Singer/songwriter survives hard knocks

Arts no chaserKMOJ morning show personality thrives on local scene

To call Chantel SinGs an amazing talent actually understates the case. The well-established vocalist and songsmith (Beautiful Dreams CD) cum radio personality (KMOJ’s Morning Show with Freddie Bell) brandishes the sort of singular ability of which stardom is made. It shouldn’t surprise anyone if she’s the next Twin Cities celebrity to go national.


As a singer-songwriter, she’s wowed crowds at venues like the State Theater, First Avenue, Fine Line, and more. Fans wax ecstatic at a soulful timbre, rich phrasing and strong delivery. Her music influences are, so to speak, rock ‘n’ soul.

“My mom and dad, when it comes to music, are like peanut butter and jelly. She’s the soul side — Bobby Brown, Anita Baker. He’s David Bowie, Terence Trent [D’Arby]. I go both ways,” she said. On The Morning Show, co-hosting with Freddie Bell, she’s engaging, a natural cutup bringing personality and off-the-cuff humor with Swiss clock timing. Bell attests, “I leave Chantel’s talent a wide track. Kelvin Quarles [KMOJ’s general manager] asked me to help develop and train our announcers. In Chantel the apple was already polished. Over the years, I’ve [worked] with many broadcasters and she ranks among the best.”

It may not be fair, but an undeniable fact of life in the music business is that the paying public loves to listen to artists they like to look at. Sex appeal sells. Accordingly, being easy on the eyes isn’t an attribute, it’s essential equipment. Despite admirably filling that bill — the expression “fine as frog’s hair” comes to mind — Chantel never lets it go to her head.  And doesn’t let the constant ogling bother her.

“I don’t flatter myself,” she says, sitting in a South Minneapolis coffee shop, casually candid. “I’m not trying to be the center of anyone else’s attention.” Indeed, she takes it in stride, all in a day’s work. On occasion it’s something of mixed a blessing. She reflects there are times when “I have to prove I deserve to be taken seriously. That I’m deeper than what you see. It can be frustrating.”

Lest one assume success was handed to her simply because she could be an Essence cover girl and has led an easy life, Chantel has seen and survived her share of hard knocks. She came up bucking the odds, born to tough circumstance and has prevailed, courageously facing misfortune head on. “I grew up in Chicago projects. We didn’t have much. Sometimes no lights, just a radio to listen to and batteries,” she reflects.

In 2005, she was diagnosed with what well may be a woman’s worst fear, ovarian cancer. “I was so scared, just terrified.”  What got her through it? “Two things. God and family. There’s no other way I would’ve done it.” You have to believe intestinal fortitude factored in as well.  Ultimately, she’s hugely grateful to be her 10th year of recovery.

There is, by the way, a brainy side to Chantel. She graduated Brown College with an associate’s degree in television production and broadcasting, and plans to pursue a bachelor in communications. Another passion is, of all things, psychology. “I am curious about how the mind works and why people do the things they do. Whether they struggle with addiction.  How our past affects our present, mental issues people struggle with and why. I’m interested how [the mind] affects our actions. Once I can understand how the mind causes certain actions, I’d like to assist in finding cures and solutions to the problems.”

Meanwhile she rocks the radio and on-stage. Late November through New Year’s Eve, the lady has a full dance card, including shows with The R-Factor at The Depot (Nov. 21), Earle Browne Center (Dec. 12) and Aria @ Jeune Lune (Dec. 31). She kicks off 2016 performing at Mystic Lake Casino (Feb. 6). So, there is no shortage of opportunities to catch up with her in person. And, of course, on KMOJ weekdays, 6-10 am, soon as you wake up right through drive-time. There is considerably more to this particular book than the cover.


Find more information about Chantel SinGs at or connect with her on Twitter at @ChantelSinGs.

Dwight Hobbes welcomes reader responses to P.O. Box 50357, Mpls., 55403. 


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