshaved leg].”
Part of her growing popularity seems to be her natural ability to connect on stage with the average person watching at home. I think for a lot of people (myself included), it’s difficult to identify with the often overblown personalities and egos that many musicians and celebrities adopt. So it’s such a refreshing change when you see someone like Michelle just being herself and having such a humble and honest attitude towards everything.
When asked about what kind of feedback she has been receiving from her twitter followers, she replied,
“Some of my favorite comments are people being like “man, like watching you is making me want to be more me” and I’m getting a lot of those. It’s really cool. Like I was telling someone else, it’s really easy to feel entitled to things. Whether, it’s someone giving us the time of day or entitled to receive things. I don’t think we are entitled to receive anything. I think the only thing we are really entitled to do is to be who we are. And hearing people want to do that more is awesome.”
Michelle doesn’t seem to think of herself as making a huge impact just quite yet, but I have a pretty good feeling that regardless if she wins The Voice or not, she is going to emerge as a major impact star in music for years to come!
Guest Blogger – Mallorie DeRiggi
Mallorie DeRiggi is a 20 something marketing manager and communications professional who moved to Chicago over 3 years ago at the start of her career. Mallorie works in the software/internet marketing space and possesses a strong creative ability to communicate ideas and develop strategy to make those ideas persuasive to others. She loves to travel and has had a passion for learning new things about the world ever since she was little. She speaks Italian and Spanish and is working on learning another language in the future. She loves to write and is in the process of writing a novel. She has passion for LGBT advocacy, politics, fashion, technology, cooking and following her favorite hockey team. In her free time, she’s often out and about at different restaurants and bars hanging out with her friends or going out dancing on occasion.