Toronto Musician Chèlle Creates Platform To Showcase & Amplify Female Artists From The GTA

By Chèlle

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Michelle Cavaleri, but a lot of people know me as Chèlle. I’m a singer- songwriter from Toronto, Ontario and I have been performing since I was 14 years old. Growing up, I loved listening to Avril Lavigne (a fellow Canadian!) and I wanted to be just like her. I saw that she wrote her own music, and played her own instruments, and so I decided to do the same.

As a young girl my mom would drive me around to a bunch of different open mic nights and local singing competitions… I would do anything to get on stage and perform! I ended up attending a performing arts high school, travelled to Nashville to record my first singles, appeared in a feature film, and received my BFA at York University, specializing in Jazz voice. From 2017-2019 I was signed to an independent label, where I released 4 singles.

Although I enjoyed my time with the label and met so many amazing people, I felt like I wasn’t growing as an artist. When I left in 2020, I decided to change my stage name from Michelle to Chèlle for a fresh start. Fast forward to today, I’ve released countless singles, performed at multiple stages across the city and released my first music video for my single “Think of Me” this past month.

A big part of being an independent artist is doing a lot of the not-so-fun work. This includes drafting up contracts, applying for grants, and submitting music to blogs and playlists. While I was searching for playlists to submit my music to, I recognized that the Toronto dedicated playlists on Spotify are heavily male-dominated. I found this shocking and extremely unfair. So, that’s why I decided to start “Women of Toronto”, a Spotify playlist dedicated to female musicians from the GTA. Little did I know back then where this little playlist would take me.

Soon after starting the playlist, it began to blow up. I began the playlist by adding artists that I was inspired by, and people whom I knew from the Toronto music community. At this time, I saw the playlist as something I wanted to do for fun. However, I started receiving messages form artists from so many different genres of music to be featured in the playlist and my network was quickly expanding. I couldn’t believe it.

I decided to create an Instagram account, @thewomenoftoronto, for the playlist to keep everything in one place, and this small community of female musicians grew to over 300 followers. I updated the playlist on a bi-weekly basis, taking submissions over Instagram DMs from artists that would reach out directly to me.

Chèlle (R) at a recent Women of Toronto show.

It wasn’t until this year that I put on our very first Women of Toronto showcase. I wanted to do this because when I saw how well the playlist was doing, I started having bigger visions for Women of Toronto. The wheels in my brain started turning and I thought the best way to start expanding Women of Toronto was to put on a show that gave artists the opportunity to perform and network with others.

With the help of an amazing team of volunteers, we successfully put on the show at the Rivoli on October 6th and featured 4 amazingly talented female artists. At the end of the night, we opened up the stage for an open mic. This was a great way to get the attendees involved in the night as well. It was an incredible turn out and a huge success!

I am so happy to have been given this opportunity to create a stage for female artists in this city. Experiencing it firsthand as an artist myself, it could feel incredibly overwhelming to find opportunities in an industry that is heavily saturated by men. I want to see more females working in this industry to diversify our community and to have artists like me feel less intimidated and more excited. That way, the artist can focus on the music, and that’s it!

My goal with the Women of Toronto is to create a space in which women can come and feel safe, accepted, and confident in achieving their goals. I hope to continue growing the Women of Toronto and create different spaces to help develop up- and- coming artists from the city, including more showcases, networking events, seminars, and workshops!

Our next showcase will be on February 24 at Supermarket, and we are so excited to see where this incredible journey will take us in the future! Artists can also submit their music at any time to our playlist, by sending us a direct message on our Instagram page.

Chèlle is a Pop singer-songwriter from Toronto, Ontario. At the tender age of 14, Chèlle began her music career and has since traveled to Nashville for her songwriting, appeared on a feature film, and released countless singles. Infused with inspiration from pop, disco and R&B, Chèlle’s unique sound, as well as performance style with her 5-piece band, attracts a wide range of age groups, with people from all walks of life. Chèlle’s newest single, “Think of Me” dropped on October 28th released her accompanying music video on December 1st, 2022. You can follow Chèlle on Instagram, Spotify and Youtube.

Comments are closed.