With her own VH1 reality TV show, “My Life,” premiering on November 3rd, and a second album on the way, K. Michelle is working overtime to solidify her brand, proving her story goes far beyond her run on both the Atlanta and New York versions of VH1’s “Love & Hip Hop" series.
Her successful first album, Rebellious Soul, which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 Chart, was graciously welcomed by R&B fans as an honest work from the outspoken artist. But now Michelle is eager to show her growth and equally eager to bring her fans along.
The busy musician chatted with Singersroom recently, discussing the fresh, creative space she’s currently in. She also explained her goals to break musical barriers, her plans to reach listeners internationally, her secret to inner-strength, and more.
You have the new project coming, you have the new show coming; how are you feeling?
I feel really excited; everything is falling in place for me over the past year, and I’m excited! A brand new album, and the TV show airs November 3rd; I’m just really working every day.
It seems you’re in a different space compared to when you were prepping your debut album. Creatively, what’s the inspiration for this record?
This album is a completely different vibe. The last album, I was kicking the door down, just really happy to be there and it was really aggressive. It was really just about me getting out all of my frustration and that’s where I was. Now in my life, I am who I am, I accept that, flaws and all, I say how I feel, I do what I wanna do, and I don’t really care too much. So this album, I’m out in L.A., a different vibe, not having a lot on me other than just my own personal relationships with friends and dating. I was really able to hone in on that and focus on those things and not the outside world. So this album is a global album, it’s not an R&B album, it’s not even a genre-based album, it’s really an “everybody-based” album. I have a country record; just a bigger feel. I wanted to share my music with everyone. I didn’t let people say to me, ‘it wouldn’t fit urban radio’. As an African-American artist, it’s very unfair we have to be continually boxed into positions just because. If I wanted to sing country that day, if I felt like singing rock, it’s still true to me because the topics and honesty within the record are still delivered. I wanted an album I could travel international with, an album that wasn’t about the color of my skin or the format of radio play.
So your fans shouldn’t take the slight music change differently?
I will never lose the core of my fans and what they like from me. I will always keep them fed with what they want, but I also feel like I have to allow them to grow with me. There were a lot of concerns about the “Love ‘Em All” record because it’s rock; it’s like a Rock/R&B record. But once we put it out, the response was amazing. Out of all the records I’ve ever put out, this record had the greatest feedback. From radio being ready to play it, from fans, to people who didn’t like me just saying wow, can’t hate, it’s a great record.
Who are some of the artists you would like to work with or plan to work with?
I’m really not focused on the features now; I’m trying to figure out how I want to put this project together. I don’t want a feature-driven album; none of my singles had features on them. I’d like to prove I can stand on my own as an artist. There will be a couple features, at the right time and place, on the right songs.
So, you’ve been doing a lot to strengthen and build your brand, are you satisfied with the pace at this stage in your career; would you change anything?
If I could change anything, I would change a lot of the misconceptions, but that’s gonna be with every artist. Every artist I admire, wanted to be like or looked up to, they had the same problem as me, which I think is funny. The misconception of them is always there, and their appreciation for music is amazing, and for me, people take my honesty as ratchet, or bullying, or beefing. No, I just tell it like it is, the truth is the truth, and if you don’t like it, then I’m not the person you wanna be around.
What advice can you give to women that go through the stuff you go through, but don’t have the inner strength you have?
I would just say to women that you can’t please everybody. You have to focus on yourself and know that no matter what you do, someone isn’t gonna like it. So once you accept that, which is a harsh reality to accept, once you accept that as a person, as a woman, as an individual, you’ll understand that the biggest focus is family, yourself, and God. Those are the only people you should be living for.
Like the millions of women around the world, did you find yourself drooling a little bit while working with Idris Elba?
We’re friends and I just don’t really care to look at him like that. They think he’s hot, he’s cool.
Tell us about your love life!
I’m dating, just trying to pick the right person for me, I’m enjoying it. I’m enjoying my contenders right now; they’re all putting up a great fight (laughs). I’m having a good time out here.
What is special about K. Michelle that attracts all these contenders?
I would say I’m just me, and you get it. If you’re around me, you get to know me. You have to respect that I like my business ran good, you have to respect the fact that you can tell me the truth and I’ll tell you the truth, you have to respect the fact that I’m passionate, you have to respect the fact that I’m very open to my flaws. I don’t hide them, I really try to improve from them, and I think that’s what draws people to me. As much as people try to hate, you have those people who recognize and can relate. Even with dating, I’m very honest with who I am.
Are you the type of woman who likes to cook for your man, and if so what kind of stuff do you like to cook?
I absolutely love to cook, yeah, I’ll cook for my man, that’s how you trap ‘em, so I’ll definitely do that (laughs). But everything; baked goods, pasta, I like to try everything.
So as a southern girl, that means you make some good fried chicken?
Yes, I used to burn it up (laughs), but I’ve done pretty good recently.
What has been the most memorable moment for you so far?
Besides meeting Mary J. Blige, the most memorable moment for me would be Anita Baker coming to hang with me in the studio and talking to me about the music industry and listening to my new album. That’s something I will never forget.
What’s your staying sexy secret, your beauty secrets?
I get a lot of Lipo, I believe in fat transfers, all kinds of stuff, whatever I have to do to keep my shape I don’t care what people say, that’s what I’m gonna do (laughs). I love my hair, I love makeup. I’m not really big on clothes, I’ll actually go to the cheapest store you can find, and that doesn’t make you, I just like my skin and hair, smell good, and keep my shape up.
Contributions from Elle Breezy and DJ Jus Music