Michel'le Denise Toussant (//; born December 5, 1970), known mononymously as Michel'le, is an American R&B singer and songwriter. She is best known for her songs from the late 1980s to early 1990s. Her most notable songs were two Billboard R&B chart toppers "No More Lies" (a top 10 hit on the Hot 100) and "Something in My Heart". Her signature high-pitched speaking voice is a stunning contrast to her strong and soulful singing vocals. Between 2013 and 2015, Michel'le was one of six members on the TV One reality show R&B Divas: Los Angeles.
Michel'le performing in 2015
|Birth name||Michel'le Denise Toussant|
|Born||December 5, 1970|
Los Angeles, California, United States
Michel'le was originally a featured female vocalist on World Class Wreckin' Cru's 1987 single "Turn Off the Lights". She was called at the last minute to record vocals for Mona Lisa, who could not make it to the studio. Michel'le was signed to Eazy-E's Ruthless Records. In 1989, she released her self-titled debut album, produced entirely by then-boyfriend Dr. Dre. The album contained "No More Lies" and the hit singles "Nicety" and "Something in My Heart". Michel'le was certified Gold on April 25, 1990 with 1.3 million copies sold overall to date. During the Suge Knight shakedown incident, Jerry Heller was forced to sign over Dr. Dre, The D.O.C. and Michel'le. She scored a nomination for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group at the 33rd Grammy Awards for her part in the single cut "We're All in the Same Gang" (credited as the West Coast All-Stars) which also included Ice-T, MC Hammer, Young MC, JJ Fad as well as NWA members Dr. Dre, MC Ren and Eazy E.
In 1998, she released her second album, Hung Jury, on Death Row Records but it garnered little attention and no hit singles. As of 2013, worldwide sales for the album stood at 171,000 copies. Michel'le also provided vocals on 2Pac's song "Run tha Streets" on his album All Eyez on Me, and Tha Dogg Pound's song "Let's Play House" on their debut Dogg Food. Following Dr. Dre's departure from Death Row Records, Michel'le and Dr. Dre parted ways.
Michel'le contributed to the soundtrack Dysfunktional in 2003. She has since confirmed through several media outlets that she's been working on new material and looking for a label for her third album. A trailer video for Michel'le's single "Freedom To Love" can be seen on YouTube. She has new singles, titled "It Still Hurts" and "Nothing".
Her character was left out of the 2015 film Straight Outta Compton, even though she played a role in N.W.A. She was included in a notorious N.W.A diss track on Ice Cube's 1991 double platinum effort, Death Certificate, in a reference to a video the group made with the female singer. This omission gave her the opportunity to tell her story. On October 15, 2016, Lifetime aired a biopic about Michel'le's life called Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge & Michel'le. She was portrayed by Rhyon Nicole Brown. It tells the story of her abusive relationship with Dr. Dre and Suge Knight, her experiences with Ruthless Records, and the journey she went through to find herself. Her intentions with the biopic is to help encourage other victims of domestic violence.
Michel'le was engaged to Dr. Dre; they have a son, Marcel (born 1991). When Michel'le began dating Dr. Dre he had just had a baby and had another one on the way. Marcel was her first and his fifth child. After their son was born their relationship became more strained due to Dr. Dre's drinking, infidelity and abuse. She has gone on record stating that Dr. Dre was physically abusive throughout their relationship, with injuries including a broken nose (which she had to have surgically corrected), a cracked rib and five black eyes. Michel'le recalled on The Breakfast Club that, after the first time he hit her, they cried together in bed, and he said, "I'm really sorry," but the abuse continued despite his apology. After one argument Dr. Dre shot at Michel'le, missing her by inches. She left the bullet in the door for him to see and stated that "he never tried to shoot me anymore. Thank God. But the beatings were — it was a lot… His last wife, I just couldn't do it anymore. It's too much." Things got so bad that she began to self medicate with prescription pills and alcohol. Michel'le left Dr. Dre after she discovered he was engaged to another woman.
At Michel'le's lowest point with Dr. Dre, Death Row Records CEO/co-founder Suge Knight stepped in to help get her clean by sending her to rehab. In 1999, Michel'le married Suge while he was in prison. She filed for divorce six years later. Michel'le claims to have discovered that her marriage to Suge was invalid through the divorce process because he was still married to his ex-wife Sharitha. Michel'le stated Suge hit her once, dislocating her jaw. They have a daughter, Bailei, who was born in 2002. In 2009, Michel'le went to court over unpaid spousal and child support from Suge.
In 2015, Michel'le revealed that she attempted suicide two years prior. She had reached a breaking point because Suge was controlling her life. Michel'le claimed that he was the reason why she didn't sing for seven years. She said, "Looking back I didn't even know I was depressed, I was just so used to feeling that way and thought that was what life was. I tried telling my family and friends but they just blow you off and say: 'Yeah right' they don’t know what it is, so they just don't want to be around that."
In 2015, after Dre was criticized for omitting his past of abusing women in the film Straight Outta Compton, he issued a statement to The New York Times apologizing to the women he has hurt. Michel'le did not think the apology was genuine and said she believed he released the statement to protect his brand. "He apologized to the public. I don't think that was an apology to me, because if it was, he would've either called me without the public and said 'Michel'le, I am so sorry for what I did to you 20-something years ago,' that's an apology," she said.
|Year||Album||Peak chart positions||Certifications|
|Title||Year||Peak chart positions||Certifications||Album|
|"No More Lies"||1989||7||2||153||27||78||
|"Something in My Heart"||31||2||—||—||—|
|"Hang Tyme"||1998||—||66||—||—||—||Hung Jury|
|"Can I Get a Witness?"||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Freedom to Love"||2011||—||—||—||—||—||Non-album single|
|"It Still Hurts"||2014||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Being in Love"||2015||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Moonlight"||2016||—||—||—||—||—||Surviving Compton - OST|
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