Keshia Chante has many aspirations

"I love the fact that (Jennifer Lopez is) involved in so many different ventures," Ottawa...

"I love the fact that (Jennifer Lopez is) involved in so many different ventures," Ottawa singer Keshia Chante says. "And I'm very much like that, where I'm so interested in so many things. I'm very creative and I'm easily inspired."

-- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:36 AM ET

Ottawa's Keshia Chante isn't your average 18 year old.

The up-and-coming R&B singer, with a sophomore disc, 2U, in stores on Tuesday, appears to have both professional and personal ambition way beyond her years.

"I give J.Lo credit for her business side," said Chante, who has been living in Toronto for the last two-and-a-half years with her mother. (Her parents separated when she was six).

"I love the fact that she's involved in so many different ventures. And I'm very much like that, where I'm so interested in so many things. I'm very creative and I'm easily inspired."

To that end, Chante wants to have a clothing line, her own perfume, an acting career -- her debut will be in an episode of the new CBC TV series, Da Kink In My Hair to be aired next spring -- and even her own label one day.

Believe it or not, the recent high school graduate (from Fletcher's Meadow in Brampton), is a student of life.

"Every single day I'm in my Blackberry typing in the five lessons of the day that I've learned," said Chante, who also wants to write a book. "It's just something that I've been doing just since I was really young. And it can be something really, really simple. And I have to learn something or else there's just no point. I'm very into progression."

First up, hopefully, is an American breakthrough.

Chante, who recently opened for Ciara at the Guvernment, spent the summer touring the U.S. on both the Teen People and Seventeen mall tours to set up the release of 2U, which will come out early next year south of the border.

"In America, there's a lot of work that goes into it," she said. "I'm starting all over again. It's pretty much doing my groundwork. Because it's so much more of a bigger market, everything that I did here, is like triple."

And she's not a bit daunted by it.

"It's very, very exciting," said Chante, who is already an established star in Canada, having won her first Juno award last year for best R&B recording following the release of her 2004 self-titled debut, which spawned five Top 10 singles. In fact, it was the third single, Bad Boy, which garnered the attention of BET in the U.S. and led to labels calling to record and release her second record.

"I feel really blessed that I've had the opportunity to have trial and error in Canada," said Chante, who appears on MuchOnDemand on Monday (5 p.m.) and has an Ottawa show on Thursday. "It's (been) four years of just performing and touring and doing interviews and things like that. I've had the proper training. So it would have been a little strange to have been 13 and thrusted into the spotlight in America."

In the meantime, Chante is excited about her sound on 2U, which she recorded in New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Toronto with various songwriters and producers -- and claims to have no concerns about the so-called sophomore slump.

"For me, the growth has been crazy," she said. "Just the range vocally as an artist, just my artistry has changed. And the way that I listen to music and the way that I respect music has changed, ridiculously so. Where at 14, I just loved to sing, but now, I live to sing."

Chante admits it's unusual that 2U's first single, Been Gone, samples classical music -- Vivaldi's Four Seasons' Winter. But she's come to love it after some initial trepidation.

"When I first heard it, I was like, 'You guys are crazy. I don't want this.' And after awhile of working on it and then finally getting to the studio and recording the song, it's completely different. I didn't realize the song was so challenging to sing. And now I just have a newfound love for classical music."


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