The Local 913: Brittney Chantele
Brittney Chantele is rarely seen without her signature bandana, but she also wears a lot of hats. Her day job finds her managing building projects around the city while her passion for art drives whatever time she’s not in the office. She’s made a name for herself in Pittsburgh over the last few years with her poignant hip-hop songs rooted in social activism, however, her new album, A Fire On Venus, finds her embracing the poppier side of her art. "I’m still growing and I’m still learning and I’m un-learning still," she says, "The need or want to be shifted into these genre boxes is slowly disintegrating for me. I’m more so just like, ‘I’m and artist and I make the music that comes to me.’"
While A Fire On Venus is essentially an album about love, Chantele’s activist roots end up showing in the music. "There’s all these love songs that I feel like a lot of queer people can listen to and they can change out the pronouns and have the song relate to them, but how nice is it for you to not have to change the pronouns out and for it to be relatable," she asks. Chantele’s songs are very relatable, no matter who you’re dating. Frustration just comes with the territory. "I had every dating app downloaded," she says, "It was a time in my life where I was like, ‘I’m ready for this committed relationship and it feels like no one else is ready or no one else wants that and I was like, please can somebody love me? I want to love you back and I want to be committed also.’"
For an artist who came up mostly writing songs about other people’s feelings, writing about her own struggles came with a strong feeling of liberation and strength. "A Fire On Venus is really about me advocating for what I believe I deserve in a relationship and what I want and it’s also kind of calling out the hypocrisy and the inconsistencies of my past partners," says Chantele, "It’s definitely the most personal, the most vulnerable I’ve ever been in my work." Don’t expect much drama to unfold at her shows, though. "I’d like to think I’m in a pretty good note with the majority of my exes," she says, "And the ones that I’m not, they probably don’t know the song that’s about them!"
Photo by Dylan Rosgone