Artist Brittney Chantele earned the title of “Best Rap/HipHop Performer” and “Best Unsigned Artist” in Pittsburgh for good reason. Their breakout single, “Moonroof” has amassed over 1 million streams to date and has set the stage well for the recent release of their full-length album, “Speaking With Swords,” that dropped August 19th.
We caught up with Brittney to talk about the new album, making moves and what’s coming up next.
Bridge: Tell us about you and your sound…
BC: My name is Brittney Chantele (they/them), and I’m a biracial, non-binary lesbian, Veteran, and barefoot shoe nerd currently living in Chicago. I grew up in Pittsburgh dreaming of making music like Ashanti and Destiny’s Child and continue to be influenced by 90’s pop and hip-hop. My sound continues to develop as I’m inspired by current artists like Kehlani and BANKS. I aim to not lock myself into a genre and just focus on the best way to capture the story I’m telling. I write about love, sex, relationships, and how I navigate through the world, whether that’s going through a breakup or shaking my ass on the dance floor. I make music that is honest, uplifting, and empowering.
Bridge: Which hat would you say you enjoy wearing the most, artist or DJ?
BC: I don’t know if I can choose! My music is like my baby – I’m so protective of it, but at the same time, want it to explore the world. The fact that I have people across the world enjoying my art blows my mind. And, of course, there is nothing like performing my own music for a live audience. It’s an indescribable experience. DJing also allows me to connect with a crowd, but in a different way. There’s something so fulfilling about screaming the lyrics to songs I’ve loved since I was 14 with a crowd screaming them right back to me. Either way, I get to curate shared human experiences through music. Is it cool if I wear both hats?
Bridge: What was going through your head as you watched “Moonroof” blow up?
BC: Honestly, I wasn’t expecting ’Moonroof’ to be the hit song off my album, ‘A Fire on Venus.’ It meant a lot to me because it showed that people listened to the album all the way through since it’s the second to last song on the album. As the streaming numbers started to go up, I was elated to know so many people were resonating with the song – specifically the lyric, “love yourself, you deserve it now.” I think the idea of “loving yourself” can be one we think we have to wait for. As if we have to reach a certain age or milestone to be able to love ourself. I wanted to express that we all deserve to love ourselves now, in this very moment, and I think that’s the main reason this song became such a “feel good” jam. This also meant my music was not only being heard but felt, and ‘Moonroof’ blowing up in the way it did motivated me to make more music. I would say it’s a direct correlation to the kick start of writing my upcoming album, ‘Speaking with Swords.’
Bridge: What’s the reason behind the move from Pittsburgh to Chicago?
BC: It was a combination of things. In early 2021, I went through a break-up and felt like I hit a ceiling in Pittsburgh with my art. Then I took a trip to visit my best friend in Chicago and fell in love with it. Before I moved, I was scared of not being “known” in the city I lived in, of “failing” and being alone, but Chicago just felt right. I had to let go of those fears and listen to my intuition.
Bridge: How has the change in location affected your art? (if at all)
BC: For one, no one knows me in Chicago, whereas in Pittsburgh, I can’t lie, I would get stopped on the street. I was constantly performing around the city and was totally immersed in the music scene. Being in a bigger city where I’m not as connected allowed me to take a natural break from performing and collaborating. I’ve been able to slow down and focus on myself, my mental health, and my artistry. I’ve written more songs in the last year than I have in my entire life. I’m already planning for future projects and experimenting with sounds that people are not used to hearing from me, so stay tuned!
Bridge: Tell us all about the upcoming album…
BC: My upcoming album, ‘Speaking with Swords’ is an album that I’m truly proud of. We started working on it about two years ago before I even had thoughts of moving to Chicago, so it feels like a representation of my growth both as an artist and a person since 2020. I think there’s a little something for everyone on the album as there are slower songs like, ‘Premeditated’ which is a jam for anyone who has experienced being cheated on. And then there’s songs like, ‘Let Me Find Out’ which offer a more hype vibe to get the party started with your boo. I worked with some of my favorite collaborators, who I’m also lucky enough to call my friends. The album was produced by multi-platinum, grammy nominated music producer Ryan M. Tedder, whose credits include Wiz Khalifa, Neyo, Kandi Burruss, T-Pain, Jennifer Lopez, Lecrae, H.E.R, Ariana Grande, and Meghan Trainor. Two songs were co-produced by Aaron Karsh and 16 of the tracks were either co-written or co-produced by Livefromthecity.
Bridge: If you could only point listeners to one song on the album, what would it be and why?
BC: ‘Premeditated’ for sure! I’m really proud of this song as I wrote it entirely by myself, and I feel like I put all of my vulnerability on the table. ‘Premeditated’ is a song about getting cheated on – by someone you expected to get cheated on. Not because of a previous wound, but because you just know that you can’t trust the person you’re with. It highlights points in my life where I settled for mistreatment, distrust, and gaslighting. My favorite lyric is:
“Packing up my boundaries
Can’t believe I boxed them up to move in with you
Can’t believe I got a house and moved in with you
Can’t believe I’m moving out to get rid of you”
Bridge: What’s in store for the second half of the year?
BC: I’m REALLY excited to start performing again – so that’s my top priority as ‘Speaking with Swords’ drops. I’ll be releasing new merch, announcing brand partnerships, and planning a tour for early next year.
Bridge: Anything else we need to know?
BC: My first album ‘A Fire On Venus’ is being pressed into vinyl as we speak! Pre-order your autographed copy on Bandcamp: https://brittneychantele.bandcamp.com/album/a-fire-on-venus