Meet K Michelle of Jive Records, a new singer on the block that has a soulful voice and a real story to tell. K Michelle opens up to MrsGrapevine.com about her struggles in the music industry, personal struggles in her life, and how her music serves as her Pain Medicine (the title of her album). In this honest interview she address rumors of being romantically linked to R Kelly, throwing a glass in another musician’s face after an inappropriate comment, the reality of women sleeping their way to the top, over coming domestic violence and how her music helped her through a troubled past, and how it will help other women with similar stories.
My music journey has been hell! Everything I really wanted has been very difficult, but it’s paid off in the end. I can’t even say that I’ve started to enjoy it, yet. I’m still fighting and struggling through it. When I first came on the scene everyone wanted a pop artist, a Britney Spears. I was a soul singer.
[Photo by Derek Blanks]
This is one artist you don’t want to sleep on, and this is one interview you don’t want to miss!!! Please continue reading…
How long have you been in the music business?
I’ve been singing for two years, three in December. But, I’ve been trying to get a record deal for a minute; probably a total of about six or seven years.
Six or seven years, why is it so hard for a great talent with a strong voice to break into the music business?
I feel like it’s not about talent, Elton John spoke about that the other day. It’s not about talent anymore; it’s basically about who you’re screwing. Who you’re screwing, who you know! The politics of it, and the whole radio format has changed dramatically. Real R&B songs, it’s now about booty shaking music and things like that.
I really feel like the music industry is in a funny state right now. So when it comes to a new artist, I kind of feel like you have to gimmick yourself up. So if you’re trying to remain true to your artistry it might take a little longer to get to where you want to be.
How do you balance being sexy in the industry with your talent?
For me, I’m kind of a funny kind of person. I’m almost like a Tom Boy, every day I wear combat boots, and throw on a wife beater. But men find me sexy and still try to talk to me.
I think sex appeal can be portrayed in a lot of different ways. You don’t have to slut yourself out in order to be portrayed as sexy. The last photo shoot I’ve did with D Blanks, that was my first photo shoot where I wanted to show curves…because I work hard at it.
We can see you work out with that tiny waist. Is there pressure on you to be sexy? Do people in the industry try to push you toward being sexier or do you control it?
It’s a balance. My label has been against the sexiness. I’m actually in a very unique situation. I did a sexy photo shoot and it made me look older, and I’m a young, so we had to balance it out.
I’ve seen other women in the industry and they have nothing left to show, but their nipples.
Wow! Moving on to the next question…I’ve heard you have a college degree and you originally went to school for nursing:
I have a college degree, and I actually got my degree because I love country music. I actually got it for yodeling.
So can you yodel?
Yes, I can yodel.
I learned a lot of different things in college. A lot of people don’t know, my publicist, Aleesha might kill me for saying this, but when I went to college I use to be a dancer.
I had to pay for school like that. I got the best of both worlds. I was able to see the college side and then I was able to go see the women who were on drugs. A lot of people I danced with were using drugs. A lot of people felt like all they could do is show their body and dance.
I was different because I was able to see the women who had college degrees. Some of the women I dance with I’m still friends with and I really helped them. I would feel out college applications to help them get into schools. Where I danced at they called me “Mama”… Like I said, I have done a lot.
So what is your music journey? How do you go from dancing in the club to I’m going to follow my dreams as a musician?
My music journey has been hell. Everything I really wanted has been very difficult, but it paid off in the end. I can’t even say that I’ve started to enjoy it yet. I’m still fighting and struggling through it. When I first came on the scene everyone wanted a pop artist, a Britney Spears. I was a soul singer.
I just been through a lot of difficult things before my deal, things that if a lot of people had to go through, I don’t think they’d be able to make it. My journey has been rough, and I think it’s just starting to get on track. I Have a team I feel like I can trust from my publicist down to my management. The journey has just started. Because before I couldn’t focus on my art because of politics being in the way, but now, when you keep fighting and God gives you a gift people can’t stop you with the BS.
Why did you name the album Pain Medicine? I think you touched on a few reasons so I want to know more about this title, Pain Medicine.
I named it that because when I was going through things, I would listen to music. I would listen to Mary J Blige, and R Kelly is my mentor. I would listen to him when I would go through things. So music is my healing, it’s my medicine. I have been through so many things. Since working on my album I have been through domestic violence. Through this album cycle, I once had very low self-esteem.
I think the music…music and God have been the reasons why I can really keep my head on straight and still smile. I wanted to give out a form of healing to other women, who were like me. So, I called it Pain Medicine.
The album is not about heartache over a man. It’s about all the bad decisions I made in life. All the things I let people do to me that I shouldn’t have. That’s also why I named it Pain Medicine.
You mentioned R Kelly. Do you want to clear up the rumors about the nature of your relationship?
Robert Kelly and I are extra close and people want it to be that [romantic]. Me and him laugh about it and talk about the rumors all the time. I call him Daddy…I just mess with the media. Daddy, as in my musical Daddy. For a while I was in bad place with my record label and he just came in and kind of took over, and tried to get things on track. He rebirth music for me. So I call him my musical Daddy, and that’s the extent of me and Rob’s relationship.
What about comparisons? You’ve been compared to Keyshia Cole. How does it make you feel as an artist?
The politically correct thing for me to say is yeah I’m flattered, but I’m absolutely not. The reason being is that I just don’t see it. I don’t see the connection between me and Keyshia Cole. It kind of bothers me. I’m a classically trained pianist. When they get to hear me more the comparisons will stop.
I wanted to touch on that, you are more than just a singer?
Yes, and you are going to laugh but, I want to be the King of R&B, not the Queen. I want to be King because they put us women in boxes where we can’t do or say certain things; the creativity I have from writing, playing, and producing. I don’t want to be compared, I just want to do me.
Read part 2 later this week where we discuss the incident with a record producer that lead to her new single, How Many Times. We talk about her faith in God and how its shaped her life, and learn more about her music and the big names that’s help shape her sound.
You can follow K Michelle on twitter at twitter.com/kmichellemusic.
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