I heard Cl’Che’ live on a Television show. Her performance was strong, intelligent, and creative. When I got home I googled her music and listened to more than a few videos. What I found was some very good stuff. I shared the music with some friends including folks at Red Publication, they suggested I write an article. I was impressed by Cl’Che’ this was a good opportunity to learn more about the musician and share that with the world.
Cl'Che' started rapping in the 6th grade around 1991. She elaborates, “I always took joy in singing as a kid and once rap started becoming popular around this time frame it seemed so much more energetic than just singing. It slowly started as poetry and graduated to rap, and i never turned back lol, but of course i never stopped singing, I do both in my music career.”
In explaining what motivated her to pursue music in those early days she provides insight to what moves her, “Seeing women like Queen Latifa, Mia X , Da Brat, Boss rapping in this male dominated industry. Seeing women rapping was like WOW! Bad a**!! I want to be looked at like them. Keep in mind though back then a lot of music was conscious, this time frame was right before we got into the gangsta and sex rap area of Lil Kim. So, watching women spit knowledge and talk about struggle from a strong perspective was like bam! I want to be like that!” I appreciated her response because her work is proof that she does exactly what she was motivated to do. When people watch and listen to her perform they encounter a woman rapping and singing about hardship, and struggle, but not to simply complain or catalogue the pain, but with the confidence of an artist with vision. She sees beyond the strife and then by harnessing that power, creating with it, enables others to see, and seeing become empowered to work to a better way.
I asked if her motivation has changed since those early days the answer comes as a first person account of artistic process and struggle, "Yes my motivation has changed with experience. 25 years I been doing this, WOW! seems like I'm old huh? But you got to remember I started at a very young age of 11, started working in the industry actually in studios recording by 13 so that makes me a veteran at what I do, and the respect of others even older than me comes across frequently as I meet people at my shows, travel, etc. because I have been consistently working my music career since i started. Some start and stop but I never stopped! I live music and I have lived music and that's why my motivation has changed. Ever heard the quote "starving artist"? You're not a true artist if you never starved. Real artist of any nature have a passion for their art that sometimes mean we miss a meal working on our art. Struggle existed, wisdom arose, purpose started to flourish, drive started to shift, motivation started to change, that's why today you hear no profanity in my current music, messages that are relevant to helping our communities thrive, performances with passion for people, I found my goal and my purpose how to use my gift of song for God's Kingdom, even though it could be confusing to the church people "how can she be singing and rapping for the kingdom but still performing in clubs?" That's because God's people are everywhere and the ones that need him most are not in the church or mosque. I believe it's our duty as God's children is to reach His children, and that means every age, every ethnicity, and every culture.”
Please tell us a bit about collaboration andhow do you feel it works for yourself and what you've seen with other musicians.
"I have worked with many of other artists both mainstream and local. Working with other artists helps you as an artist in so many ways. It helps you get more exposure, it gives you more experience with collaborating your style of music with others to create something unique, it's fun to do songs with others when you perform, it brings a lot of energy when you have a partner on stage with you, and I just love the creativity of other artist that have the same talent and passion. You can learn a lot from working with different artist that can enhance and develop new styles of your own."
I ask her to elaborate, tell the readers a few folks she truly likes working with.
"A few of my favorite artist to collaborate with is Zro, Krino (SPC), and Ms.Toi ( from Ice Cube's Platinum single "You Can Do It"). The reason I say these artist names is because they have that "gift" like myself. There is a difference of having talent and having "the gift". That "gift" is from God. It’s an authentic passion for your craft that extends further than the talent part of it, it shows up in your deliverance, your writing and performance. I know Zro and Krino don't hop around the stage energetically, but their words and song patterns and deliverance are so powerful it drags the audience into the vision of their story line and every one feels a part of the book. you feel me?- only certain artist can drift you there."
I wanted to push a bit further on collaboration, I ask what collaborative works had caught Cl’Che’s attention.
"Nowadays in rap, it’s so many new rappers and I may be familiar with the song because of radio, rather than actually knowing the artist’s name. but if I thought hard enough and I come up with Usher and Chris Brown's collaboration. I don't know the song but I remember when I heard it In thought how well together their talents and gifts came together. Seeing their video of the song was intriguing as well because both of these artist are two artist I look at that have "that gift" for this music and more. Their visual and recordings of the collaboration was awesome to me from an artist to an artist.”
It is nice to know what some of our favorite musicians dig. Her response lists great talent but is also provides insight as to the state of the regional music scene.
