The jazz-influenced vocalist, born Chrisette Michele Payne in , developed her pipes through singing gospel, first performing for a congregation at age four. God and music were clearly instrumental in her upbringing. Her father, who also played the organ, was a deacon, and her mother was the church's choir director. Growing up in Patchogue, New York, a small town on Long Island, the young singer's parents always kept her busy with tap dancing, piano lessons, choir rehearsals, and the like. But at age 17, Payne had an epiphany.
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Michele led gospel choirs in high school. Her grandmother is Jamaican. Michele's debut album, I Am , was released on June 18, In mid, Michele began recording her second album, Epiphany. In January , the album's title track was released as the lead single. Released on May 5, , the album debuted at number 1 on the Billboard , selling 83, copies in its opening week. Originally, "What You Do" was planned to be the second single from the album. The song features Ne-Yo , who worked with Michele on the album. After the release of Epiphany , she started working on her next album. The song was released on October 5,