Keshia Chanté

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Keshia Chanté
Keshia Chanté (2010) - 2.jpg
Keshia Chanté on set of her music video "Test Drive" in 2010
Background information
Birth name Keshia Chanté Harper
Born (1988-06-16) June 16, 1988 (age 30)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Origin Toronto, Ontario, Canada[1]
Years active 2004–present
Labels Universal Music Canada
Associated acts Drake, Preme, Belly

Keshia Chanté (born June 16, 1988) is a Canadian singer, songwriter, television personality, actress and philanthropist. She is a teen star, having released three albums exclusively for Canada and in 2012, she rose to international prominence hosting BET's 106 & Park.

Chante's music has garnered numerous awards and accolades. She is a Juno Award winner, 7-time nominee and has won 5 Urban Music Awards & 2 Radio Music Awards. Chanté was given a star on the Brampton Walk of Fame for her achievements in Canadian Music & Film.[2]

Chanté has had many number one singles on radio in both Canada & Japan, as well as 8 singles hitting Top Ten on the radio music charts.[3] She has earned multiple SOCAN #1 Awards for her songwriting efforts. Her single "Table Dancer" went #1 on the Billboard Charts in Japan.[4]

Early life[edit]

Keshia Chanté Harper was born in Ottawa, Ontario. Her mother is Portuguese and Puerto Rican and her father is Trinidadian. She was 6 years old when she first performed, receiving a standing ovation for her rendition of Dear Mama by Tupac Shakur.[5] Through talent shows, she got the attention of a local DJ who, in 2002, sent a video of her performance to SonyMusic Canada. After performing for music executives, she was signed to the label exclusively to release her music in Canada. She went to middle school at Saint Peter High School before moving to Toronto, Ontario at the age of 13. Chanté was valedictorian and graduated with honors.


2003–2012: beginnings[edit]

In 2002, at the age of 14, SonyMusic Canada signed Chante to a long term record contract to release her music in Canada. In early 2003, she released "Shook (The Answer)" which won an Urban Music Award for "Best Pop/R&B Single". The follow-up, "Unpredictable" went #3 on radio charts,[6] and her first video hit number one on YTV and the top ten on MuchMusic. In November 2003, the CD single of "Unpredictable" was certified gold and later went on to win Chante the Canadian Radio Music Award for "Best New Solo Artist". In early February 2004, Chanté's third single, "Bad Boy", was released. It was also successful, breaking the Top 10 on radio and sitting at #3 on MuchMusic for 4 weeks before later earning the #1 position on the chart. The video was directed by Director X.[7] Later, in June 2004, Chanté's fourth single "Does He Love Me?" ft. Foxy Brown reached top 5 at radio. The video was also directed by Director X and became #1 on MuchMusic for 3 weeks. The video also garnered her an Urban Music Video Award for "Video of the Year". On June 22, 2004 Chanté released her self-titled debut album. On December 3, 2004 it was certified gold. In October 2004, at the Canadian Urban Music Awards Chanté swept all three of her nominations, winning awards for "Best New Artist", "Video of the Year" (for Bad Boy), "Fans' Choice Award" and by surprise taking home the "Rising Star of the Year" award.[8] This brought the attention of the President of BET, Stephen Hill, who became Chante's mentor and putting the video for "Bad Boy" into heavy rotation. In that same month, she sang the national anthem at the Canadian Football League's Grey Cup championship game.[9] She was also selected to represent Canada at Expo 2005 held in Japan. In July 2005, Chanté went on a cross-Canada tour and later opened up for Destiny's Child during the Canadian leg of their Destiny Fulfilled ... And Lovin' It tour, and is also included on the Destiny's Child Live In Atlanta Tour DVD. In October 2005, Chanté received four nominations at the Urban Music Awards.[10] In 2006, Chanté toured with Teen People Magazine and Seventeen Magazine across select cities in the U.S. In July 2006, Chante released her new single "Been Gone" with a video shot by Director X (marking her third collaboration with him). Her second single, "2U" was released in early November. Also in 2006, Chanté made a featured cameo appearance in Bow Wow and Chris Brown's music video "Shortie Like Mine". Her second album, which Chanté executive produced[11] was released on December 5, 2006 in Canada and Japan through SonyMusic Canada. MTV's "The Diary of Keshia Chante" aired in Canada December 6, 2006, showing footage following Chante as she travelled to Miami and LA working on her album.[12] In 2007, during her last year of high school, Chante took a departure from music to study to learn more about the music business and be mentored by respected entertainment lawyers in LA and Toronto. She later made the decision to move to Atlanta and West Hollywood, where she worked closely the camps of Ne-Yo, Missy Elliott and OutKast. She began honing her skill as a songwriter and her acting chops, starring as the lead actress in the TV series "Soul".[13][14] In 2010, Chanté released her third album "Night & Day" in Canada through Universal Music Canada. Chanté released "Table Dancer" and "Test Drive" which were both nominated for Juno Awards; R&B Recording of the Year for "Test Drive" and Dance Recording of the Year for "Table Dancer".[15] Both songs entered Top 10 at radio. On February 14, 2011, Chanté released the Taio Cruz penned song "Set U Free". On December 31, 2011, Chanté performed on ET Canada's New Year's Eve Bash in Niagara Falls, which later set a record becoming Canada's #1 Year End Countdown Show with 4.8 million viewers.[16] In April 2012, Chanté was announced as the new music judge for a music competition show on YTV called The Next Star. On the week of November 28, 2012, Chante's first single release "Table Dancer" went #1 on the Billboard Charts in Japan and #6[17] on Hot 100, #3[18] on Digital & Airplay & #11[19] on regular charts[18] Chanté guest starred & judged on TV shows Top Chef Canada and Canada's Best Beauty Talent with supermodel Coco Rocha & Flare Magazine's Editor-in-Chief Lisa Tant[20]

