UB Interviews The Cast of R&B Divas L.A. – Chante’ Moore, Michel’le, Brave & Stacy Francis

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R&B Divas L.A. went from Divas to drama last season, but this year the girls were trying to sing to a new tune. The Divas got down and dirty as they were forced to take a “Leap of Faith” in friendship, career and love. Lil Mo, Chante Moore, Michel’le, Leela James and Chrisette Michelle all returned for another chance to build on the incredible brands they have established.

Also, two new talented Divas came into the mix. From young, fresh Brave Williams to feisty and fierce Stacy Francis.

The Season 3 Reunion Starts Tonight and Continues Next Wednesday hosted by Wendy Williams.

Check out our UB exclusive interviews with Chante’, Michel’le, Brave and Stacy, conducted by UB Journalist Surayyah Odwin.

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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.

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UrbanBridgez.com: How was this season for you?
Chante’ Moore: It’s been emotional, but it’s been good. I think exposure is always a good thing, when we’re all out there trying to really sing. We want to sing for as many people as possible and I think what’s beautiful is people really get to know another part. Even if it isn’t all the parts we want them to know, we get to share our hearts. And see what it’s like when you mix this girl with that girl and that girl with this girl. We get good stuff and when you really get comfortable with people you’ll see a goofy side like with me. Even though they did edit a lot of my goofy side out, they had other things in mind. But never the less, people bring out certain sides of you which I think is a good thing. So it’s been a journey, it really has been a journey.

UrbanBridgez.com: It seems you were going through a lot of things last season.
Chante’ Moore: Yeah my brother died and then my mother died, she died on my brothers birthday. So it was really really a lot. And my daughter went away to college. Then I was also going through the stuff with Kenny [Lattimore]. So it was just really a lot of stuff going on. Every single part of my life that use to be stable was torn in a different direction. But they [TV One] never told y’all that and the girls never asked that either. So I decided to keep it to myself because I’m not one to whine. I’m not trying to bring attention to myself, so that is what was difficult for me when they always say, why do you always make it about you? I’m thinking it’s funny, because you don’t even know what’s going on in my life! It’s okay, but don’t accuse me of that. But it was okay because I know and that’s why I said, this is work. Clearly they didn’t really care about me so I’m only going to give you this part because this part is good. We can share a lot of stuff over here, but I’ll leave my heart to myself. It wasn’t that I would keep my friendship to myself, we can build a friendship. So some of us are absolutely friends and even when the latest season began we really got connected again. I’m really appreciative of the show to begin that and really getting an understanding. I really appreciate that so much because I’m a Christian and that’s the most important to me that we understand one another as much as possible. Michel’le and Chrisette and I particular have continued that rapport and I really consider them my friends. I really did begin again and really did feel a change after we went to the mountain top (laughs).

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Michel’le

Michel’le Toussant is an R&B recording artist and songwriter who will forever hold a place in music history as one of the most important female voices in the history of the West Coast Hip Hop Movement. Signed to Ruthless Records as a teenager. Michel’le’s melodic, yet powerful vocals offered an amazing contrast on her debut album “Michel’le” which was produced entirely by Andre “Dr. Dre” Young and Executive Produced by Eric “Eazy E” Wright.

Ruthless Records made History when it released their first Urban Contemporary project, the self titled “Michel’le” which went platinum selling over 2 million copies, and garnering several hit singles including the now classic “Something in My Heart,” “No More Lies,” and the funky anthem “Nicety.” She brought together rap music and soulful R&B in away that no one had ever done before. Clearly ahead of her time, her dynamic voice and electrifying performances were the launch pad for several other urban influenced vocalists such as Mary J. Blige, Faith Evans, or Lauryn Hill, who all had strong ties to Rap, and Hip Hop music.

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UrbanBridgez.com: How was it so easy for you and Mo to move on when you had your misunderstanding this season?
Michel’le: Well you have to apologize if you feel like you’ve hurt someone for whatever reason. People have their own way of thinking of how you made them feel.

UrbanBridgez.com: So we’ve seen you in the studio this season.
Michel’le: Yes, doing dance music with Crystal Waters, so awesome. The music is something new for me but I like it.

UrbanBridgez.com: Do you currently get along with Suge and Dr. Dre?
Michel’le: I get a long great with them now, because they have girlfriends and wife’s. We have a great relationship, they love their kids. My kids are old enough to communicate to them without me.

