Tired of all the hype of R&B’s superstars? Do you love real music? Wish for the old days when singers didn’t need 808’s and Heartbreaks, and could sing identical to their records?
Enter Ms. K.Michelle. The no non-sense, hard-hitting, vocal powerhouse reigning from Memphis, TN, has been killing R.Kelly fans as she tours the country with R&B King himself, owning her place among the select few singers who can, well, actually sing. Take a look at HB’s, Alyssa Manners, as the singer, songwriter, and in our opinion superhero, answers questions the same way she sings her songs: Honest, funny, and damn real.
AM: What made you want to be a singer?
K. Michelle: I just think it was something God put me here to do. It was a calling for me and I think, with everything I’ve been through, that He wants me to preach and talk to people through certain things. This is my calling.
AM: I went to your Myspace, and I read your description of your music, and each serves as very strong and declarative statements about your passion for music, and one really stuck out to me. You said you’re “the biggest advocate for being yourself.” What sets you apart from the rest of the R&B singers in the game right now?
K. Michelle: I feel a lot of R&B acts out right now are great, and I respect all of them highly, I just think I’m different. I call my music “honest music,” and I am the biggest advocate of being yourself regardless of what people say that you can’t do this or you can’t do that. You can’t say this or that. I’m just me, and I’m not afraid to go there with my music, and say things that other artists may not dare to say. I don’t shy away from controversy. I tell the truth, and what needs to be said.
AM: Do you think there are a lot of phonies in the industry? What would you say about the industry right now?
K. Michelle: I really don’t mess with the industry right now. I’m here to do what I’m here to do. I’m here to sing. You know, the whole “hoop” and “holler,” the gossip and all of that, I’m not with it. I am in the industry, but I’m not ‘of the industry.”
AM: Can you explain what’s the difference between the two?
K. Michelle: I’m in the industry because I have no other choice. This is the way I get my music out there, and I need it to get to the masses. So in order for me to get [my music] out there, I have to be in the industry. Being of the industry, people get caught up in the industry life. Caught up in the hype, caught up in not just the music, but the money, and being all about the fame. I’m not with that. I just love to sing, and to be able to have people tell me I helped them through the day. I just love music. That’s me. So I’m in the industry because that’s my vessel to get to other people and help them. But I’m not of the industry because I’m not big on the hype of it.
AM: After listening to some of your songs, there’s this really strong message in each song, and each song is really different from one another. How would you say your music is different from everyone elses?
K. Michelle: It’s a breath of fresh air. There’s no gimmick behind it, it’s just whatever I felt that day or in that moment. I went in there and sang it. I brought in writers to write with me, but the songs that you hear aren’t songs that other people wrote for me or asked me to sing. It’s my actual writing, and I think that’s different.
AM: YES!!! Like the songs you have with Trina and Missy Elliott, “Fakin’ It.” It’s just so funny, and so real. It’s such a testament to all women. Do you think you’re music is specifically for women? How do you distinguish your music?
K. Michelle: I hate to leave out the guys, but I honestly feel like the situations in my life have made me women’s advocate basically. And I think it’s more for women and more healing for them. I feel like women are very strong creatures, but it doesn’t hurt to have someone to continually big them up. I want to big up my women. I want to tell them that, if no one tells you today, that you’re strong and you’re great. And my music is definitely for the ladies.
AM: So is that where you drew the the name of your album, “Pain Medicine” from?
K. Michelle: Yes it is. That title is so important to me because I wanted it to heal. I could never fully heal someone, but I can help their healing process begin because no one can heal you but yourself. I want my music, whether it’s a funny song, like “Self-Made” which is again just big-upping the women and it’s for the club. It’s funny, but it’s the truth. When you get to the core of the album, and how deep the album is, there are some real life issues on that album.
AM: And when can we expect the drop date for “Pain Medicine” so the ladies can bum rush the CD aisles?
K. Michelle: (Laughs) I don’t have one yet. The label is great at building my fanbase and introducing me. So the album will come out when I have a strong following, and I’m cool with that.
AM: And we’ve talked about the “healer songs,” but I know you also made it a point not to have any love songs on there since you’re not in love right now. Is every song based on reality?
K. Michelle: An experience. (laughs) I don’t want to say anything that I don’t mean. When you meet me, my feelings are written across my face, and I’m trying to work on that. If I’m not feeling you, you can really see it. I’m so emotional, and I’m so in touch with them that I can’t sing something that I’m not really happy with.
AM: Aside from the album, you’re on the R. Kelly Tour. How’s tour life treating you?
K. Michelle: AMAZING! Such a blessing, such a great performer. Like can you imagine growing up listening to somebody who had so many hits, and you meet them one day and he tells you, ‘you got next.’ If you focus, you can win. Then you go from that meeting to the night before the tour kick-off, and you get a phone call that you’re going to open up for him. That was amazing. And then while we’re on the tour, he comes up to you and is like ‘I heard you’re killing it every night, and I’m very proud of you.’ That is so amazing especially for that to come from him, and watching him every night, with all these people that love him so much that they follow him from city to city. I want that kind of following.
AM: What kind of tips has R. Kelly given you for the album?
K. Michelle: He told me, and I say it every night, as long as you write life and not music, I’ll always have a job. That was the best advice he gave me.
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AM: Any love interests right now to spark some love songs?
K. Michelle: Oh honey I’ve been in love and fell out so many times. I’m so scared of love right now after my last relationship. It was awful. It was beyond awful. There wasn’t any cheating or anything like that, but I honestly went through a bad relationship where someone put there hands on me. That was my last situation. I don’t know, maybe God didn’t put me here to be with someone. Maybe He put me here to go through things and to show others what not to do. Maybe I’m a self-help pamphlet.
AM: How long ago did this happen?
K. Michelle: This actually happened like four months ago. But I don’t take back anything that has happened to me, and I’m not going to cry about it. I accept the things that have happened to me, and keep it moving.
AM: You’re also a single mom, and I have to commend you for that. Are there influences from being a single mother that are on the album as well?
K. Michelle: Yes, just from being a fighter. My son gives me strength. Some things that I’ve been through, like what happened to me four months ago, but I still go through life and you would never know because I fight for him. And my music, and being a single mother, I take the energy he gives me, and I put it in my music. And I think my wounds heal quicker because of him.
AM: What can you tell women from this experience?
K. Michelle: Run like hell! The first signs of something, go. You know, we always ask God to give us signs, but when He sends us a billboard, we ignore it. When you get that sign, you need to hit the road. And you need to love yourself before you can love anyone else.