"Claiborne is nothing if not honest; she certainly isn’t saying nothing, but the gal knows that her melodic and lyrical territories are more than simply well-worn—they’re paved and crowded with the likes of modern soul music updates like Amy Winehouse, not to mention every female writer that has ever referred to herself as “empowered.” But the beauty of Claiborne’s music is found in the presentation and delivery rather than the substance itself, the wrapping paper more interesting than the gift."
~Brendan Fitzgerald, C-Ville Weekly Issue #19.30 :: 07/24/2007 - 07/30/2007
"Spoken word is one of those hard-to-please genres, being a relatively small niche compared to others like rock and pop. It's not often that one has their head turned by performance poetry, as keeping a listener's attention, much less inspiring the general public without something accessible and instant, is a challenge in itself. Enter
Richelle Claiborne. Performing live, this gutsy woman delivers her R-rated poetry with conviction, humor and passion, conversing well with the groovy backup music that enhances the spirit of her work. Addressing current issues and embracing pop-culture, off-the-cuff musings, her poetry, while sometimes borderline-graphic and surprisingly honest, definitely will leave an imprint in your memory."
~ CD Baby
"About Richelle: Richelle Claiborne has been a performer since the age of 4, although she didn’t start writing poetry until the age of 7. She didn’t realize how versatile and flexible poetry could be until she was cast as the Lady in Orange in “For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf”. This experience sparked her love affair with performance poetry that has grown until this day.
As she grew into adulthood, she was unable to pay for the therapy she so desperately needed, so she turned to poetry in an attempt to find a way to express herself clearly and completely. She has been inspired by her own pain as well as the pain of those around her, and uses her poetry to convey not only the darker side of the human emotional gamut, but the funnier and sexier sides as well.
Richelle has written 2 chapbooks, a one-woman show, and is currently working on several other projects which include a musical and self-help book. She can be found regularly at Live Arts Theater, performing with her band Soul Sledge, as well as performing "The Richelle Show" with other musicians at poetry venues around the country."
"Richelle Claiborne is a bad bitch. On top of being a great singer, she is a writer, a poet, an actress and professional make-up artist. Her expliots have taken her all over the United States. They say that there is no substitute for experience, and Richelle has experience in spades. Her spoken-word performance group, aptly named "The Richelle Show", features some of the best musical talent in the state. Her reputation as a powerful vocalist earned her several studio sessions at Crystalphonic Recording Studio, one of the premier recording facilities on the east coast. Magnetic. Soulful. Passionate. These words describe Richelle, not just as an artist, but as a person."
"My first encounter with Richelle Claiborne was at the Live Arts production of The Wiz earlier this year in which Richelle played the role of the Scarecrow. Her mighty natural hair, so elegantly napped up in a wholesome 'fro, added miles to the make-up job. She sang with such soul and passion that it was hard not to be completely entranced by her performance.
Since then I have run into her on multiple occasions. She has sat in with Man Mountain Jr. at Orbit on Mondays for a few inspiring jam sessions. Even as a guest at someone else's show, she captivated the audience, taking control of the stage and the moment for the short time she had.
In my opinion, there are two types of artists: those who have "it" and those who don't. Granted, there are numerous subcategories under these two headings, but for the sake of simplicity in this column I choose to remain general.
The highly coveted "it" is quite elusive. It cannot be bought, taught, or learned. It can, on the other hand, be shared, abused, and lost.
Performers who have "it" can communicate with an audience merely by standing on stage. Their aura demands attention, and their energy demands respect. When I think of "it," I think of Richelle Claiborne.
Not only is she attractive, but she is confident and elegant, too. But even with all that going for her, she remains humble and laid back in a quirky artsy thespian slash triple threat kinda way (did I mention her modeling portfolio?)."
~ Damani Harrison, The Hook, 7/4/02
“This. Is. Not. A. Test.” Richelle Claiborne belts out those words in her trademark throaty, love-mama style on the homepage of Soul Sledge, the metal band she fronts. They could well serve as the motto for Claiborne herself, a multitalented artist who in the past year has made it clear that her dress rehearsal is over.
Singer, songwriter, poet, actress, director, producer, teacher, costume designer—Claiborne has that multihyphenate thing working overtime. She is, as Ronda Hewitt likes to say, a “force of nature.”
… She’s so good, in fact, that it might just be a matter of time before the brighter lights of the big city lure Claiborne from here. But for now, as she comes into her own, Charlottesville can count itself lucky that ours is her stage.—C.H.
C-Ville Weekly, Issue #18.25 :: 06/20/2006 - 06/27/2006
“Went out to see Richelle Claiborne last night. What a great show. You heard it here first: This woman is going to be a big and amazing star.”
~Andrew Hersey, andrewhersey.com