UrbanBridgez.com: How is your relationship with Stacy now.
Michel’le: You have to get to know somebody and there is a way to do it. It’s usually hello, how are you doing and formally introduce yourself. You just don’t come up like argh!! So talking to her and seeing where she comes from, it’s fine. I don’t hold any ill will against any human being. That’s judgement and it’s uncalled for. We’re about as good as we’re going to get (laughs).

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bravewilliams

At an early age, Brave embraced her musical talents, having already started her musical career when casted as a Lead Singer for the MTV Reality show, P. Diddy’s “Making The Band”. Although she was subdued from the reality show by the struggle of her father’s diagnosis of prostate cancer and early signs of dementia, her talent was still destined for success, which she earnestly grappled for. The Grammy award-winning producer, Rich Harrison, found Brave’s vocal innocence and talent captivating and signed her under Columbia Records however was later dropped.

Determined to follow her soul and pursue her musical dreams, Brave moved to Los Angeles. After three years of development and hard work, Brave found herself in front of Rich Harrison once again; however, this time with the idea of an all-girl group which she named “Richgirl.” Brave, the soul creator of the group, took the lead in landing “Richgirl” a major deal with Jive Records. The group instantly created billboard hits including their first singles “24’s” and “He Ain’t Wit Me Now.” Having gained the attention of followers including Beyoncé Knowles, in 2009 Brave and the group toured as the opening act for Beyoncé’s “I am Sasha Fierce” tour.

Now in 2014…. Bigger, Better and Braver…. Brave is working on her own project forming an iron-clad team, writing her own songs and overseeing treatments of her videos, while being one hundred percent dedicated towards controlling her own career destiny. She is tenacious in her pursuit of dominating the performing arts industry with securing roles in both television and film such as the lead role in Omarion’s M.I.A. music video produced by Universal Music, the feature of Bambi on BET’s “The Get Up”, and a featured singer in TLC’s “Crazy Sexy Cool” film on VH1. She continues to strive beyond what’s expected of her Braveness, by also sanctioning time for those less fortunate through Associated Black Charities (ABC), as well as her own personal philanthropic missions. Remaining ceaseless and unremitting, with the voice and fuel to light up a city, an independent, unstoppable, fire-driven Brave is now unleashing her complete self on an upcoming EP, “FEARLESS”

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UrbanBridgez.com: Tell us a little bit about you and what brought you to join the L.A. cast of R&B Divas?
Brave: I was in the group Richgirl and once the group disbanded, I took a lot of the opportunities that I was able to make in that group financially and invested it back into myself. I started my label and gathered my team together. Plus my street team, radio team, management team and got mu music together and went straight to radio with it independently. Was just really working hard and it’s from those efforts that I caught the attention of the producers of this show [R&B Divas] and they asked me if this was something that I wanted to be apart of. I thought the opportunity was great because there aren’t a lot of platforms around right now for R&B artists. Being I was doing it independently I thought this was a great way to further expose my music with what I was already doing.

UrbanBridgez.com: We saw you looking all sexy in the new music video for “Road Trippin.'”
Brave: Aww, thank you.

UrbanBridgez.com: Tell us about that and what you have coming up musically. I know you had the support of Music Choice.
Brave: Music Choice is just a huge network and I was honored they even thought enough of my story to include me in the Take Back The Music Campaign. Which is a campaign that they created that basically recognizes artists who take responsibility for their careers. Like Jason Derulo, A$AP Rocky, Estelle and now me. Ultimately we did a partnership and they are helping to push the video which is on Music Choice right now On Demand. The single was just released to iTunes. Aside from that, we’re gearing up to release the EP this summer, it’s called “Fearless.” It’s pretty much a merge between Hip Hop & R&B. I’m a lyricist, a rapper and I love to sing. I love to do both, so it’s kind of like the marriage of both of them.

UrbanBridgez.com: And you’re beautiful, you have the whole package!
Brave: Aww, thank you so much.

UrbanBridgez.com: How did you allow yourself to get to know the other ladies of the cast that you didn’t know, without judging them based on something you’ve already seen on the previous seasons?
Brave: I was raised in a way that you treat people with respect. You don’t judge before you know. My father was 85, when I was 26, you know what I’m saying. He had a very old school mentality and instilled certain things in me. So whatever situations that happened prior to me getting there, I knew they had been prior to me getting there. So there was no reason for me to get involved. Now to understand both sides, I will ask questions. But I am smart enough to make my own assessment. Not from what I’m told, but from what I’m shown. So I really just went in with an open mind and an open heart.

