Thursday, April 28, 2011

Capital Hip Hop Soul: Choklate (@choklate)

Many artists dreamed of success in the entertainment industry before they even started on their journey.  Some artists, like soul singer Choklate, however, followed a different direction before realizing that music was her passion.  But--lucky for us-- after realizing that she had dreams to sing and with the support of an encouraging employer goading her on, she decided to follow the path that has brought her music to our ears.

Born in Seattle, WA and raised in San Diego, CA,  Choklate is a Seattle-based singer/songwriter who infuses various genres into her music. She has performed on stages with Bilal, Eric Roberson, Raheem DeVaughn, Dwele and other artists who fall into the neo-soul genre.  Choklate has released two albums -- Choklate (2006) and To Whom It May Concern (2009)-- and she credits the "Left Coast"--her term for both Washington and California--with its heavy Hip Hop and R & B influences for having a huge impact on her "musical being". 

Choklate will be featured along with DC singers Eva Kennedy and Snúhgie Stocks, in LivSuite presents Spring Soul Session Vol. 1 on April 29th at Washington DC's Twelve Restaurant and Lounge.  We caught up with her for a Q &A before the big event.

Choklate's "Grown Folks" music video from her album To Whom It May Concern:

Liberated Muse: What was your initial reaction that you will participate in the Spring Soul Session Vol. 1 event on April 29th? 

Choklate: I was just happy to be afforded the opportunity to return to an area that initially gave me so much love and support in the very beginning of my career and returning in a manner that I think will serve both myself as a performing artist as well as the fans that like the music that I do.  [I'm] very excited about the show.

Liberated Muse: What do you have in store for the audience at the Spring Soul Session Vol. 1 event? What should they expect?

Choklate: A really passionate, humbled and grateful person on stage singing honest songs that she wrote [with] a great crew of musicians.  That's what they can expect.  I'll leave pieces of my heart and journey [with] them and hopefully they enjoy the experience."

Liberated Muse: What is the meaning behind your stage name, "Choklate"?

Choklate: It was a [nickname] that stuck.  Someone referred to me as Choklate Angel once when I first started doing music and I hated it.  I got them to drop the Angel part as I [was] quite a [tomboy] at the time but the Choklate part stuck... couldn't shake it for the life of me.

Liberated Muse: How would you describe your sound? 

Choklate: I don't have a sound.  I'm rebellious.  I sound like freedom.  I do anything I feel like doing. I sing what I want, what the music tells me to...sometimes it's soul, sometimes it's rock, sometimes it's hip hop, sometimes it's dance, pop...whatever I want to sound like at the moment is what I sound like at that particular moment.

Liberated Muse: What is your preference: being a live performer, recording in the studio, or both? Please elaborate.

Choklate: I love both. I think in the studio you get to breath[e] life into your creative impulses and lay them down and pad them and embellish them but then on stage you get to really tell the story.  Really lay it all on the line. I think I'm rather boring in the studio honestly but I feel like the fire comes from me live, when I remember the moments the songs where written or the scenario that prompted them. I enjoy the exercise of the vocals [more so] on stage than I do in the booth cause you can belt out your pain or happiness and it's almost tangible but I'm finding a nice balance more recently.

Liberated Muse: Please describe any feelings you get when you perform.

Choklate: I dunno, I'm always pretty nervous to begin w/ and then I black out sometimes and then sometimes it's like talking to a [bunch of] friends while interacting w/ the audience...sometimes I get sad, overwhelmed, really charged up [with] energy like a lightening bolt strikes me...sometimes I get stuck [with] a massive brain freeze on stage, like I've been sucking on a 7/11 Slurpee.... It's a strange place that conjures all sorts of feelings inside.

Liberated Muse: You traveled to various countries such as France, Italy, Sweden, and many others.  What are your feelings about traveling to different countries?

Choklate: It's a blessing to have been to those places. To have seen other cultures and how they live and how they enjoy life and do things differently.  The different foods and such etc. The language, the vibe of the parties, the fans.  It's always a humbling experience. You never realize how big the world is until you set your eyes on a place you never knew existed and then how small it is when they are singing the songs along [with] you. It's all just been a real blessing to have seen and witnessed.

Liberated Muse: As a songwriter, what are your inspirations to write songs?

Choklate: Real life. Real emotions. Real feelings. The moments and people and situations in life that demand a melody."

Liberated Muse: On your website, you stated music wasn't an option initially.  What was the turning point in your life that changed your mind about pursuing music as a career? 

Choklate: I'm always stumped [with] this one. I can't [even] pinpoint the actual moment or point... I guess when my boss fired me and said that I should go and chase my dreams.  Or at least [that's] the point I remember today. She said that she couldn't stand by and watch me lead both lives anymore...heck her husband and mother were fans and she just wanted me to go and chase it... she let me return when things got slow cause I was addicted to working a regular job and they needed someone who knew the ropes so it worked...I'm still on the fence. It's a tough job/career...always looking for the right position [with] the right kind of flexibility and a steady paycheck so that I can do both work and music...[I'm] petrified sometimes thinking that one day it will spit me out after it's devoured my very being, we'll see tho.

Liberated Muse: What are your thoughts about your fans? What are your thoughts about non-supporters (haters) of your music?

Choklate: I really love my fans. I really do. I can't do music without them. They are the reason I can still do this at this point in my career. When I ask them to pray for me they do. Whenever I'm in the dumps about something a few of them will chime in and encourage me or send me positive thoughts, vibes or quotes. I love them. They're bomb dot com. Real talk. My non supporters/haters? I don't even have time to consider them.

Liberated Muse: Lastly, are there any other thoughts, opinions, etc. you would like to share with us? 

Choklate: I appreciate all the people that take a moment to learn my story, to share my music [with] their family, friends and [co-workers] are my industry and I am grateful to you for extending to me this amazing platform". And i'm an e-social site junkie so come find me!!!

Tickets to the LivSuite event can be purchased now.


-Candace "Ama" Boahene

 Candace "Ama" Boahene is an up and coming peformer and online writer with a promising future in Entertainment by God's grace.  She is an MSU Alumnae and strives for educating individuals about the importance of the arts. Visit her profile on Liberated Muse HERE.

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