GFM Spotlight Interview: K. Michelle Talks New Album & Fighting to Sing Country Music
Grown Folks Music spoke with the ever-candid K. Michelle. During our conversation, she talked about her new album– All Monsters Are Human — the meaning behind the title and her emotions while making the album.
She admitted to being nervous while performing at the Soul Train Awards in front of music legends Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, whose classic hit she sampled [“Can You Stand The Rain” by New Edition] for her song, “The Rain”.
Without mincing words K. Michelle talked boldly about why she’s prepared to fight to be a part of the country music scene.
Also, we spoke briefly about how she’s using her life-threatening experience with black-market injections to help others, and as is customary here at GFM, we asked her to weigh in on the definition of Grown Folks Music.
Read below and enjoy.
All Monsters Are Human
GFM: Can you explain the title of the album?
K. Michelle: We all are monsters to someone. I’m a mother to somebody. I’m a sister to someone. I’m all of those things. We’re always judging people when in somebody else’s story we’re the actual monster. For me, that’s what it’s been about. I’m always judged and people really don’t have room.
“Ain’t Even Wanna Do This Album”
GFM: I’d like to throw out a couple of songs that really caught my ear when I was listening [to the album]. Straight off the bat [on] “Just Like Jay” you unpacked a whole bunch in that one song. Can you talk about that? You cover a lot of ground in one song.
K. Michelle: I wanted it to come on with the truth. I wanted it to be exactly like what I was going through. I wanted them to know I didn’t even want to do this album right now.
GFM: That’s the very first line. It’s amazing
K. Michelle: [Laughs] Cause I didn’t. It was so hard. I started to get into after that, but it was so hard at first for me. It really was a thing for me of, ‘How am I going to feel the same way like I used to feel? Because right now, I’m not feeling this. I know too much about the business. I know the truth. So, I’m just going to be fake in that? I know the truth.’
That’s where the part where I talk about the label and how the label wanted me to be something that I wasn’t [came from]. I talked about all of that type of stuff in the opening intro because I wanted people to know, ‘This is what she was on. This is where she was at this whole album. These were her emotions.’
GFM: I can’t wait for people to hear that record, because like I said, you covered so much ground in maybe three verses. It’s just like “wow”. From the career, [to] your love life, your telling the truth in your songs and the transparency. A lot of ground is covered and I’m excited for people to hear it.
K. Michelle: There’s a video for it too. I think that’s one of my favorites. It’s simple and to the point.
GFM: The next song I’d like to ask about is “Ciara’s Prayer”. You say, “Ain’t no future anyway. Pray the prayer Ciara prayed.” Talk about that song.
K. Michelle: [Laughs] I’m laughing because that’s how I feel. I was kind of taking a little jab at Future. like, “Ain’t no Future anyway. Pray the prayer Ciara prayed.” But, I wanna know how she prayed. How did she get that man?
Old School Legends Come Through
GFM: You got to perform your single “The Rain” in front of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Did you get any feedback?
K. Michelle: They love the record. The sample didn’t cost anything. We thought that sample was going to be so much [but] they barely charged me for that sample. I said that’s what [happens] when the old school OGs come through and have your back and stuff like that. I got to meet them at the Soul Train Awards.
GFM: They [the cameras] panned through the audience and they seemed to be vibin’ to it. It’s one thing to request the sample, but what was it like to perform a variation of their jam right in front of them?
K. Michelle: I was nervous. I don’t get nervous by these new people. I get nervous by these legends. That’s who I’m nervous by. Those are the people that have paved the way for us. Those are the people that have talent. These people now don’t even have talent.
As Country As They Come
GFM: You were talking to some our friends that we love over here at GFM– Claude Kelly and Chuck Harmony– about country music. That is exciting because I’ve felt like, 1. I’ve always heard a bit of a twang in your singing, and 2. I feel like you have a story-telling pen. Your pen is strong enough to be in country [music]. I feel like country has gotten away from telling the stories that I’m used to. Talk about your desire to want to be in country [music]. Do you have any trepidation at all about how it’s going to mix with your R&B fans or how you’re going to be accepted?
K. Michelle: They’re [the fans] ready. I’m not scared of these people. I’m not fixing to be playing with these white folks. Either they’re going to let me do it, or I’m going to do it anyway. It’s really not an option. It’s soul. it was our music. Billy Ray Cyrus reached out to me to show his support. That was amazing getting on the phone with him and talking with him and him just saying, ‘Do your thing. More than anything… just do you.’
GFM: I feel like “Table For One” is a country song and “[Just] Like Jay”. I hear country in that.
K. Michelle: “God I Get it”… it’s a lot of records that are country. It’s the feeling of country. That’s what I don’t think understand about music and genres. Genres were created for a purpose and a reason. Here we are allowing anybody into R&B music and into rap and everything and now our music is suffering. They are very funny about who they let into country music, and how can you even be mad at them for that though?
The thing is when you start to not allow people because of color… not because of the gift. I even get them saying, ‘You can’t get into country because you’re not country.’ But, you can’t play that with me. I’m from Tennessee. I’m as country as they come. So, this is who I am. This is how I grew up. This is natural to me. It can’t be taken from me because I’m chocolate.
I’m fixing to go fight so that when it’s time for other black girls.. guess what? It’s not as hard for them. I’m going to leave this Earth having fought for something that means something to me… something.
GFM: I’m looking forward to… I want to see you do a crossover performance on the CMAs. That’s what I see… you doing one of those crossover performances with a country artist.
K. Michelle: Absolutely. You know who tried to do that? Tisha Campbell. Tisha Campbell tried to pitch that to [the] Soul Train [Awards]. She wanted to do me and Lenny Kravitz and bunch of different artists. She hit me up and said they didn’t get it. I was kind of like, ‘Damn, that would have helped so much, you know?’ Even though I got to perform, period. But, it just would have helped a lot if we had did something about the diversity of black artists who can sing and who we are. If you can sing, you can sing. There are artists who look just like me that sing country music. It’s really not a fair thing, so I’m going to fight for it.
Thick and Sick
GFM: You’ve been so transparent and courageous, if I might say about sharing your story of how your injections almost took your life. Has your sharing your story helped people?
K. Michelle: It helped a lot. I have a TV show I’m producing on Lifetime called Thick And Sick. Women can’t get it out of their bodies because it’s that expensive. Out of pocket insurance doesn’t cover it yet, because it’s a baby boom of it and its brand new. So, you have women sitting around that are dying from it. They just can’t afford to get it out.
Grown Folks Music
GFM: What Is Your Definition of Grown Folks Music?
K. Michelle: I think grown folks music is people want to hear people sing. That’s what grown folks music provides– a real show. Some Motown. In an industry full of fake and the fluffy… it’s soul and savage… that’s what grown folks music is to me.
All Monsters Are Human is out NOW.
Follow K. Michelle on Instagram