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NEW TERRITORY

Busting into a new audience as the prominent face of a broadcast can be an arduous and demanding task; a task that Canadian singer-songwriter, television personality, actress and philanthropist Keshia Chanté handles all too \well. Keshia Chanté is landed her spot as the co- host on BET's 106 & Park alongside Actor/Rapper and industry vet Bow Wow, which cemented her as the first Canadian to host the celebrated countdown show. The Canadian native has garnered quite a bit of loyal fans breaking her career to a new promising audience.

WRITTEN BY Taylor M
INTERVIEW BY Cimone Hall
GFX / CREATIVE DIRECTOR Bagio White
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Jean Pierre

Growing up Keshia a native of Ottawa, Canada always knew she wanted to be a star. Her first time performing was at the tender age of 6 to the late great legendary rapper Tupac Shakur's song " Dear Mama ". She received a lot of great feedback and from then on Keshia new that she wanted to pursue a career in music. At 13, Keshia was signed to BMG Canada and immediately started working on her music. In November 2003 at the age 14 Keshia released her first single "Shook" the single was a hit and went on to climb the charts earning quite a few awards. In June of 2004 Keshia released her first self-title album which went certified gold. From then Keshia juggled school and her music career up until she graduated high school in 2006. In 2006 Keshia moved to the Big Apple to start working on her second album. It was in NY that she finished her last year of high school and was being featured in numerous magazines and performing on tours. After releasing her second album her career took a turn, resulting in Sony [BMG] releasing her from the label.

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I grew up listening to Aaliyah, Brandy, Monica, and TLC. Such a fun era of music to grow up on. Aaliyah inspired me, from her music, to her style. I always felt that we had a lot of things in common.

In her years of absence Keshia from the music scene she moved and decided to learn behind the scenes business aspect of music before returning. Throughout her time she worked alongside some big artist such as Ne-Yo & Missy Elliot from then she learned and gained some of her own song writing skills.

In 2010 Keshia signed to Universal Music Canada and shortly after she released a dual disc album "Night & Day"and embarked on a mini tour .In August 2012 she signed a 3 album record deal in Japan. In September 2013 it was announced that Keshia Chanté would be the new co-host for BET's hit show 106 & Park.

Keshia has had 8 top ten singles so far in her music career as well as having won tons of awards including the"Juno Award, Best New Artist (Canadian Radio Awards), and 5 Urban Music Awards, Video of The Year, Fans Choice and Rising Star Award for Rising Star of The Year."

Keshia Chanté is more than just a pretty face, she wears many hats; besides being a singer/songwriter, she is also an Actress, Model, Philanthropist and what most of us know her for being a host. She has been featured as the leading face in many ad campaigns with Pepsi, Sony's Cyber shot Camera, Ecko Red, MAC Cosmetics, Samsung & Bell and Ontario Tourism. Some organizations she's work with in her philanthropy role is with Canada to Africa, also becoming a Youth Ambassador for Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR) to build schools and paint classrooms.

...When I started 106 & Park, I made the decision to take a step back with my music career. Being new to hosting, ...it takes a lot of time & effort & I wanted to be the best I could be.

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Now, We know you made a guest appearance in Bow Wow and Chris Browns single "Shorty Like Mine"? How does it feel to now be working alongside him on 106?
It's a lot of fun! Bow is like a big brother. We have a great time on set & I think you can really see it on camera. I wouldn't want anyone else to co-host 106 with!

What has been your most memorable moment while hosting the show? or your favorite interview so far?
Most memorable moment would be having Michelle Obama on the show. I feel honoured to have interviewed her. Off camera - she is still everything you imagine her to be; humble, kind, funny, sophisticated. She is such a role model for me. Another fun moment was when Regis Philbin crashed the set & sat with the livest audience, unplanned. It's just an example of how fun the show is, you really never know who will drop by! The livest audience & the energy is just infectious!

What was it like for you to get invited by the Obamas into the White House?
Insane! I received an invite in the mail, saying "You are invited to the White House Holiday Christmas Party with Barack & Michelle Obama." I could have fainted! I was so excited! I went to DC & got a chance to meet the President & it was just surreal. The White House was decked out in Holiday decorations & there were even cookies made in the shape of their two dogs. The food was amazing, music was fun & there were so many cool & familiar faces there.

Ok, Now being an R&B singer, signed at the age of 13, what inspired you to start a music career?
I started singing since I could remember. I loved it. My mom would follow me around with the camera all day. My grandfather is a famous songwriter from & in Portugal. My mother was in a rock band growing up & my dad also played music 24/7. So I just grew up in a musical family. When I was 6 years old, I performed for the first time. It was for a Black History Month talent show. I performed "Dear Mama" by Tupac Shakur & I got a standing ovation. The adrenaline, the feeling... That is when I made up my mind. I told my Mom it was what I wanted to do. She told me as long as I did well in school, she would help & support me. And with a lot of work that led me to my record deal with Sony at the age of 13.

How has co-hosting the show helped your music career?
When I started 106 & Park, I made the decision to take a step back with my music career. Being new to hosting, new to BET, meeting the production & staff, it takes a lot of time & effort & I wanted to be the best I could be. Now that I feel more comfortable with the show, the schedules, operating my day to day etc. I feel like I have more time to focus on my music. I'm currently back in the studio!

You have won many awards for you musical achievements, Are there any projects that your fans should be looking forward to?
My new album!

Speaking of your music, it has been said that you resemble the late Aaliyah. Have you been inspired by her music in anyways? Dream of being like her?
I grew up listening to Aaliyah, Brandy, Monica, and TLC. Such a fun era of music to grow up on. Aaliyah inspired me, from her music, to her style. I always felt that we had a lot of things in common.

Is it true that you may be casted as Aaliyah in an upcoming film?
I auditioned & have had extensive talks. I would be honored to do it but how her family feels about the biopic is more important to me & I would not want to do it if they didn't give the film their blessings.

Aaliyah was very fashionable and I see that you are too! What are your favorite places to shop?
Favorite stores are Intermix, Bergdorf Goodman, Barney's, Aritzia, BCBG, and Forever 21.

Its been a pleasure having to this interview with now Last but not least, what does being DOPE mean to you?
Being DOPE means being confident, being real to yourself & others, being a go-getter with swag!

Now I know you play NBA 2K so who do you usually use to play?
The Bulls.

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