A collection of elements that are both ambitious and effortless, singer/songwriter Alexandria Michele Chargois, professionally known as Alii Michele, skirts the boundaries of jazz, indie-soul, R&B and pop music. Her artistry is somewhat impossible to categorize, as it goes well beyond soul singing to incorporate elements of classical music. The Houston, TX native grew up in a Creole household, which also lends to her eclectic, melting pot approach to expertly crafting genre-bending records. Alii, the youngest of 4 siblings, was exposed to a broad range of culturally diverse artists that include (but are not limited to) Bebe and Cece Winans, Kanye West, Erykah Badu, India.Arie, Amy Winehouse and Ella Fitzgerald, all influences that emerge in her powerful, bluesy voice. Inspired by life, her work is stimulating in subject matter as well as in process. She is known to write her best songs while riding in the car and then wraps those lyrics around lush melodies, which she does with a unique ease and confidence.
From an early age, Alii began penning songs and singing - around the house, in carpools. She aspired to be an opera singer and it is within that vein that she enrolled in music lessons to harness her talent. Through her classical studies, she learned the fundamentals of music, which gave her a solid education to build a professional music career. She eventually joined the church and school choirs, in addition to traveling competitively, which satisfied her desire to perform. Alii grew up idolizing her older sister, a skilled dancer who influenced her to also take dance classes, which she did. Studying ballet allowed the multi-faceted artist the ability to become just as graceful in her movements as she was with her tone.
Alii’s initial industry experience wasn’t a good one. She collaborated with a production team at a local studio where she recorded promising music and accompanying visuals, however due to creative differences, she never released any of the material. The incident served as a devastating blow to her confidence in the business causing her to turn her attention to acting. Soon after, she was introduced by a friend and performer, Soul of Sherif, to a producer named Chris Rockaway inspiring her to return to the studio and the stage - performing at open mics and booking intimate gigs. The partnership proved to be a successful alignment with the results being Alii’s debut project, Away.
Expertly recorded with care over the course of a year, in transit from Austin to Houston, the 9-track collection acts as a roadmap exploring Alii’s deepest thoughts that extend beyond words on a page or sound in the ears. Away is best categorized as experimental and accessible, simple without being simplistic. The lead single “Never,” is an up-tempo record that pairs Alii’s unmatched vocal harmonies with confessional storytelling. The richness of production takes each majestic composition into new soundscapes, creating songs that are more like pieces of art.
A dynamic vocalist that exudes grace, poise and brilliance not only in her music but also with her stage presence, Alii is emerging as an instantly memorable new artist in recent memory.