K. Michelle, who was a hit performer at Singersroom Live 4 and is also on the Singersroom 2010 artist watch list, may be Memphis’ best kept secret. The upcoming starlet, who has already callaborated with Missy Elliot and is currently on tour with R. Kelly, has the voice and the sound to make an imprint in today’s business of music. Raw, blunt and rough, K.Michelle will without a doubt get fans respect.
Singersroom: What we’re going to do in this interview is take a deeper look behind the lyrics to find where that powerful voice came from. Introduce yourself to the world, who is K. Michelle?
K. Michelle: K. Michelle is an artist that is trying to seek to put out honest and just good music. K. Michelle is a single mother. She is a fighter and I just like to think that I’m dedicated to my craft and I love music. So, that’s K. Michelle.
Singersroom: I saw your YouTube clip, of “Where They Do That At”, and It was nothing short of breath taken, to say the leastâ¦
K. Michelle: Thank You! I’m glad Brandi [her publicist] on the phone when you said that, I really want that to be my next single, I think another song is, but I like that one too, but “Where They Do That At?” is so important to me.
Singersroom: Yeah, when I heard it, it was really soul stirring. What was your inspiration behind that song?
K. Michelle: Girl, that [is a] sayingâ¦I always say, when talking, I’m always saying “where they do that at?” A lot of things are going on with the roles of men and women. This video stuffâ¦ isn’t what God put us here to be doing. [The World] is just twisted all of this is just messed up, it’s twisted. I wanted to touch on the things that I was going through and touch on some things that other women were going through.
So, I’m on tour with R. Kelly right now, and I sing that song every night and when I get off the stage, I give out sampler CDs and everybody is like “Oh My God, is “Where They Do That At” on this CD?” and it’s not. Like they be trying to get to that song, because they’re going through it, single mommas, people [in] domestic violence, men just not appreciating a good womanâ¦that’s dear to me, so that was the motivation behind that song.
Singersroom: Tying in with that, how did you overcome theses obstacles, were you in an abusive relationship?
K. Michelle: I think for me I’m two topics. I’m a single momma. My parents helped me raise my son, his daddy doesn’t do anything and he has a great job. As, far as abuse, I won’t call it an abusive relationship because I got gone. I’d call it an abusive situation that happened in a relationship because that happened to me and that’s a recent situation that I dealt with. That kind of stuff right there, you would never know what that’s like until it happens to you. You just don’t get it, you know you love somebody so much and you think they’re you’re protector the person you love. They end up being the one you need protection from. For me, I still deal with it, I still think about it because I still care about the person. I also know that I gotta care about myself and I gotta be healthy, and look right and feel good because I’m a mother and I got a son I need to be there for, so… So, I just kept it moving, I just had to keep it moving and you can love somebody from a distance.
Singersroom: That is true, so from thereâ¦you mentioned earlier that you are opening up for R. Kelly. What have you learned from that experience as in regards to performing live?
K. Michelle: Everything! I’ve learned everything from that, I’m so grateful to him and God, for giving me the opportunity because imagine like, growing up listening to somebody and then his A&R is like “she’s a female R. Kelly.” Then you meet this man, he gives you great advice about the business and then every night you get to see 3,000/4,000 people who know every single lyric, and this man has hits back-to-back-to-back. For me to get off the stage, go sit down and watch him give a great performanceâ¦his vocals are on point and people are screaming; that’s a great motivation for me as a new artist because you can only pray you get to that level. It just makes you want to be like “He gives a 100 percent, I’m going to make sure I give 110 before he gets out here.”
Singersroom: Going back to the beginning, how did you break into this music game?
K. Michelle: Well for me I’ve always been into music ever since I was very little. I tried to do a nine to five. I graduated from college; I actually went to college on a music scholarship. I just knew that wasn’t for me. I was just contemplating okay I’ve got to get in this, but in Memphis, Tennessee, there’s not no record executives there, so I ended up going to China. I sang with the Chinese Orchestra.