 

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rbdla_stacyfrancis

Stacy Francis was a finalist and fan favorite on the first season of Simon Cowell’s new show The X Factor. Her audition blew Simon away and gave her one of the few standing ovations he has ever given and proclaimed, “I have been doing this a long time. That was one of the best auditions I have ever seen in my life. I love, love, love it. I love you!” And LA Reid declared that she literally “made the hairs on his arm stand up” and that “her voice stirs souls!” The YouTube videos of her X Factor performances have collectively been viewed more than 11 million times.

Stacy’s career didn’t begin on the X Factor; she has been singing all of her life. She grew up a preacher’s kid in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, NY. At the age of 16, Stacy joined the girl group, Ex-Girlfriend. The group was signed to Warner Bros. Records by music industry legend Benny Medina and scored a #3 Billboard hit single, “Why Can’t You Come Home,” produced by notable singer/songwriter, R. Kelly. Before leaving the group, Stacy performed on Broadway in the show Boys Choir of Harlem and Friend’s on Broadway and appeared in Girlfriend, a made for television movie produced by Oprah Winfrey.

Stacy is a trained actress and has toured the world with several stage plays and musical productions in addition to appearing on a variety of television programs including featured roles on Third Watch (NBC), Half and Half, The Parkers (UPN), Yes Dear (CBS), Phil of the Future (Disney), Fastlane (FOX), Son of The Beach (FX) and In My Opinion (WB). She has also performed live on The Rosie O’Donnell Show, Showtime At The Apollo, Soul Train and The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

A highlight of Stacy’s musical theater career was landing a starring role opposite Chaka Khan in the West End production of Mama I Want To Sing in London. The success of the play resulted in a coveted performance at theOlivierAwards,Britain’sequivalentoftheTonyAwards. BeforereturningStateside,Stacyalsoperformed the role in Tokyo. Upon her return, she landed a role in the musical theater production Born to Sing at Madison Square Garden with gospel legends, CeCe Winans and Shirley Caesar. Rave reviews of her performance led to an invitation to join the cast of Smokey Joe’s Cafe on Broadway. This was followed by roles in Street Corner Symphony and the hit Broadway show, Footloose where she originated the role of “Rusty”.

Since the X Factor, Stacy has stayed busy performing live for major brands including Pepsi and Coca Cola. Recent live performances include a private concert for Tom Cruise where she was flown in to perform aboard a private yacht in the Caribbean to celebrate his birthday – Tom even joined her onstage! She also performed live in concert with The Voice Finalist, Jesse Campbell in Tampa, Florida.

Aside from being on the big stage, Francis’ commitment to community enrichment and youth charitable organizations in the U.S. and U.K. is never ending. Currently, Stacy is the newest addition to the hit-reality television melodrama and focused on building her brand empire.

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UrbanBridgez.com: Being that this is your first season on with the girls, tell us why you decided to join the cast & did you have any expectations?
Stacy Francis: I was actually in contract to do another show. It was more of “my story,” my show and it was taking a little bit too long. The development part of it, you know how these things go. So Phil Thornton had came to me and asked if I wanted to do R&B Divas and I said absolutely! Being that this is the third season of the show, I thought why not go into something that is already going. Instead of waiting for my show, again for another year. And I really love this show, I thought the concept of it was really great, six singers, beautiful women with their own stories. I loved it, I had been watching it since it started. I just wanted to be an addition to it and come and tell my story.

UrbanBridgez.com: We’ve been watching and are curious have some of the issues been resolved and are you guys in a better place?
Stacy Francis: I think the audience has to keep watching this season. But to answer your question, some of us are (laughs).

UrbanBridgez.com: What’s coming up for you?
Stacy Francis: I have an EP coming out, a song I have performed on the show a few times called “I Still Believe” is from that. I have a skin care line called The Stacy Francis Beauty. You can find more info on my website iamstacyfrancis.com I developed a line because my son had xema. I would put certain creams on him and they would burn him or make him itch more. So I developed an all organic fragrance free, skin care product for him to help for his xema. So anybody can use it for that, I have 6 products on the line right now. One is an dead sea mineral scrub that you use in the shower that’s great. And an anti aging system that I use for myself. People say a lot wow you have pretty skin, so I’m just sharing some of my secrets.

 

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