"My favore local musicians would include Krino (SPC), Point Blank, Stunna Bam, Bleeda, TeeLee, Nyk Von Cole, Ronnetta' Spencer, Sniper (SPC), and I'm pretty sure there’s more I can name but these stand out on top of my head because I have seen these artists in the industry working throughout Houston and their music and performance stood out to me. The vocalist Ronnetta Spencer is the baby girl form Big Moe's "Barre Baby" she was 9 at the time but now I believe is 20, and being the daughter of Legendary Ronnie Spencer from UGK's hit song "One day you here, and the next you're gone" this little girl has picked up a lot of his Ron Isley faucetto swag and just has a natural beautiful gift of being under her dad's wings with singing I'm always excited to hear her music or see her perform live and she's so professional and give a great show. I met Nyk Von Cole one day and wanted to hear her music after I saw her beautiful single cover. She gave me a copy, she has amazing talent. Houston has so much hidden talent and it's only hidden because being overpowered by media sources like 97.9 and other stations that don't support and play our local music any more. It's easy to get overshadowed by that force, even myself. I applaud the real talent in Houston and we just have to support our own sources that support us, and not give much energy towards a system that is built to shut us out by their own personal financial gain. It takes a lot of love out of Houston when the major sources do that, so i say LET'S MAKE VISIONARY NOISE!”
Her positive but real approach pushes me to ask more questions. What do you count amongst your greatest triumphs as a performer?
"I would have to say my greatest challenge is overcoming it all. All that I have encountered while pursuing my dreams, and I'm still pursuing, thank God. Others consist of being able to travel in places and see how far my music has really reached people. Being nominated for the Houston Press for Best hip Hop underground in 06' I believe and I never signed up to compete. Things like that let me know someone is watching, someone see's Cl'Che's mission, someone supports my music and movements. Also being able to share my gift of performance in a movie called "April Fools" I believe was distributed through Sony. Performing on national broadcast tv shows like "Live From LA" and "Motown Live".
What are some of the most memorable shows for you?
"Some of my most memorable shows I would have to say a lot with the artist Zro. We worked together a lot back in the day, he has a huge following but even before the huge fan base today, that crowd that was there waiting for us in those country towns of Louisiana that knew our songs and my verses word for word. That stood out to me, we didn't have radio play or the street teams and budgets at this time, but those people lived on our words and songs and were so thrilled to have us in their town like we were Michael Jackson or somebody. But they seen what we have later learned about ourselves "the gift".
I know you are involved in an upcoming artist organization. Could you tell our readers more about that?
"I am on the committee of the newly formed organization called A.R.C. ( Artist Respecting Communities) This is a formation of Houston Hip Hop entities coming together through hip hop to better our communities. All are welcome that want to empower with your business, through hip hop - against wrongful incarcerations of the minority, police brutality, discrimination, Justice or else movement, and more. We are using hip hop as a tool to bring awareness of misconduct of the government and judicial system, educating the minority communities on things they wouldn't know from their school history book, and we're reaching the streets to stop the violence with the "No More Blood Shed" movements led by Brother Deric Muhammad and Pastor E A Deckard. It's real in our hood, it's so real the people in our communities have become numb to the dangers of drug selling, drug use, and killing one another. We have to make a change, and the change start with YOU! in the words of our brother Gone But Not forgotten O G Wickett Crickett " I Am You, You Are Me, and Together We Are One". CommUnity. meetings are monthly please follow me on Instagram : @ClChe4Real”
One of my favorite questions to ask performers is for their recommendation for new musicians. What does Cl’Che’ recommend?
"New artists, I recommend if this is your passion and gift, never lose the love for your music, you will never know who it reaches and helps, or even destroy so take responsible actions for the message you put out there. If you put your music on facebook , instagram or any social media just know even if you feel you're not famous yet, somebody has heard your message , so make sure it’s a good one. Also, learn your business (money), copyright, publishing and bids your music, this is how you actually get paid.”
What do we have to look forward to from Cl’Che’?
"This Year 2016 i am working on 3 releases currently, my "Beautiful Metal" album, "Ms.Houston" album, and my "Hustle Hardpt 5" Mixtape to all be released sometime this summer around my event "The Hustle Hard Block Xplosion" presented by myself and Puggy Pugg of the SouthPark Community. It's July 2nd from 9am-8-pm on the corner of MLK Blvd/Reed Rd. its a neighborhood festivity "Bringing Unity to the CommUnity" structured this year with my "Walk The Block " campaign for "No More Blood Shed" Led by Brother Deric Muhammad and Pastor E A Deckard. Website will be up in April to register as a vendor, performer, sponsor, or volunteer. We are excited to do this this year of 2016 and bring all our Houston communities and businesses together for a positive cause as you experience the essence of our culture surround you. ( Slab cars, hip hop artist, bands, small businesses, Houston food, fun games, comedians, a day full of peace and unity)interested in sponsorship? Contact: 832 -292 -8498”
Please Follow Cl'Che' on social media sites: FB: Cl'Che'
IG: ClChe4Real twitter: @ClChe SnapChat: ClChe4Real
Support and check out Cl’Che’ music on : Itunes, CdBaby, and www.SoSouth.com, and her own personal website coming soon! www.MsHouston.Com.