[I] Got back, put my music up on Myspace and a rapper flew me out there and that didn’t work for me. My attorney, Erica Wright, believed in me and just paid for me to stay and work. I just kept on working [and] kept on doing showcases. It took me like two years, because when I first started we were going through this Pop era where everybody wanted you know a “Black Britney Spears.” They didn’t want soul music; they didn’t want none of that. I had to fight through those years, now music and real life type music is back and the timing was right for me now.
Singersroom: What inspires you, what wake you up in the morning?
K. Michelle: My son wakes me up in the morning. That and I don’t want to be broke forever. (laughs) I don’t want to go back to that cubicle, because it was driving me crazy. I felt like the walls were coming in on me, because I can’t sit still and I wanna sing and dance. When I wake up in the morning, I’m like you know what people are starting to learn who I am. People send me letters and emails saying how my songs have helped them. That’s a great motivator to wake up and sayâ¦through all the parlor tricks I’m gonna keep on doing it.
Singersroom: When you graduated you said you had a regular job, what type of regular job was it?
K. Michelle: I was actually doing sales girl for FedEx. Yeah that’s a great company, but for me? I, Uh-Uh, I couldn’t deal with it.
Singersroom: On your lead single “Fakin It” you are creating a fantasy for your man but did you ask men if they think it is helpful for them or does it break there ego?
K. Michelle: I really didn’t ask them anything, because when they go and do songs like: “I wish I can screw every girl in the world” they don’t ask us. When I did that record that was basically a fun record, I think that’s the most light hearted, that and “Self Made,” those are just two light hearted records on my album. I felt like everybody needs something fun. I wanted to do the fun side of me, before we got into the deepness of the album. I didn’t want to ask a man about “faking it” because they would never be honest anyway. They’re not going to tell you, if you ask them: “Yeah, what you know about faking it?” [in a man voice] “Oh, you know that don’t happen to me” or they going to say that first then say, “it don’t matter to me, because I get mine anyway.” They NEVER going to tell you the real so it wasn’t necessary to speak with them.
Singersroom: Was church an important training ground for you when you first started out singing?
K. Michelle: Yes, yes it was. I did my first solo, “I Love You Lord, Today” and that was the first place I ever sang it besides bouncing around the house. I’d sang at church almost every Sunday.
Singersroom: You still perform at church?
K. Michelle: When I go home, yes.
Singersroom: Do you write all of your music?
K. Michelle: No, I usually bring in someone I work well with that knows me, because sometimes I can, I’ll be honest, and I’ll be so brutally honest it’s never get played on the radio. I like to have people around meâ¦it’s always nice to have that balance, so I’ll always bring in a writer who knows how I am. We’ll come together and get the point across, and we’ll make it radio friendly.
Singersroom: Are you still working on the album or is the album complete?
K. Michelle: Girl, I say the album’s complete every week, then I be like, I got something else I need to say something else I need to do. I’m just still working. I’m going to get in with R. Kelly in January so there’s no telling what I’m going to get from him. Do it’s not over until the fat lady sings.
Singersroom: Okay, so what is the overall theme and direction we’re going in with this debut?
K. Michelle: Well the name of the album is ‘Pain Medicine.’ It’s supposed to be healing. You know music is supposed to make you feel some type of way, whether it’s dance music or whatever. I wanted this to be a mix of R. Kelly, Mary-type, Lauryn-type record, because Lauryn [Hill] will tell you the truth about things. That’s the direction I’m taking, I’m kind of taking like she says, Hip Hop meets scripture. I’m just giving you, what I went through and how I made it through, and how you can make it through. That’s the direction of the album.
Singersroom: I can tell through the songs I’ve heard thus far, that you have a story. What message do you most want to get out there, through your music, to the world?
K. Michelle: I want people to understand that you can be yourself and you don’t have to change who you are. I them to look at me, I might not be the normal prissy, R&B singer and I might not have known the biggest people in the game, but I’m still fighting and they can do the same thing. I want people to look at me and say: “I can win being myself.” I don’t have to transform who I am to be a success and I don’t have to conform; people need to confirm to me. I just want them to know that the true you is who God made you and you only change to be better, not for other people.
—— By: Interview By Lauren M. Walker