“She looks sweet... but I think she could kill you.”
— Sammy Horner (The Sweet Sorrows)
While her peers were dreaming of the Backstreet Boys, young Chantelle was swooning to Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra.
Her aesthetic can be traced to the 1963 brightly-colored animated film "Gay Purr-ee" featuring the voices of Judy Garland and Robert Goulet as singing cats in Paris. Yes, singing cats in Paris. Chantelle frequently watched classic MGM musicals at her grandparents' house and also learned old country standards such as "The Wabash Cannonball" and "Your Cheatin' Heart" at her grandfather's knee (though country music would not be her genre of choice, it kindled a flame for old Americana and folk music).
At age five, Chantelle began studying piano, and at age ten joined a local youth choir, starting private voice lessons soon after. Chantelle has been a devoted chorister since that inaugural experience, most notably singing with the Flint Hills Masterworks Chorale from age 16 and touring Europe with them as a featured soloist in 2009. After graduating high-school Chantelle took a few gap years for travel, including visiting New York for the 3-month long Leonard Bernstein Festival in 2008, then enrolled at Kansas State University to study classical voice. As part of an opera scenes workshop, she performed at the National Opera Association's annual convention in Atlanta in 2010.
In 2011, as lead singer and keyboard player, Chantelle joined the four-piece prog rock band Lithus, which later reformed as three-piece synth rock group Echopod, who released an EP titled "Artifacts" in 2015. With the drummer, Justin Trowbridge, she formed "plainsbilly sophisticate" folk duo (fka) Hotel Gypsies. With these groups Chantelle has played across the state of Kansas, from the metros of Kansas City and Wichita to tiny burgs such as Lyons and Blue Rapids.
After making her stage debut in West Side Story in 2010, Chantelle's musical theatre career peaked when she landed the lead role of Fanny Brice in Funny Girl in 2012. Other notable roles include Pitti-Sing in The Mikado and Toby in Sweeney Todd. Through 2018, Chantelle has also been a member of the pit orchestra for several shows, including The Rocky Horror Show and Jekyll & Hyde among many others.
These multiple facets -- folk, rock, classic Hollywood, musical theatre, and opera -- form the basis of Chantelle's music today. While her classical training stands her in good technique, and she writes original music within the classical crossover genre, Chantelle's primary work is with vintage parlour songs and folk music. She released her first album, a Christmas EP, at age 17, and her most recent EP is "Songs from 1916," part of a series of 100-year-old music. When writing her own songs, Chantelle is inspired by the theatrical and the macabre, leaning on influences such as Sarah Slean and Jill Tracy.
In 2019, at (almost) 30 years old, Chantelle is working on an album of American folk music, romantic art songs, and original compositions / arrangements by pianist Stacy Fahrion, known professionally as "Whimsically Macabre." The songs are united by a common thread of darkness and mysticism: death, the afterlife, murder, and fairyland. Titled "Solemn Delight," the album will be released song-by-song on Bandcamp.com. Pre-orders will be available soon.
About My Music
My inner muse is a librarian. Right now, I'm surrounded by books on... ancient civilizations, paganism, English gardens, the French Revolution, the music industry, coding, linguistics, neuroscience, and so much more...
I have always had a dream of writing music that sounded like Jane Eyre, or Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca. Not as in a film score, but music that actually belonged in the book. Dark, eerie, brooding, soaring violin and moody piano.
Musically, I draw my inspiration from modern girl-rock songwriters like Jennifer Knapp and Fiona Apple, songstresses like Sarah Slean and Charlotte Church, and my love of classical and theatre music. Imagine the gloom of Lana Del Rey meets the melodicism of Tori Amos - with a dash of gothic chanteuse Jill Tracy.
I am always writing new songs, and I confess I bounce around between genres sometimes. (I love the electro-swing stylings of Caro Emerald, and have a set of neo-burlesque songs in the pipeline.) So keep your ears open -- for new music and for that rustling just behind you...
2013 interview with ClassicalCrossoverMagazine.us
“As Fanny [Brice], Chantelle Constable is unsinkably, unstoppably splendid... Every line, every move, every note, she’s there lighting it up. ”
— The Manhattan Mercury (2012)