There are two, very different versions of K. Michelle, one of which will show up at The Fillmore on Tuesday, July 19 and reveal her deeply passionate brand of soul. There is the Memphis-born singer and songwriter, raised with country and R&B, who smartly spills her loving guts and bluntly speaks her mind on albums such as her newest, “More Issues Than Vogue.” Then there’s the K. Michelle, the gossipy, in-your-face princess of VH1’s reality television scene with “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta” and her own “K. Michelle: My Life” as part of her bitchy brand. When Michelle is talking music and live shows, she refuses to discuss her talky network personae. “Not now, not here,” she politely, but firmly demurs when asked to discuss risqué “L&HH:A” faves such as Stevie J and Jocelyn Hernandez, quickly proving that she’s as much about being all business as she is stunningly soulful. Here’s a bit of her musical side.
Throughout this season’s “K. Michelle: My Life,” you weren’t very happy about being challenged by your label about doing songs that might not fit your usual profile. Now that “More Issues Than Vogue” is out, are you in love with the album as it is?
I love the record. This album is for my fans. There are a few things that I do want to dive deeper into, but couldn’t make this album. I’ve already started my fourth album. I keep working. That’s the thing about me: I work and work. So I’ll get those songs on this next one.
Don’t you think that by this point, your pretty-rabid fan base would follow you anywhere?
They will. That’s the thing. I think everyone understands where I want to go and how I’m feeling. The fans definitely ask me about my other stuff. Some people though, they’re afraid to let their artists stray off. They overreact. All you can do is do it and see what happens.
You have stated that this new album might be more successful if you were a white woman. Do you still stand by that now, considering that I hear “Ain’t You” everywhere I go?
It’s still a super urban record though. I feel that if you are white, you can get anything.
Tell me about hooking up with Jason Derulo for “Make the Bed.” I know you guys have history.
I did his last album and we stayed friends. He listens to my music. I listen to his. I love working with friends who you actually respect musically.
What was running through your head when you wrote “Sleep like a Baby” on the new album? It’s a perfect anti-love song.
The guy I was dating and I got into it, and I was up, awake, really angry with him, and he was happy just to be asleep.
You certainly have no problem with your lyrics speaking your mind where love is concerned. Do you see yourself moving into the socially conscious, the political?
I just do it. When it comes to me speaking out about things that are happening, if I go into the studio and I am moved that way, I will. I think a lot of people go in and make a record because they think like ‘oh, that is the thing to do now.’ I’m affected by the moment – moved – and if I’m feeling that kind-of-way, I’ll do something about it. I do want to though speak to fans and make sure they know what I’m thinking, voicing my opinion. It might not be in a song, but I always make sure I use my platform in the right way when I have an audience in front of me – be it women, or my people.
Beyond “More Issues Than Vogue,” how do you view your first two albums?
They’re me growing up, my life, moments that are real life stories.
Is there anything you’ve said – on the records or on television – that you regret or wish you could take back or do you stand by everything you’ve said and sang, no regrets?
You have your days when it’s like ‘man, I shouldn’t have done that’ and others where ‘oh well, it is what it is.’ That’s sentiment. It just happens.
To purchase tickets for K. Michelle’s July 19 show at the Fillmore, click here.