Born Chantelle Vanessa Ernandez in Kingston, Jamaica, this songbird grew up mastering the full range of the performing arts: singing, dancing and acting, both in school and on church choirs. She began playing the piano at age 9, and is now an accomplished level six classical pianist. During her first year at Covent of Mercy Alpha Academy, she along with four other classmates formed a gospel group. This trend continued at Holy Childhood High School for girls, where she spent the rest of her high school years. In her third year, not only was she the lead singer for the choir, but she was also the main lead singer and also the lead singer of a then popular school-song group called “Essence”.
1999 was the turning point in Chantelle’s professional career. In March of that year the group began cutting demos at the Grafton Music Complex owned by renowned Jamaican music producer Mickey Bennett; however the group separated a few months after, but this did not break her spirit. In the summer of 1999 she met and began recording for Gumption Productions owned by the leading members of Jamaica’s International Reggae Band “Gumption” and while working with them, met Michael Fletcher (independent producer and band leader for International Reggae Idol “Shaggy”). At the tender age of 16, she recorded her first solo “Something Inside My Heart” for Mr. Fletcher. Since then she’s sung harmonies for a wide range of known Jamaican Reggae acts. Her work includes Gregory Isaac’s 2004 album, Mickey Dread’s 2006 album and she also recorded harmonies, toured and performed with the likes of Ernie Smith, Prezident Brown, Max Romeo, Norris Man, Jah Mason, Mr. Vegas, Fantan Mojah, Perfect, Lutan Fyah, Anthony Cruz, Chuck Fenda, Natty King, Lymie Murray, Chrisinti, Lenn Hammond and Courtney John (formerly “Yogie”), just to name a few. Chantelle recently toured North and South America with the internationally known “Wailers” (formerly Bob Marley and The Wailers) and left the band to focus on her own career.
After much growth and maturity in the business, She is concentrating her energies on her solo material. So far she has five songs that has been on the Jamaican airwaves: ‘Baila’, title track for the Baila Riddim (also being played in Panama); ‘Tell Me Why’, duet with Bunny Rugs of International Reggae Band Third World (a Sly & Robbie production); ‘Spend More Time’ ,duet with veteran Jamaican DJ Daddy Lizard; ‘Break Up To Make Up’, duet with Anthony Q and most recently ‘Dreaming’, duet with veteran Reggae Singer Tristan Palmer. Chantelle’s single “Why Can’t We” which has been ripping up airwaves in London, Gambia and Ghana was produced by Toots Hibbert of Toots and The Maytals, whom she met in October 2006 through Nigel Burrell and Henry Lewis of Anchor Recording Studio. Other singles on air in those countries include, “All I Need” and her most recent, “With Open Arms”, produced by International Reggae Superstar Max Romeo and Jallanzo. In the latter part of 2008, Chantelle joined forces with friends Stephanie Wallace (Singer), Kibaki (DJ) and Scantana (Rapper), under the guidance of Iconic Reggae Legends Sly and Robbie with Kaz Asonuma (Taxi Records) and Sony Music Japan to record the album JParadise, which was released in Japan March 18, 2008; the European and U.S release dates are set for Summer 2009. The quartet, now known as UNITZz is currently number one (1) on the Reggae Charts in Japan and recently crossed over to the Pop charts as well. So far critics have compared them to the Black Eyed Peas; stating that they’re the “Black Eyed Peas of Reggae” is a strong commentary on their versatility and individuality as artistes. They each have individual careers which they continue to foster.
While Chantelle plays a vital role in UNITZz, she is a power house all her own and continues to exhibit her International flavour in her recordings and live performances. Exceptionally talented with a vocal range comparable to that of Mary J. Blige, this artist is definitely geared towards stardom and lives by her personal motto “The sky is NO LIMIT!!!”