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Choklate [September 25th 2006]

Choklate is getting much press right now and I wanted to know why. After listening to her album, I soon realised and asked if she would do an interview for us. I’m glad to say she accepted. A promising, Soulful talent, with a smooth, sultry, mature sounding voice and fresh feel. Choklate is single, no children and the youngest of seven children from a middle class, Black American family, currently living in Seattle USA. Hey Choklate, welcome to the Just Soul family.

Tracey: Whenever I meet people from large families, they often seem really close to their siblings and have a bond, which is lovely to witness. Is this the case with you and your brothers and sisters?
Choklate: It wasn't up until recently that we've all begun the journey of becoming more involved and closer to one another. Before a few years ago we were all pretty scattered and delving into our own different projects and lanes in life.

Tracey: Has your family made you want to have children of your own or had the opposite affect?
Choklate: Nope. If the right person finds me and the timing is right, then of course. But I've got 40 something nieces and nephews and a few great nieces and nephews. I'm in no hurry.


Tracey: Your name is Choklate. Are you a sweet kind of a person?
Choklate: Sometimes. However, sometimes, just as equally, I'm really grumpy, ‘icky feeling and mean. All humans are this way from time to time. No one's as sweet as they think they are all the time.

Tracey: What was your very first job and was it a job you enjoyed doing?
Choklate: I was about 14 and I lied and said I was 16 to work at a telephone research company...don't remember the name. I would call people and have them rate country songs. I hated country at the time, being a huge gangsta rap fan, but I eventually ended up enjoying that job quite a bit, singing along with the songs and really finding some joy within the daily task.

Tracey: Your vocal style would suit a collaboration with Corinne Bailey Rae, as I think your two voices would compliment each other and harmonise well on a duet. Would you like to work with this UK artist or is there anyone else in the limelight at the moment you'd like to work with?
Choklate: Sure I'd enjoy working with Corrine Bailey...she seems like a doll baby. I want to hear her scream at the top of her lungs in complete and utter rage...that'd be interesting to hear. I'd love to work with Rafael Saadiq, Darien Brockinton, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Little Brother, 9th Wonder, Nicolay...there's a track he did on the Scion mix that has no lyrics that I wish I could be challenged with creating something for. I'd absolutely die at the opportunity of working with Eric Roberson and Raheem DeVaughn, Sy Smith, Andre 3000 and loads of others but I'll stop there...

Tracey: If I could wave a magic wand and produce one person to share a stage with you today, who would that person be and why?
Choklate: Curtis Mayfield, Sam Cooke, or Marvin Gaye. I know you said one but I couldn't mention one without the others. Marvin probably most of all. I would choose them because they are the creators of the music that makes me cry and laugh and scream and feel safe and vulnerable all at the same time. A kaleidoscope of emotions all the matter what they sang about.

Tracey: Do you have a band you gig with and if so, what is their name and can you tell me a little bit about them?
Choklate: I DO!!! I love my fellas. The last show I did consisted of the following persons: Darrius Willrich is on keys. Dvonne Lewis on Drums. Kevin Hudson on bass and (I would have had) Ryan Leyva (but since I couldn't there was no one) on guitar. I also had two young ladies do background vocals and support and their names are Lia Brown and Arzelia Jones. I also had the pleasure of adding Jason Chambliss on horns as well as Anthony Davis on percussion and they are quite the dream team for me.

Tracey: This is your debut album. Have you toured with your music yet and if not, is it something you are looking forward to doing?
Choklate: I did a small tour down the West Coast and more than anything else besides getting back in the studio this has been our dream. To be on the road playing shows for the people who enjoy the music that we create.

Tracey: Is it sinking in just how much your life might change on the back of your album and are you ready for the change?
Choklate: The future does look really yummy as far as the possibilities being created for myself and for a life of doing music full time. As far as being ready? I don't know really. How do you really get READY for anything in life when you have no idea what it will entail? I'm open to the Heavens direction and God is driving. I'm just along for the ride.

Tracey: Would you like to travel the world with your music?
Choklate: Sure I would. Flying is not the greatest thing but being in different places and getting to see different cultures is awesome. I've done quite a bit of travelling this year with Breakestra on their 2006 World Tour and then to Spain a few times and Portugal as well. We're going to Japan in a week or so and then back to Australia. So through the opportunity of working with them I've been able to go quite a few places but I yearn for the day when it's me and my boi's doin' the music that we've been creating.

Tracey: Do you prefer life indoor or outdoors? What are your interests in your spare time?
Choklate: OUTDOORS! I enjoy horseback riding, hiking, the water in any capacity, heights (mountains and such) etc. In my spare time I hike, take walks, river read and sleep when I can. Hopefully I'll be able to add horseback riding back in. I would LOVE to go soon. I miss it soooo much.

Tracey: Have you ever been fired from a job and if so, what for?
Choklate: I've been fired from just about every job in my life except for the last four. I've had a million jobs. I couldn't keep a job to save my life. I was always fired because I was just too antsy to sit still or too much of a free spirit or hated it and felt trapped thus me acting out or whatever. I never knew when to get up and just leave. I'd always ride it till the wheels fell off and kill it. Lately though I've learned to communicate my needs better and have had good transitions from my jobs into my other ventures.

Tracey: When did you last cry and why?
Choklate: I can't tell you the LAST time, it's too personal and fresh to share but one time recently, actually right before that time, was in the hotel in Queens when I was really feeling homesick and missing my mom. I had no time to address it cause it was time to go to the next engagement and my hair wasn't acting right and it was chaos. I just thought out loud...'mommy I miss you'...and I dropped a few tears on the desk in front of me looking into the mirror.

Tracey: On a scale of 1-10, how are you feeling right now - 1 being down in the pits and 10 being orgasmic?
Choklate: 5. Just had breakfast. It's an off day. I'm headed to take a shower after finishing this and feel just a balancing calm - not one extreme or the other. It's quiet. I'm alone and relaxed.

Tracey: What types of men do you like – the shy sensitive type or the crazy unpredictable?
Choklate: I don't know what I like. I'm still learning about myself in that area.

Tracey: Is Soul music your life or do you think you will venture into other types of music?
Choklate: I'm sure I'll venture. I like all kinds of music. I have fun with the things and sounds that challenge my ear so I'm sure I'll end up dabbling in different things. I can emulate really well so we'll see...I don't want to be inauthentic but I'll definitely explore when the time presents itself and is right for me.

Tracey: Anything else you want to say to us here at Just Soul?
Choklate: Check out the website if you can:
and our favourite lil' guilty pleasure:
Also if you'd like to find a copy of the record just visit the following links:
Choklate on Amazon
Choklate on CDBaby
Choklate on CD Universe
Choklate on KSD Music

Tracey: Well, thanks Choklate – it has been a pleasure. Hope you get horseback riding soon and take time to enjoy whatever lies ahead of you. Maybe your love of horses is where you get your free and wild spirit. Listening to your songs I think your job in music, is one I wouldn’t want you to get fired from.

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