Who is Cha's?

Thursday, 07 March 2013 20:36 Written by  Iya Bakare

Growing up, singer/songwriter Cha’s (pronounced “Chase”) Kimbro recalls her mother’s solos in church and admits she thought she was Janet Jackson until she saw the international star live. With childhood memories of the melodies from her mother and grandmother, the Chicago native says singing was used as a learning mechanism for her. That seed for learning cultivated over the years and inspired Cha’s to find her own voice. It was a performance by the late Whitney Houston that shook her to the core, and that twinkle in her eye ignited a spark in Cha’s to pursue music.

“What did it for me was the first Grammy Awards show I remember,” she recounts. “It must have been in the ‘90s, Whitney Houston was performing and the performance blew my mind. It was something about her vocals. It did something for me as a child. When I started writing papers and said I wanted to be a superstar, my mother said I was going to go college first and then become a superstar.”

With music still in mind, the Morgan Park High School graduate says she honored her parents’ wish and pursued higher education. Cha’s moved to Jackson, Miss., attended Jackson State University, and migrated back home where she finished her education at Loyola University Chicago. There she earned her undergraduate degree in marketing and business administration. She credits her parents, who she says nurtured her talent in music and fostered her other athletic abilities because they saw the importance for the budding talent to remain active throughout her childhood. Between basketball, softball, taekwondo, dance and involvement in her church choir, there was little room for trouble to creep into the artist’s path. Those activities provided not only an outlet for Cha’s to express herself, but an opportunity for her to find her niche, which is music.

“I listen to what the Lord is telling me and I’m following the path He has set for me,” she says.

With her focus on singing and writing, Cha’s says she recently hung up her softball cleats and traded in her glove for a microphone. The singer works to perfect her craft and to serve as a role model for others. She credits her parents for providing a source of stability, strength and the opportunity to build her dreams, which the singer says she doesn’t take for granted. Upon earning her degree, Cha’s admits she tried the traditional career approach, but was miserable. With the support of her parents, she shifted gears and decided to pursue a career in the music industry.

With her laid-back, girl-next-door, but edgy flair, the artist’s music matches her demeanor and style. When she opens her mouth to sing, you don’t know if she’s going to rock it out to an alternative tune or melt your heart with a soulful solo. And that’s part of the appeal to this eclectic artist, which you can hear in her new single, “Wanna Luv U”.

“What sets me apart is I can nail any genre of music, own it and still sound like me,” she says. “In this day and age with music, you almost have to be able to sing everything in order to get to ‘superstar status’ because you can easily become dispensable at some point. In my music, I’m telling stories and I leave a lot to the imagination. I won’t guide you through my songs. They’re open-ended and you can apply them to your own life. I want to take listeners on the journey with me. Some songs may take a few hours to write and some may take a month. Until it gets into my spirit where I feel I’ve made an impact, I’m not going to put it out there or record it.”

Recognizing the power behind the microphone, Cha’s says she wants to be more than a performer who entertains people. If she wasn’t performing, the singer says she’d find herself in a career that involves marketing with public administration or urban studies because activism and giving back are important to her, especially in her community.

“My ultimate goal as an artist and a singer is to get into the souls of people,” she adds. “I want to bring back nostalgic memories and evoke emotions. I know what music does for me emotionally and I feel it’s my duty to do that for other people. I want to touch people and inspire people.”

With the emphasis on perfection in the entertainment world, the young artist takes heed to the lessons she’s learning not only as a performer, but also as a writer. The former athlete hasn’t lost her competitive edge, but professional singing is a different arena of competition, she admits. As Cha’s balances her time songwriting, recording, working out, performing and promoting her music, the songstress confesses time-management can be a challenge at times. However, she’s working it out in order to maintain a career in the entertainment industry.

The Zuma Records recording artist is a go-getter who says she doesn’t wait for anyone to do anything for her. According to Cha’s, in life if there’s something you want, you go for it and don’t wait for someone to give it to you.

“I learned from one of my mentors that this industry is 99 percent business and one percent talent,” she comments. “A lot of people spend most of their time working on their talent, but they lose sight of the business. I’m an advocate for staying in school and knowing about every aspect of what’s going on in terms of your career. I think young women need to stay focused on what their ultimate goal is in life and have that educational background so whatever it is, they can do it to the best of their abilities so they won’t remain stagnant. I’m an advocate for positivity and productivity.”



*Photography by Dyrti Martini


Iya Bakare

Iya Bakare

Iya Bakare, GMO's managing editor, earned both her Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in print journalism. She earned her B.A. from Delta State University with a minor in English and graduated with a M.A. degree from Columbia College Chicago. In her spare time, the Chicago native continues to freelance and ponder ways to both inform and improve her community one story at a time.

She can be contacted at Iya@glossmagazineonline.com
Follow her on Twitter: @ibakare

Website: www.iyabakare.com

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