With a thunderously powerful voice packed into a 5’2 frame, singer-songwriter Keyshia Cole never ceases to amaze fans. The upcoming release of her fourth album ‘Calling All Hearts’, allows the world to view this hit maker in a light she is rarely seen in. Singersroom was able to get an exclusive sit down with the R&B powerhouse about motherhood, finding love, and her evolution.
Singersroom: What is the inspiration behind this album if any?
Keyshia Cole: I really don’t go in with inspiration. I just go in and sing what’s on my heart at the moment. I guess I recorded half the album before Gib and I both met. So yea I always said I wasn’t that optimistic about finding love and I had just given up on it for a second and I decided to just work and do my thing. So at the end album that’s kind of when we met and then a couple different songs and ideas and emotions came out with that. Its two sides of the story with the album.
Singersroom: We know that you write a majority of your songs. So looking back over your career, how has your songwriting changed?
Keyshia Cole: My perspective on love and life changes and I think my writing reflects that as I grow. But also, my child has made a great impact on me as far as how much I care about other people’s children. Like seriously, now I can understand how parents feel about their children. And when children get hurt out there it made me kind of emotional even when I was writing a song called “Sometimes” on my album. I kind of wrote that because at the time the baby Chantelle had gotten raped and sodomized. The woman sold her to the guy and they were going into the hotel and I just cried. I called Stephen Hill from BET and I called Kenny Babyface Edmonds and I said please what can we do about this? We have to let people know that if they don’t want their children there is somewhere they can go. Instead of giving your child away or doing something wrong to your baby, you can actually drop your child off at the hospital and you can’t be punished for that. Whatever is better for the kids and their future.
Singersroom: This album is very honest, you don’t shy away from any topics. Do you ever question how vulnerable you are making yourself to the public. Or is that something you set out to do?
Keyshia Cole: Oh no, I think that’s what music is all about. I think that is the reason why there are singers and people out there that express themselves artistically through their music it’s because it allows you to be a voice. The better the music, the more personal it is. The more personal it is, the better the album.
Singersroom: What would you say to the people that are confused and saying bad things like they don’t understand the “happy Keyshia” and they’re use to the drama songs?
Keyshia Cole: Have they even listened to the album yet? They need to give it a shot. They haven’t even understood the perspective of the album. Actually like I said, I wrote half of it before I met Gib so I wasn’t that optimistic about love. But I have met my fiancÃ©, we are engaged to be married and I have a child. I’m not going to say everything is peaches and cream because everyday we grow with each other and learn each other, like any other relationship. I’m not just acting like yo I’m happy and I’m living in the best world possible, that would be unrealistic. But we are very happy and I am very blessed to have him. So if everyone’s saying they’re cool on that, then that’s just what it is. Maybe there’s someone out there that can give you that sad sad song, because it’s not me.
Singersroom: What would you say are some of the most difficult parts about being an artist and putting yourself out there?
Keyshia Cole: The misconception of different things. Just not understanding that we are human also and that some days we go through things just as well as anybody else. Sometimes they’re cruel to the fact of understanding that and you have to take it the way it is. You’re here and you’re an entertainer and sometimes you just have to go for it because people sometimes don’t understand.
Singersroom: “Last Hangover”, we all agree that’s a hit — sounds like a club song but its a lot of emotion in that. Plus the name hangover speaks for itself. Can you tell us more about the song?
Keyshia Cole: When I first went in the studio with Timbaland he played a bunch of beats. At the time him and Drake had the song “Say Something” and it was one of my favorites at the time. And I just loved the feeling and emotion of that — I told him I needed that kind of Timbaland. So he said listen to this one and tell me what you think, and a set of songwriters were there and they had written it — I wrote the second verse — but they pretty much wrote all of the song. I just thought it was so dope because I remember at one time where I was going through a break up and I said this is just not going to work. Its just not going to work and the more I try to make it work, the more it hurts. So I had to just have a couple of those hangover nights.
Singersroom: Why was this the perfect time for this release?
Keyshia Cole: There are so many answers to that question. First of all, with me having my son a lot of people thought oh she’s just chilling and I wasn’t. I was working — we built a studio into the crib in Cleveland and I recorded pretty much everyday. I thought the album was dope…and I just had to shut a lot of things down, had to come get my spot back.
Singersroom: How is motherhood treating you?
Keyshia Cole: It has been dramatically beautiful. I’m so blessed to have him. I said God always comes on time because at that time I was going through that with family I was so hurt from it. Me being pregnant and coming to terms with myself and understanding that I’m having a baby now. So now I have to give my child everything that I wanted my mom to give me that I didn’t receive. And his father is going to be here and we’re engaged and we’re going to be married! God put so many things in your life for a reason so take heed to it and be thankful. So many things came that were bad but it was so many good things that came that made me realized a lot about who I am, about my fans, about you guys being here, about how much of a blessing it is to have actually made it this far even though a lot of things were happening that were kind of hurtful to me. It made me appreciate the good things.
Singersroom: Looking over your past albums, its clear to see the evolution in your content, but even in the titles as well. So how does this album title ‘Calling All Hearts’ speak to your evolution as an artist?
Keyshia Cole: I think it was written from not being so optimistic about love and really giving up on it and then the perspective of being in love. I think to my fans, to the people that follow me and understand how far I’ve come — like I told Gib this morning because he called into the Rickey Smiley show and said that “you’re the most beautiful woman” and just represented our relationship and just showed how much he loves me and I love him. A lot of people just don’t do that, so I called him and said I thank you for because a lot of women follow me and a lot of us feel like, these men ain’t shit but you changed my perspective and hopefully we can change their perspective. Because there are a lot of guys out there that want to do right by their woman and represent their woman the way she should be represented. The same goes for the women to the men because I know I’m gone hold mine down for life. You’ll never see me cheating on him or doing anything I’m not suppose to do — not carrying myself unladylike representing us. So I told him thank you for that because a lot of people look to me and see my life as an example of hopefully a way they can have it, especially coming out the hood.
Singersroom: What are your holiday wishes for this year?
Keyshia Cole: Holiday wishes? You know what, I am so altruistic. Me and Daniel want to take the baby to a homeless shelter and give away all the old stuff we have in the house. Everything that we don’t wear, the blankets that we don’t use and all of that. I want to start a tradition in our family where Junior gets to see that. We’re still trying to fight and see how because we’re not in the hood anymore but we came from that. He comes from that, I come from that — so how can we allow our child to see the same types of things that we’ve seen but of course we live a different lifestyle but I still want him to get that. Of course I could just drop him off in the summer to my people’s house. But more so just seeing how the different lifestyles connect. But pretty much that’s all I want and to give away a couple things to a couple different cities. Last year I think, or the year before I did Philly, New York, and Oakland and I gave $10,000 to each market and I think the label matched every $10,000 I gave. I said the more successful I get the more cities will get added on. So hopefully that tradition continues.
—— By: Interview By Aleta Watson