THE best way that Christine Charlemagne knows how to get things done is by employing a professional attitude and a great deal of commonsense. In her line of work as a budding star in Saint Lucia’s growing music industry, it’s only natural that she employs some measure of both. What sets her apart from many of her peers, however, is that she’s a businesswoman in every sense of the word.
Before she landed her job as a Business Development Officer at First Citizens Investment Services, the 29-year-old was already writing songs that spoke to her heart. Her dedication to both a professional career in business and singing her way into her fans’ hearts can mean one thing: that she’s keeping her goals, well, strictly business.
Charlemagne launched the video to her latest song, “Bad Girls Anthem”, last Monday at Keebees in Rodney Bay. The big moment, she tells me, was both a culmination of years of hard work and learning, as well as a stronger reason for her to keep doing what she loves best. “Bad Girls Anthem” is an R&B/pop song she wrote and which, she says, is autobiographical in many respects.
“The song itself is really an anthem,” Charlemagne says. “Although it says ‘bad girls’, I encourage listeners and viewers to pay attention to the lyrics. The song is really about self-preservation in saying that sometimes you give your all that you get so lost only to be taken for granted. So it’s really telling the ladies – or gentlemen – that if they’re being abused or taken for granted to now start thinking about you. Stop making it all about the other person all the time while forsaking you.”
The video was directed by Guillaume Rico and produced by All Biz Limited and was made possible through a grant she received from the Ministry of the Creative Industries. As she tells it, her latest offering also gives her the chance to showcase a different side of her than seen in most of her songs, including ‘Heavenly’, a sultry, soft and subtle ballad. With “Bad Girls Anthem” she also bares her soul about “being too nice”.
“Most of my songwriting is influenced by either my life or the people close to me. This one in particular was based on an experience that I went through and decided that after being too nice, maybe I should be bad. I must admit, though, that I’m still nice,” Charlemagne explains, laughingly.
Charlemagne’s musical journey began when she took up songwriting during her secondary school years. At age 15, she began singing at church, performing solos on Saturdays. Her need to branch out materialized about six years ago when she decided to make the bold leap, releasing her first song – a groovy soca, “Alone”, written by Matthias. Since then, she says, “I’ve been doing what’s more Chrycee.” The journey thus far, she says, has been one of learning and growing.
“I can’t say that I’ve ever gotten much negative criticism. Majority of the criticism I have gotten has been extremely positive. So what I do is embrace it, learn, and continuously try to push myself to be at a higher standard. So if you looked back at the last six years, you’d notice that I’m definitely not now where I was then. I think that’s testimony to hard work, research and blessings,” Charlemagne tells me.
Over the years, she’s worked with a few accomplished music producers, including Francis “Leebo” de Lima, Rawl “Rossi” Alcide of Déjà vu Digital (Alcide produced “Bad Girls Anthem”), Matthias and Yogi. It takes a lot of work to do what she enjoys, she admits, especially when it comes to balancing and adjusting to the different roles she plays.
“It’s not easy because apart from work I’m also a student at UWI at the moment. So I’m balancing three hats: Christine the student, Christine the Business Development Officer and Chrycee the entertainer,” Charlemagne says.
Last year turned out to be a monumental year for the rising young star. She performed at the Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival (at the Fire Grill and Tea Time Jazz) and the Tobago Jazz Experience (opening for Keyshia Cole and Earth, Wind & Fire). The successful year, she said, was kick-started from December 2013 when she performed in French Guiana.
Charlemagne also has the business aspect of her music in check with her own registered business – ChryceeMusique – under which everything related to her music venture is done. She sees the obvious advantage of bringing her many talents together in a holistic manner.
“That’s the advantage of having more than one hat and being able to fine-tune and keep it on a professional level while still being entertaining and honing my craft,” the businesswoman/entertainer explains.
For now, Charlemagne specializes in the R&B, soul and pop genres but admits that she’s also willing to dilly-dally in some other genres. She expressed thanks to everyone who has been a part of her journey thus far – one that comes with seen and unforeseen challenges. Nevertheless, she believes that to succeed one must be willing to be tested.
“It’s been a hard journey so far with lots of ups and downs but more ups,” Charlemagne says. “I’m always overwhelmed and thankful whenever people appreciate my work. So I really want to thank everyone for supporting me by also offering their constructive criticism. Just look out for more from Chrycee in 2015.”
Ever the Business Development Officer, she offers some key advice to anyone daring to make it big by following their dreams and passions. While the journey might become an unbearable struggle at times, she stressed the need for some good old investing.
“If you have the talent and it’s your passion, then go after it. But don’t expect that it’s going to be an easy journey. You have to invest in yourself and your craft. I’m nowhere near as far as I would like to be but I can definitely see positive steps and huge movements. So I would like to say that anything’s possible,” Charlemagne advises.
For more details on Charlemagne’s work, go to www.chryceemusique.com