Chrisette MicheleChrisette Michele celebrated her new album “Better” with an intimate cruise concert in New York.

As the sun began to set on a perfect June 11th day, a beautiful luxury yacht floated by Pier 40 in the Hudson River Park, beckoning guests to come celebrate with Motown Records at SOB’S latest Summer Splash Concert event. But this affair was much more than a concert; it was the celebration of the release of Chrisette Michele’s 4th studio album, entitled “Better.” And there is no better way to celebrate in style than a luxury cruise around Lower Manhattan as the sultry voice of Chrisette Michele serenades all in attendance. After an almost 3 year hiatus, Chrisette returns and the title of her new album says it all, she’s better than ever.

The show opened with Motown’s new signee Stori, who showed off her versatility as an artist, moving from edgy rap lyrics to smooth melodies during her high energy set. She performed such songs as “Pocketbook” and “Just Another Day” off of her mixtape releases to warm the audience up for the main event.

As Chrisette Michele’s band took the stage, all focus was on the mic stand that stood in the middle of the stage. Chrisette’s mother, Lynette Payne, took the stage to deliver a few “thank you’s” to Motown Records and other individuals involved with the event and project. As the lights dimmed, Chrisette stepped to the mic and was all smiles for her whole set. Beginning with a few of her older hits, Chrisette performed “Epiphany (I’m Leaving),” “Be OK,” and “Ashton Martin,” and the audience was right there with her, yelling each word back to her. She exclaimed, “Y’all are gonna make me cry”, as she was touched by the response the crowd gave her as she sang each song.

The concert was intimate and heart felt, as her family was present on the balcony and it seemed everyone in the building knew her lyrics. She joked with the audience that she owned a Metrocard and Rover, but had yet to acquire an Ashton Martin. After satisfying fans with some of the songs that made them fall in love with her voice years ago, Chrisette moved into her new album that was released that very day. She performed such songs off the album as “Charades” (which features rapper 2 Chainz on the album), “Better,” “A Couple of Forevers,” and “You Mean That Much to Me.”

As her band smoothly transitioned from one song to another, Chrisette showed that her church upbringing was ever-present with her, as she took the crowd to church, doing the vocal acrobatics that have earned her comparisons to some of the greatest divas, such as Patti LaBelle. She seemed at home, as she shared intimate stories about her journey as an artist and her childhood upbringing. She even took the time to gesture outside the window and point out the building that she currently lives in as the yacht neared the Brooklyn Bridge. Before singing “Rich Hipster” (which features rapper Wale on the album), Chrisette talked about growing up in New York and moving to Williamsburg, Brooklyn saying, “That’s why so much art is able to come from New York and Brooklyn, because it’s a place that accepts you for who you are”. It is fair to say that Williamsburg has a new anthem, as she crooned about her fame making her a rich hipster in a town that is known for its hipster population.

As the boat returned to Lower Manhattan, it seemed too soon as Chrisette continued to hold the audience spellbound with her every melody. “Better” is officially available for purchase and it is safe to say that this is a new Chrisette Michelle who has taken the time to create a project that she is satisfied and happy with, while managing to show musical growth. But don’t worry she gives her fans more of that sweet voice they love her for.

-JT Tarpav