2013–2015: BET's 106 and Park[edit]

On June 14, 2012, Chanté made her US television debut on BET's 106 & Park as a co-host on two separate occasions co-hosting with Terrence J.[21] On June 30, 2013, Chanté attended the 2013 BET Awards as a correspondent for the event & began co-hosting select episodes of 106 & Park. On September 26, 2013, BET President Stephen Hill announced on the Rickey Smiley Morning Show that Chante will be a new co host for 106 & Park alongside rapper Bow Wow starting on October 1. Childhood friend and fellow Canadian Drake publicly announced and congratulated Chante for becoming the first ever Canadian to host the iconic show. Chante went on to make history having the First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama on the show, as well as filming with the likes of Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez, Mark Wahlberg, Sylvester Stallone, Denzel Washington, Jessica Alba, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Robert De Niro, Will Ferrell, Eminem, The Rock, Floyd Mayweather, Forest Whitaker, 50 Cent, Kerry Washington, Tyra Banks, Naomi Campbell, Kevin Hart, Melissa McCarthy, Emma Stone, Joe Manganiello, and many more.

On December 18, 2013, Chante was invited by United States President Barack Obama & the first lady Michelle Obama to their White House holiday party in DC. In December 2014, received a star on the Brampton Arts Walk of Fame.[2] In January 2015, after two years hosting 106 & Park, the show announced it was going digital. In June 2014, 2015 and 2016, Chante hosted the BET Awards 106 & Park Pre-Show in LA.

2016–present: New music[edit]

In 2016, Chante announced she was a "free-agent" and would be releasing her new music independently. On November 11, 2016, BET premiered Chante's song "The Valley" off her upcoming album.[22] On January 11, 2017, Radio Host Ebro Darden debuted Chante's single "F**k It Tho" on his Beats 1 radio show on Apple Music.

On March 22, Ebro Darden announced Keshia Chante's track listing for Unbound 01 and premiered "Bryson Tiller" exclusively with Apple Music on the Beats 1 radio show.[23] On March 23, Noisey premiered "RedLight", citing the track as "the sonic equivalent of a cool, still night: beautiful but there is something eerie in its midst, hidden in the dark"[24] and AUX TV premiered "Harmless" citing that Chanté is "re-igniting her signature R&B sound" and that "Chanté’s soaring vocals lend the track a distinctly modern edge".[25] On March 24, 2017 Chanté released Unbound 01, an EP and in February 2018 it was nominated for a Juno Award for Best R&B Recording.[26] Unbound 02 was released March 23, 2018.


Musical style[edit]

Tara Henley of The Georgia Straight noted that Chante had "an arresting voice, magnetic charisma, and driving ambition."[27] Denise Sheppard from also noted, "[Chanté is] a teen-targeted pop phenom" whose "music has the one-two punch of melodic hooks and the voice to back them up; a combination that can and will appeal to dance/pop music fans of any age.[28]


Chante cited Beyoncé, Aaliyah and Brandy as her childhood influences, as well as Tupac Shakur, with whom she shares the same birth date.[29]

Public image[edit]

Chante has been cited for having an eerily striking resemblance to late-singer Aaliyah, often cited as her doppelganger. Chante was set to play Aaliyah in the biopic but declined after saying Aaliyah's mother was against the film being made.[30]

In Canada, Chanté is considered a Fashionista by fashion's high rankings[31] performing at Marchesa's first runway show in Toronto, as well as Chanel event for Toronto International Film Festival. Her style has been described as "glamorous" meets "sexy elegance" by Holt Renfrew executives.[31] Chante is an avid supporter of Canadian Fashion Designers and labels. Flare Magazine has named her a "true style chameleon"[32] January 2012, Fashion Television labeled Keshia a Fashion Icon[33] In 2012, Chante served as a Judge on Canada's Best Beauty Talent with Coco Rocha and Editor-in-Chief of FLARE Magazine Lisa Tant.[34]

Other ventures[edit]


Chante worked with Alicia Keys to throw a fundraising concert for the Stephen Lewis Foundation[35][36] She has visited Dominican Republic to work with World Vision.[37] and Kenya, Africa with CANFAR, serving as their Youth Ambassador for two years. In 2014, Chante starred in NBC's PSA for Mariska Hargitay's Joyful Heart foundation alongside Eli Manning, Hilary Swank and more.


