At 3 years old, Chantel Hampton understood the essence of funk and R&B. Sitting in the backseat of her parents car, Chantel, legs dangling, would be caught dancing and singing to the sounds of James Brown, Earth Wind & Fire, Andre’ Crouch, Chaka...
At 3 years old, Chantel Hampton understood the essence of funk and R&B. Sitting in the backseat of her parents car, Chantel, legs dangling, would be caught dancing and singing to the sounds of James Brown, Earth Wind & Fire, Andre’ Crouch, Chaka Khan, Michael Jackson & Al Green. Little did they know their daughter was destined for musical greatness.
Chantel Hampton was born and raised in the inner city of Boston, Massachusetts to a hidden legacy of talented musicians. Fearlessly, at age of 7 she started composing and performing her music at school talent shows and local church events. Her father, LeRoix Hampton III a pianist and producer, would bring Chantel to a lot of his band rehearsals and studio sessions, where she watched and absorbed a lot of the knowledge she has today.
At age 9, Ms. Hampton became the youngest member of a fifty-voice youth choir, which allowed her to travel throughout America and Europe performing before thousands. Soon after she developed a love for songwriting and a strong work ethic as an artist. Chantel continued to work hard at her craft and at age 15 she started to pursue a higher call from God.
Chantel’s parents have been the backbone of her career. They pulled all of their resources together to invest into their daughter. Her father became her musical coach in addition to her life coach. While still in high school, she recorded a demo and began shopping her music to labels. It was then that, Chantel decided to graduate a year early in order to relentlessly pursue her musical career. At age 16, she signed a management deal with Orpheus Entertainment in Manhattan and was a featured lead on smooth jazz saxophonist, Andre’ Ward’s, “Stepping Up,” released 2004. She caught the attention of Warner Brothers, Sony/BMG, Motown and many other labels but declined all offers. She realized that the call was much deeper than the quest of fame & fortune. Therefore, she continued to thrive in her composing, production & arranging skills.
Chantel’s discipline in music and academics resulted in her becoming a two-time winner of The Berklee Colege of Music National Songwriting Competition and a full-tuition scholarship recipient to Berklee College Boston, Massachusettes. In her freshmen year, she was made a student ambassador and in 2006 was sent to the Nancy Jazz Pulsation Festival in Nancy, France. Chantel also shared her gift with the women of Sudan as a performer & vocal producer for the We Are All Connected Project sponsored by Berklee College & Mercy Corps. In May of this year she will have completed her undergraduate degree in Music Business & Management.
This past February, Chantel worked heavily with Youth Explosion ministries out of New York City, co-writing, co-producing and leading the anthem for Teen Mania’s Battle Cry Recreate 2008: Greater New York. She was given the privilege of leading a 300-voice youth choir and performing for over 13,000 people. Ron Luce & Teen Mania have recently invited Chantel to partner with their ministry which will allow her to travel with Acquire the Fire reaching thousands nationwide.
Her resumé and work history read as someone’s twice her age, working hands on with youth, performing, writing, and producing for several local and national acts and participating as a primary worship leader in her church. This young lady has honed her skills and paid her dues. She is now ready for a new level of success not to flaunt fame and fortune but to be a positive role model for a dreaming generation.
Chantel’s new single “ Contagious” is now available on iTunes, Amazon & rhapsody. Her debut album is scheduled to be released May 2008.
Chantel Hampton finds Darfur noteworthy by Singer Chantel Hampton said she has felt firsthand how music can be a powerful, positive force. Working on the album “We Are All Connected,” Hampton was able to turn that positive force outward in...
The Berklee College of Music reaches out to the wo by Worcester Magazine When Chantel Hampton talks about the We Are All Connected effort, she speaks from a deep well of emotion that imbues her every word. “I am so honored to be involved in this project,” she says. “...
Chantel Hampton finds Darfur noteworthy by
Singer Chantel Hampton said she has felt firsthand how music can be a powerful, positive force. Working on the album “We Are All Connected,” Hampton was able to turn that positive force outward in a big way.
“We Are All Connected” is an 18-track recording produced by students and faculty at Berklee College of Music in Boston and being sold to raise money for Mercy Corps’ work in providing humanitarian relief in the Darfur region of the Sudan. Subtitled “Berklee College of Music Reaches Out to the Women of Darfur,” “We Are All Connected” sprung from a trip that Linda Mason, who is the wife of Berklee president Roger Brown, made to Darfur in 2004. Brown and her companions brought a gift of two songs written and recorded by Berklee staff and students to the women and children living a refugee camp in the war-devastated country. The Sudanese women responded with such appreciation that it inspired Berklee to hold a songwriting contest that would lead to the production of a record that could be sold to further aid the refugee population in Sudan.
“When I was picked for this project, I was so excited,” said Hampton, whose family made its home in Worcester a couple of years ago. “I was going on what I had heard about what happened when two of our songs were brought there and the effect it had on them. I know music is an incredible force.”
A committee at Berklee solicited songs from students and alumni, and chose 18 of the submissions. From there, talent was culled from the prestigious music school’s various departments to find singers, musicians, producers, recording engineers and whoever else it would take to complete the project.
“Everybody did all this work without asking for a dime,” said Lynette Gittens, a member of Berklee Women’s Network and co-chairman of the song selection committee.
Gittens knew Hampton, having helped the student first enter one of the college’s summer programs. Hampton said she had no designs on being a singer, but growing up in a musical household and an active musical life in both her church and high school made her arrival at Berklee almost inevitable.
