Music Interview: Choklate – Incredible

By: Mut Asheru

Singer/Songwriter Choklate has become an underground soul phenom.  After hearing about her repeatedly we decided to seek her out and find out what the excitement was all about. First mission was to cop her critically acclaimed debut album “Choklate” released on Kajmere Records.  After accomplishing that, we gave it a listen and instantly understood the excitement.  The album is fiyah from top to bottom. Second mission, catch up with the rising star and pick her brain.

Born and raised in Seattle, Choklate relocated to Southern California for a few years but made her way back home to family and recording bliss.  When she arrived back in Seattle, her brother Vitamin D, who was doing his own music thing, had a studio ready and waiting for her.

Her brother produced and engineered her first record, Sound Sessions Vol. 1, which she claims was the incubator for her craft. “During the recording of that album, I was introduced to punctuality, professionalism, and the politics of the game. Mike D [My brother] made sure, musically, that I had a canvas to discover and work on my voice.” She later met Jonathan Moore of Jasiri Management (“One day [Jonathan] wasn’t there and then one day he was. I can’t recall when we actually met”) and he introduced her to the three most happening hip-hop producers in Seattle: Bean One, Vitamin D, and Jake One.

“…It all started in that studio.” Choklate’s approach is not powerful or pop-polished, but rich, mature, and effortless. She’s also a great songwriter, and has a knack for coming up with odd but catchy lines.

Choklate admits that she had things to learn as far as the professional recording side of the business goes.  What’s the most valuable lesson she’s had to learn about the professional side of the business?

“That I’ve been blessed with the skills to and can handle a lot of this business myself and don’t’ really like or need anyone, unless I delegate, to speak for me nearly as much as it’s been made to seem as a must have for an artist,” says Choklate.

Also she has learned a lot about herself and her own creativity in the process.  After all it all starts with the artist and what they have going on inside them that allows them to effectively contribute to the project (or it should be).  One of the most important things she has learned about herself creatively is, “That I must forever submit to what I hear and feel and never second guess it. Those that hear it can do the judging,” she states.

Working with family has been a big plus for this gritty, powerful artist.

“(Working with family)… Keeps me real, humble, honest, normal. Keeps me wanting to make them proud and anxious to learn how to be a better me so as to be a positive light on them rather than a disgrace…keeps me yearning to keep growing and learning. Keeps me…ME. “

Her debut album is refreshing because you can instantly hear that this woman has actually put her heart and soul into it.  She is introspective and acutely aware of the world around her.  With songs like “Incredible” and “What’s About to Go Down” she sings about the need to recognize our own worth and ability to soar to desired heights and change the things that we can.

“Waitin (feat Chali 2na)” and “Long Way” are ‘conquer the world’ anthems that encourages you to believe that you can achieve anything. These tracks chronicle her physical and emotional journey into creative blessings.  The feeling that she infuses these songs with empowers the listener.

Choklate has been busy here and overseas. She describes her live shows as ‘young live soul’, ‘ernest conviction with a submission to the message and a passionate conveying of that message.’

This album exceeds expectations. This debut is an amalgamation of many sounds from the mind of Seattle’s own super producer, Vitamin D (DJ Nu Mark, De La Soul). D brought in and deftly engineered live horn sections, and full instrumentation over his signature edgy but sexy smooth beats. Add to that a big dose of the great Chali 2na (Jurassic 5) as guest MC on the single “Waitin'” (cop that one on 12″ at, and you’ve got a record to be reckoned with.

So what’s up with Choklate in the future…after she unwinds from her overseas appearances?
“Music, music and more music. It’s my goal to appear on as many mixtapes as possible for a few months with nothin but exclusives…and then get back in the studio for the next record…and also a lot of traveling with live bands,” concludes Choklate.

Do yourself a favor and catch this upcoming performer when she’s in your town.  As word spreads, and it is spreading, she is sure to become one of the great soul artists of our era.  Sinfully delicious, Choklate is one to keep your eyes and ears on.

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