Toronto born singer-songwriter Chèlle’s new single, ‘Hallucinating You,’ is delightfully, unashamedly disco-inspired, and still manages to be unique. Chèlle and her producer Jonathan Karkar were influenced by Whitney Houston’s ‘Wanna Dance with Somebody’, and while that influence is apparent, what’s also obvious is that she has her own story to tell and talent to showcase.
The main focus, as with a Whitney Houston track, is the vocal line, with the production serving as support. Chèlle’s voice is a powerful and balanced mezzo-soprano with a wide range in both pitch and style. In one stanza, she will perform in the typical, breathy style of a pop vocalist, but with the chops to justify it, and then belt out the refrain of “hallucinating you.” Her tessitura may be lower, but her head voice remains phenomenally well-controlled, and her use of it, especially in some repetitions of the chorus, serves as a perfect ornamentation. Even the backing vocals become an instrument all their own, like percussion keeping time.
With respect to the instrumentation, the production is intense – phenomenally bright and nearly overwhelming without being actually overdone, channeling the lyrics and spirit of the song, a story of all-consuming love. Still, it manages to take a backseat, serving as a foundation and pushing Chèlle’s vocals to the forefront, a conscientious union between production and vocals, which makes even more sense when you find out that Chèlle and Karkar wrote the piece together.
The song’s production makes good use of levels, challenging and surprising you at every turn: the chorus is powerful, thanks to Chèlle’s voice, and the verses spare and soft with minimal production. Meanwhile, inexplicably, the bridge is a call-and-response section, channeling a live music experience and involving even the solo listener in the experience of creation. Coupled with the intense catchiness and genuine competence of the rest of the track, this is something you genuinely want to dance to. Preferably while wearing denim and neon.
‘Hallucinating You’ is out now – available to Stream/Purchase here.