K. Michelle “Jumps In The Mix” [DJBooth Interview Exclusive]
New York, N.Y. -- Last week, we jumped "In the Mix" with Trazz, the up-and-coming emcee who brought us Drake-sampling single "All They Wanna Talk About." For the 12th installment of our Booth-exclusive interview series, we're giving readers an up-close and personal look at K. Michelle, the Memphis-bred, Atlanta-based singer/songwriter who confessed to "Fakin' It" in the bedroom on her latest official single.
The 24-year-old up-and-comer's big break came as the result of a chance meeting with fellow Memphis native MeMpHiTz in the halls of Jive's New York office. The beatsmith signed Michelle to his label Hitz Committee Entertainment, a joint venture with Jive Label Group. Now, K. Michelle is preparing to bring the unconventional, intensely personal style she introduced to Booth readers with "Can't Go On." "Self-Made" and "You Should've Killed Me," to listeners nationwide with the release of her debut studio album. Set to drop sometime in 2010, Pain Medicine is far from your average R&B album, filled with starry-eyed love ballads; instead, the hotly-anticipated set will find the rising soul star focused on the trials and tribulations that come with being a woman and a single mother.
In this exclusive, five-question interview, K. Michelle discusses her commitment to creating honest music, the lessons she's learned from R&B hitmaker R. Kelly, and whether her love of country music has influenced her debut album's sound.
You're obviously a good enough actress to fake it in the bedroom. How important are those acting skills when it comes to your music?
K. Michelle: Not very important at all, I don’t fake my music. If I want to be known for anything it's for creating HONEST music. Noting is fake or will ever be fake about the lyrics and pain in my music. My music I live it.
Your new album is titled Pain Medicine? What is it about the album that will make America feel better?
K. Michelle: My album might not make all of America feel better, but for single mothers and women who have been hurt as well as women who seek personal life fulfillment it will make them feel as if they have someone they can relate too. The obstacles and issues that I have gone through in my life are more then one could imagine so if I can make it they can also make it through anything. Through this album I want them to understand that pain is only weakness leaving the body and every blow that they may encounter on an everyday basis is only a bump in the road. Fighter’s fight and winners win.
You've said that R. Kelly has been a mentor. What specific lessons has he taught you, both about music and the music business?
K. Michelle: I’ve only had a sit-down encounter with Robert once, and that one conversation was the best advice that I have gotten from any individual in the music industry. R Kelly told me that as long as I write life and not music I will always have a job. He listened to several of my records and told me that they were great records and for that to come from a man who has produced hit after hit gave me a comfort and reassurance that making honest and good music was not in vain. I thank him for this opportunity to not only open up for his tour, but to introduce him. As an artist some things speak volume, to your artistry and your heart and that's exactly what Robert Kelly has done for me as a new artist.
I've read that you're actually a country music fan. Are there any hints of your love for country in your music?
K. Michelle: Yes, absolutely I have a song entitled “Just Ain't My Day” that is a straight country song almost. My vocals are very soulful it's a different kind of record but people’s response to it is beyond powerful. Proving that good music is good music regardless of the genre.
K. Michelle: I have often been doubted in this industry not because of my talent, but because I might not have been introduced to the game by major industry hype men, but I love being the underdog. I truly believe that god has put me here to say something and send a message to not only women but to all individuals like myself. I will not allow the politricks of the game to discourage me and keep me from the goal at hand. I will sing from my heart and leave the industry bullsh*t alone.
This album is diverse enough and healing enough to help people get through real life sh*t whether it be through laughing at a dude because he's wack in the bed or it be through a record like when crying is easy where you explore what isn’t in life that will make you happy. Real recognize real.
Pain Medicine will come out in 2010. In the meantime, check me out on twitter @kmichellemusic and on the web at www.kmichellemusic.com.