Chante has been endorsed by brands such as Pepsi, Smarties, Bell, Rogers, Stila Cosmetics, MAC Cosmetics, Ecko Red and Sony. In November 2010, Chante became the face of Pepsi and their Pepsi Refresh Project campaign. Chante is the face of Ontario Tourism and sings the theme song in their commercials.[38][39]

Personal life[edit]

Chanté grew up in Toronto with rapper Drake and was his first girlfriend.[40] They dated during their teen years, have collaborated and remain good friends. Drake has cited Chanté as his "muse" and has written multiple songs about Chanté, including "Nice For What", "In My Feelings", "Madonna" and is heard discussing their relationship in the remix of Chante's song titled "Fallen", rapping "Keshia, Keshia, do you remember the old us?/ You just hold it down for your boy until the plaques arrive that's why I love you". Drake also speaks of Chanté in the second verse of his song "Deceiving" referencing Chante's mom "Tessa", Drake rhymes; "What up Tessa, I love you like my own mama / And your daughter's getting grown, mama / And me, I'm just here working, waiting / patient for her to be ready to love and leave alone drama."[41][42]

In 2009, Drake was asked by MuchMusic's VJ Sarah Taylor on his past relationship with Chanté when they were 16 years old. Drake said he would be "proud to call [Chanté] an ex-girlfriend".

On October 1, 2013, Drake told Chanté on an episode of 106 & Park, “You were one of my first crushes, and a lot of people might not know this, but I actually rapped about you before.” He later was a part of a commercial announce Chanté as the new official host of 106 & Park.[43]

In April 2017, Chanté shared a photo having attended Drake's concert in Amsterdam. On January 1, 2018 media outlets reported Chanté & Drake were together for New Year's Eve in LA.

In June 2010, Chanté began dating NHL netminder Ray Emery,[44] announcing their relationship when Emery starred as the love interest in Chanté's Test Drive music video. On June 16, 2016, Emery proposed to Chanté on her birthday with friends in Nassau, Bahamas. Emery and Chanté were set to wed June 2017, however, simultaneously with the release of her cover on Today's Bride, Chanté announced via her Instagram that she called off the wedding.[45] On September 18, 2017, TMZ reported Emery was arrested for uttering threats and assault with a weapon towards Chanté, after she went to police seeking a restraining order. Chante required Emery to attend anger management in exchange for charges being absolved, in which Emery agreed and successfully completed.[46] On July 16, Chante penned an emotional tribute[47] to Emery stating that she was "heartbroken" and that he was "a Superhero" who was "loving, affectionate, intelligent, hilarious, giving".[48] She also stated that they "may have had differences" but they "forgave each other and continued to love each other right to the very end."[46]

On December 18, 2013, Chanté was invited by United States President Barack Obama and the first lady Michelle Obama to their White House holiday party in DC.

Chanté is bicoastal residing in West Hollywood, California and her hometown of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Awards and nominations[edit]


  • Canadian Urban Music Award for Best R&B/Soul Single for "Shook (The Answer)" – Won
  • Canadian Radio Music Award for "Best New Solo Artist" (Dance Urban Rhythmic) – Won [49]
  • Canadian Radio Music Award for "Best New Solo Artist" (CHR) – Won[49]-


  • Canadian Urban Music Award for Best New Artist – Won
  • Canadian Urban Music Award for Video Of The Year for "Bad Boy" – Won
  • Canadian Urban Music Award for Fans Choice – Won
  • Rising Star Award for Rising Star of the Year – Won
  • MuchMusic Video Award for "Best R&B Video" for "Does He Love Me?" – Won


  • Juno Award for "R&B/Soul Recording Of The Year" – Won[50]
  • Juno Award for "New Artist of the Year" – Nominee[51]
  • Canadian Urban Music Award for "Video Of The Year" for "Does He Love Me?" – Won
  • MuchMusic Video Award for "People's Choice: Favorite Canadian Artist" – Won
  • MuchMusic Video Award for "Best Pop Video" for "Does He Love Me?" – Won


  • Juno Award for "R&B/SOUL Recording Of The Year" for "Been Gone" – Nominee[52]


  • Juno Award for "R&B/SOUL Recording Of The Year" for "2U" – Nominee[53]


  • Juno Award for "Dance Recording Of The Year" for "Table Dancer" – Nominee[54]
  • Juno Award for "R&B/SOUL Recording Of The Year" for "Test Drive" – Nominee[55]


Juno Award for "R&B/SOUL Recording Of The Year" for "Unbound 01" (EP) – Nominee[56]


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