“I don’t know exactly what to tell you about Chantel except that I promise you will be hearing from her. She will make her mark in the music industry. She is incredibly driven and incredibly talented,” Gittens said.
Hampton’s performance on “We Are All Connected” backs up her admirer’s claim.
Hampton, 20, stepped into the project as a back-up singer on the song “Deep In My Soul.” She had worked in the past with the song’s writer, Mika Young, and Hampton’s father, LeRoix Hampton III, served as a producer, arranger and engineer on the song. The senior Hampton, a minister in charge of his Rhode Island congregation’s music program, was among a few non-Berklee types working on “We Are All Connected.”
“I ended up arranging the background vocals for the song, and we got it finished so quickly that someone else asked me if I would be interested in singing lead on another song,” Hampton explained.
That tune was “Home.”
“My dad did some of the music on the song and I heard an early version. Something about the song captured my attention. I look at arranging vocals like painting a picture. So I sat in a practice room in the dorm and worked on creating the right colors for the song. It was really a blessing the way it came together,” Hampton explained.
“Home” does boast a complex vocal arrangement, yet Hampton delivers the tune in a heartfelt, accessible manner. The song’s underlying theme of hopefulness is in keeping with the entire CD, which avoids grandstanding on the atrocities happening in Darfur and instead evokes empathy and compassion for those trapped in the crisis.
Gittens explained that because “We Are All Connected” is essentially a gift, it would not have made sense to fill that gift with messages of anger.
“We wanted to let them know that there are people in the world thinking about them and trying to help,” Gittens said.
Since part of the record’s mission is to raise awareness about the crisis in Darfur, the Berklee community decided to further draw attention to the plight of women and children.
“Women and children suffer the most in these kinds of situations, yet they are often put on the back burner,” Gittens said. “But when you look at women’s roles in any community, they are the backbone.”
Hampton praised her school for being so active in a campaign for an issue that she believes is not well understood by many young people.
“Berklee has done an incredible job letting people know what is going on there. There have been seminars. Linda Brown spoke at commencement. They have done an excellent job informing this community about what is going on over there,” Hampton said.
Gittens said that she hopes other higher-ed institutions will follow Berklee’s lead and use their natural gifts to bring relief to Darfur.
The 18-track “We Are All Connected,” which incorporates some field recordings Brown brought back from the Sudan, is available at Newbury Comics music stores and online at Amazon.com, iTunes.com and cdbaby.com. All proceeds go to Mercy Corps, whose mission is detailed online at www.mercycorps.org.
The Berklee College of Music reaches out to the wo by Worcester Magazine When Chantel Hampton talks about the We Are All Connected effort, she speaks from a deep well of emotion that imbues her every word. “I am so honored to be involved in this project,” she says. “Being a part of this cause has helped me realize why I’m a musician.”
The CD project is an album of songs written, produced and performed by Berklee students, faculty and alumni to raise awareness about the plight of the women and children affected by the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of The Sudan in Africa.
The disc features “Deep in My Soul” and “Home,” arranged and sung by Hampton, who is a Berklee student and recent transplant to Worcester. She says the project has also taught her a few life lessons in her quest to become a professional musician. “It’s not only to have a career or become famous,” Hampton says. “It is to encourage people who are less fortunate — to be able to encourage [the women of Darfur] and say we are connected and we do care about you.”
Proceeds from the sale of the recording will benefit the Mercy Corps Darfur Fund, an organization that is working to build a peaceful future for Sudan. The group is helping more than 100,000 Sudanese who have been displaced by the conflict.
We Are All Connected is the culmination of a wide-reaching collaborative effort. Mercy Corps provided the bridge between Berklee, the community and the women of Darfur. In 2005 a delegation of Boston women — including Bright Horizons Chair Linda Mason, wife of Berklee president Roger Brown; TV journalist Liz Walker; and Rev. Dr. Gloria E. White-Hammond — traveled to Africa. They took with them two songs that were written and performed by Berklee students, “We Are All Connected” and “To the Sudanese Women.”
According to Brown, upon hearing the music, the Darfurian women leapt to their feet and began singing in jubilant musical response. The tunes that the delegation brought with them were the result of a Berklee songwriting competition produced specifically for the trip.
“The writers did an incredible job feeling their story and wanting to do the best to encourage them,” Hampton says.
Hampton is studying music business and management at Berklee. She is also a voice principal and although she did not sing the title track on record, she has sung it in performance.
“I remember the first time I got a chance to sing ‘We Are All Connected,’ the lyrics brought to life the pictures and video footage that I have seen of the women,” Hampton says. “It made me want to sing it. I wanted to encourage them.”
Gunter Schroder wrote the tune that Hampton sings on the record. It is called “Home.” “It was so liberating because there is no place like being in a place of safety,” she says. “Home for them is that place in their soul — where everything is OK and they can be free.”
Hampton sings in a crystalline soprano that shimmers against a background of tightly arranged vocal harmonies highlighted by the saxophone solos of Walter Beasley.
Hampton is originally from Boston, where she grew up singing in church choirs. Her dad is LeRoix Hampton, an independent record producer, who also contributed to the CD. She moved to Worcester four years ago and commutes back and forth to Berklee.
Her hope for We Are All Connected is that the CD not only touches the women of Darfur but other cultures dealing with similar problems. “And,” Hampton adds, “I hope that the people of America understand the cause and contribute what they can.”