Michele grew up in Patchogue, located in the Long Island area of New York and led gospel choirs in high school. She attended Five Towns College in Dix Hills, New York, and graduated with a vocal performance degree.
Michele's debut album, I Am, was released in June 2007 on Motown Records. The album's lead single "If I Have My Way" charted at number twenty-four on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. In December 2007, "Be OK" was released as the third single, garnering Michele a Grammy Award for Best Urban/Alternative Performance in 2009.
A singer, songwriter and actress, Michele guest starred as herself in The CW's Girlfriends in 2008. She also wrote a song for Tyler Perry's House of Payne titled "I've Gotta Love Jones". That year, Michele embarked on a nationwide co-headlining tour with fellow soul singer Raheem DeVaughn called the Art of Love Tour; Solange Knowles served as the opening act.
Following the tour, Michele began recording for her second album, Epiphany. The album’s title track was released as the lead single and marked Michele's first solo entry to the Billboard Hot 100. Released in May 2009, the album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 83,000 copies in its opening week.
After the release of Epiphany, Michele started working on her third studio album, Let Freedom Reign. The album features Michele performing hip-hop, R&B, as well as the dance-pop influenced "So Cool". In November 2010, her first mixtape Love Thy Brother was released, followed by her second mixtape titled Audrey Hepburn: An Audiovisual Presentation, released in 2012.
In 2013, Michele released her fourth album Better, which featured collaborations with rappers such as 2 Chainz and Wale. The album spawned two charting singles, "Charades," followed by the second single "A Couple of Forevers" and debuted at number 12 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart. Better was nominated at the 2014 Grammy Awards for Best R&B Album.
In 2014, Chrisette Michelle joined the cast of R&B Divas LA for its second season, but ultimately decided to leave the show to focus solely on her music. She began recording again, collaborating with Blickie Blaze, from Four Kings Productions, and releasing The Lyricist's Opus for digital download.
Michele will release her fifth studio album Out of Control via her label Rich Hipster in April 2018.