Born Chante Moore c. 1970 in San Francisco, CA; the youngest of three children; father was a Church of God in Christ minister; moved to San Diego at the age of 12; engaged to actor Kadeem Hardison, 1997. Addresses: Silas/MCA Records, 70 Universal City Plaza, 3rd floor, Universal City, CA 91608 (818) 777-4000.
Pop balladeer Chante Moore enjoyed a resoundingly positive response to her 1991 debut album, Precious, and she continued to explore romantic musical terrain with equal success in her second release, A Love Supreme. While Precious presented her mellow pop style with jazz underpinnings, 1995's A Love Supreme instead highlighted her earnestness and playful personality and allowed Moore to grow comfortably into her early success. She cowrote 14 of the songs on her second album and branched out as coproducer as well. Moore fuses soulful ballads with rhythm and blues, pop, and jazz. YSB magazine's Sharon Dukes wrote, "Only in her twenties, Moore is a talent whose blend of jazz and R&B continues to surprise and capture listeners from all generations. Listen to the music.... smooth lyrics that swirl and soothe, over sensual notes, but with a strong message."
Moore's first album was so successful that she was featured in a one-hour BET special, Candlelight and You: Chante Moore Live. She has been compared to Roberta Flack, Sade, and Diana Ross and has seemingly incorporated elements of all three legendary singers: the dulcet tones of Ross, the thoughtful songwriting ability of Flack, and the smooth elegance of Sade. Moore told Dukes, "You can't grow up in America and not have influences from all the greats. I don't pattern myself after anyone in particular ... I really sound like my mom!"
The youngest of three children, Moore was born to a Church of God in Christ minister and his wife in San Francisco, California. The family moved to San Diego when Moore was twelve. She was raised in a musical atmosphere: her father played the piano and her brother played the drums, and she sang in a church choir throughout her childhood. Although she never performed a public solo because she was too shy, she used to sing at home all the time. She told Ebony magazine's Aldore Collier, "My family used to make me be quiet. They would say, 'Shut Up, Chante. Don't sing all the time.'... I sang with all the gospel albums, primarily Andrae Crouch and Edwin Hawkins." Moore's other early influences were Tremaine Hawkins and The Imperials. Her father loved jazz music and played it often at home.
At the age of 16, Moore was asked to play Dorothy in a musical production of The Whiz. She told Collier, "That was the first time I ever sang anywhere publicly. This lady from the church asked me to be Dorothy because I was so young ... she wanted me to sing and that didn't make sense. But I learned ... I didn't know I could touch people vocally. A little bug was put in my head." After her experience in The Whiz, Moore decided to pursue music professionally. She participated in local musicals in San Diego, and occasionally had the opportunity to meet people in the music industry.
In 1989 Moore met singer El DeBarge while performing in the Motown musical Heat Wave in Los Angeles. DeBarge went to see the play one evening and met Moore backstage; the two struck up an enduring friendship. She eventually met his manager, Fred Moultrie, who offered to represent Moore as well. At the time, she didn't have a demo tape--so she landed a manager before she had a record deal. A month after retaining Moultrie, he convinced her to sign a contract with MCA Records.
People familiar with Moore's background and musical ability expected her to record gospel music on her debut album, but she explained to Collier, "First I wanted to establish myself ... to do everything else I wanted to do.... The Lord brought me to this. When people tell me, 'There's something special about you.' I tell them it's the Lord because I couldn't do this without him. He's the one who has blessed me."
Moore's debut album for MCA, Precious, quickly went gold, as did her second album, A Love Supreme, which details the experience of finding the right person, discovering the joys of love, and moving toward a commitment. The album includes Lionel Ritchie's "Sail On," Deniece Williams' "Free," and Alicia Myers' "I Want To Thank You." Moore's inspiration for the romantic release was real life: she met and fell in love with actor Kadeem Hardison at a 1995 NAACP event, and by 1997 the two had decided to marry.
Louil Silas Jr. launched a joint venture with MCA Records in September of 1992 to create Silas Records, and Moore was the label's first artist. Silas told Billboard's David Nathan, "Chante had everything: the musical talent, the personality, charisma, and beauty. I knew right away that she was a long-term career artist. I studied what (Berry Gordy Jr.) did with Motown, the whole grooming process that helped create real entertainers." When MCA chairman Al Teller told Silas that he could oversee his own label, Silas told Nathan he knew he wanted Moore to be his first artist.
Moore was placed with three different veteran producers, and Bassel Benford and BeBe Winans were each called in to collaborate on one song. Visibility was created for Moore by placing her on the soundtrack for the movie House Party 2: she and Keith Washington recorded the duet "Candlelight and You" for the album. A special wardrobe clause was created in Moore's contract for her public appearances, key professional photographers and stylists were utilized, and her video for "Love's Taken Over" was shot in Paris.
BET also played a significant role in Moore's development and visibility. The station covered her video shoots, appearances at parties and record launchings for other artists. In addition, she appeared on Video Soul, Video LP, Screen Scene, and Teen Summit. Her concert special was aired twice on the station, and her visibility overseas in Canada, France, and England was heightened through concert appearances and tours.
Moore's Precious debut held its ground after nine months on the Top R&B Albums chart and close to six months on the Billboard 200. Readers of Britain's Blues & Soul magazine voted Moore "Best Female Vocalist" and "Most Promising Newcomer" in 1993. The readers also named Precious the year's best album. Precious delivered two Top 5 R&B hits: "Love's Taken Over," and "It's Alright." Moore also toured with legendary soul artist Barry White on his summer Icon World Tour in 1995. She was asked to contribute to the song "Freedom" for the Panther film soundtrack, but she felt the lyrics were too harsh for her to make a genuine contribution. Moore told Jeff Hall of the Camden Courier-Post, "I make sure I can send (the album) home to church and not be embarrassed."
by B. Kimberly Taylor
Chante Moore's Career
Played Dorothy in a musical production of The Wiz at the age of 16; released debut album Precious for Silas/MCA Records, 1991; released A Love Supreme, 1995.
Chante Moore's Awards
Voted "Best Female Vocalist" and "Most Promising Newcomer," Precious named the year's best album by Britain's Blues & Soul magazine, 1993.
- Selective Works
- Precious, Silas/MCA Records, 1991.
- A Love Supreme, Silas/MCA Records, 1995.
- Akron Beacon Journal, June 1, 1995.
- Billboard, July 10, 1993.
- BRE, May 2, 1997; July 9, 1993.
- Camden Courier-Post, June 16, 1995.
- Cleveland Plain Dealer, June 10, 1995.
- Durham Herald-Sun, June 16, 1995.
- Ebony, May 1995.
- Jet, July 22, 1996.
- Music Connection, March 15-March 28, 1993.
- New Orleans Data News Weekly, December 23, 1995.
- Now Magazine, August 1995.
- Times-Picayune, December 22, 1995.
- Tri-Valley Herald, November 21, 1995.
- West County Times, November 24, 1995.
- YSB, April 1995.