In last week’s Bohemian, I raved about Christette Michele’s new album, Epiphany, and the surprisingly rewarding low-and-inside swing it takes at commercial success. Chalk one up for the 26-year-old batter: Epiphany was released this week, and swiftly hit #1 on the Billboard 200.
The funny thing about all this is that Michele is so obviously skilled as a jazz singer. But does jazz sell? Could Michele have tried to make a stab at Norah Jones-ness? Is Norah Jones-ness dead? Is “Love Is You” just a crappy Corrine Bailey Rae knockoff?
So: Into the studio with more rappers, into the makeup department with a new hairstyle, and into the computer with more music editing software. Maybe she’ll make that small-combo album someday, but once the beast starts giving, it’s hard to let go of the leash. Epiphany only sold 88,000 copies in its first week, the lowest sales ever for a #1 album in the SoundScan era, but I’m guessing that unlike the industry, Michele’s pretty happy with her figure.