Michel'le Denise Toussaint (//; born December 5, 1970), known mononymously as Michel'le, is an American R&B singer-songwriter rapper. 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". Between 2013 and 2015, Michel'le was one of six members on the TV One reality show R&B Divas: Los Angeles. In 2016, she was the subject of the biopic Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge & Michel'le.
Michel'le performing in 2015
|Birth name||Michel'le Denise Toussaint|
|Born||December 5, 1970|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Michel'le, a native of South Central Los Angeles, was originally a featured female vocalist of Louisiana Creole descent 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" which peaked at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100, 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. Soon after Dr. Dre's departure from Death Row Records in 1996, Michel'le and Dr. Dre parted ways after he became engaged to another woman.
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. In 2011 and 2014, Michel'le released new singles "Freedom To Love" and "It Still Hurts," though she hasn't released an album since 1998. A trailer video for her single "Freedom To Love" can be seen on YouTube.
Her character was left out of the 2015 film Straight Outta Compton, even though she played a role in N.W.A. Michel'le 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 her life titled 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 and they have a son, Marcel (b. 1991). When they began dating in 1988, Dre had a baby on the way. Marcel was her first child born and his fourth. After their son was born, their relationship became more strained due to Dr. Dre's drinking, infidelity and volatile behavior. Michel'le has stated that Dre was physically abusive throughout their relationship. Her injuries included a broken nose (which she had to have surgically corrected), a cracked rib and five black eyes. She recalled on The Breakfast Club that after the first time he hit her, they cried together in bed and he apologized, but the abuse continued. After one argument Dre shot at Michel'le, missing her by inches. She left the bullet in the door for him to see and said, "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." She then began to self medicate with prescription pills and alcohol. Michel'le left Dre after she discovered that he was engaged to another woman.
At her lowest point with Dre, Death Row Records CEO/co-founder Suge Knight stepped in to help get Michel'le 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 discovered that her marriage to Suge was invalid through the divorce process because he was still married to his ex-wife Sharitha. She stated Suge hit her once, dislocating her jaw. They have a daughter, Bailei (b. 2002). In 2009, Michel'le went to court over unpaid spousal and child support from Suge.
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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