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Posted on Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 5:53 a.m.

Introverted Michelle Chamuel steps out of her shell on 'The Voice'

By Roger LeLievre

Many Ann Arborites, myself included, have been watching former local Michelle Chamuel wow the judges and the public recently on the TV music competition show “The Voice.” Every time she knocks their socks off, I’m thrilled anew and, truth be told, more than a little proud of her.

For the uninitiated, East Coast native Chamuel was vocalist for the much-loved Ann Arbor band My Dear Disco—later Ella Riot—between roughly 2007-2011.

As music writer for The Ann Arbor News and now,, I had the pleasure of interviewing Chamuel and her bandmates often, the last time being in late 2011, when she and long-time musical pal Tyler Duncan were forming the duo s/he.

In interviews, the bookish-looking Chamuel, with her large glasses and long hair hiding her face, was always the quiet one, hard to draw out of her shell. The naturally gregarious Duncan usually took the lead. But in concert—at the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, at the Blind Pig, or at the Michigan League Ballroom—it was sometimes hard to believe that the same singer belting out rave-ups like “White Lies” was the same seemingly introverted person I had just sat down with for coffee at Sweetwaters.

She’s still the quiet one, although on “The Voice” she seems to be pushing herself to be more outspoken. Recently she told the Web publication just what comes over her when she steps on stage and starts to let loose.

“For me, I'm not really that shy,” she said. “Being an introvert is more about where I draw my energy and creativity from - which is by spending time with myself. It can be overwhelming to connect with everyone in a large group, so I can come off as shy or a straggler. But when I'm on stage, I'm trying to communicate with that one part that connects all of us. Being an intimate, one-on-one conversation makes it so there's no need to be overwhelmed (or shy) in that setting.”

If audience response in-studio and from callers across the country is anything to go by, they love how Chamuel owns the stage every time she steps up to the mic, be it for a ballad like “True Colors” or a rocker like “I Kissed A Girl.”

The good news is, whether Chamuel ultimately wins or not, the acclaim she’s gotten via “The Voice” clearly shows there’s an audience for her sound, and that the music industry (at least as represented by the show’s judges) likes her. She’s not going anyplace but up.

And that’s good news for us introverts everywhere.

"The Voice" airs on NBC at 8 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays.


Jenn McKee

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 2:49 p.m.

Great insights, Roger! Local music guru Matt Altruda - who worked as a promoter for My Dear Disco/Ella Riot - recently told me that Michelle used to want to perform on stage while nearly hidden by a hoodie and sunglasses. (I see she wore the latter in the "White Lies" video above.) So great to see her getting more and more confident with every performance on "The Voice." She's becoming less of a "dark horse" every week!


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 2:32 p.m.

I saw My Dear Disco perform at Top of the Park a few years ago and they were utterly fantastic! I don't watch The Voice, but I sure do appreciate the updates on Chamuel's progress and have clicked on the videos of her performances. An amazing talent...hope she takes it all the way!


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 1:58 p.m.

She is a very nice person and a wonderful singer. I wish her only the best. May she beat the Beatles in record sales during her lifetime.

Linda Peck

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 1:20 p.m.

She has a lovely sweet voice.

Geoff Larcom

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 1:19 p.m.

A neat piece that captures an apparent and delicious contrast: this singer's dual nature, seen off stage vs. on stage. She captures it well in this quote: "For me, I'm not really that shy. Being an introvert is more about where I draw my energy and creativity from ... when I'm on stage, I'm trying to communicate with that one part that connects all of us."

Geoff Larcom

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 2:31 p.m.

Well said, DF.

Dr. Fate

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 2:05 p.m.

It's not so much of a contrast if you're an introvert though. Interacting with more than one person at a time just scrambles and scratches an introvert's brain. We like to keep it direct, personal, trying to read one person while being perceptive as to how they read us. More than one person is just a lot of static and a headache. Being on stage is different. You're not interacting or being distracted by multiple people. You're doing your one thing and they're giving their appreciation. It can be addictive in a good way especially for an introvert who doesn't usually experience such a crowdsourced thrill.

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 12:43 p.m.

I'm not a watcher of the show but i wish her the best of luck.