Jive Records is rebuilding its once illustrious roster. One of the brightest pieces in the new lineup comes in the form of Tennessee songstress K. Michelle. Signed by leading A&R/Hitz Committee Entertainment CEO MempHitz [click to read], it’s little surprise that Michelle is a fellow native of the Soul city. “Memphis finds its way into my music a lot, because of the Soul. I’m related to B.B. King, so there’s already a lot of Soul in me. The Stax [Records] movement, I grew up around a lot of Soul music,” K. Michelle told HipHopDX last week. “Memphis definitely plays a part in my music, my attitude and my whole being.“
Give that rich civic upbringing and Michelle’s vast sources of inspiration, the singer hopes to put meaningful Soul music back in the marketplace. “When you get the album, you’re going to hear a lot of different influences. What I wanted to do was [make] Pain Medicine – and that’s the name of the album. Music is supposed to be healing, and it is.” She continued, “What I wanted to do for this album, I wanted it to have a little bit of every [emotion] in it…you really are gonna get that.“
Included on Pain Medicine is a reportedly playful rebuttal to Hip Hop superstar Lil Wayne‘s team-assisted “Every Girl” [click to listen], called “Fakin’ It.” The track now features another superstar, Missy Elliott. K. Michelle explained, “[Young Money] wanted to say, ‘I wish I could fuck every girl in the world;’ my thing was to say, ‘Okay, well while you’re doing it, we’re faking [the orgasm].’ That’s the fun side of me,” she revealed with a hearty laugh.
Outside of the playful, Pain Medicine may veer closer to Alicia Keys‘ territory, not just in tone, but in format. “I play the piano, that’s the core of me.” “Whatever I was going through that day [when I was recording the song], that’s what you’re going to get. I have records like ‘Today Just Ain’t Me,’ where I talked about everything that was making me not have a good day. I brought in an orchestra to back me up on that record. It’s like a Country record. That’s my favorite genre of music.” Michelle notes that her debut will be a collage of Urban Country, Hip Hop, R&B and Soul.
Beyond her musical abilities, K. Michelle also proudly holds a Biology degree from the prestigious Florida A&M University. That experience has led the singer to promote education in her album campaigning. “I am going to Historically Black Colleges and Universities and telling them to fight for their dreams, and planning properly. When I switched my major over, I had been in music ever since I was a little girl. When I got there, I knew I needed to do something else. What helps me is my growth as a woman, so I changed my major. It never hurts to have two gifts or two talents. You don’t have to drop out of school to be a singer or a rapper.“
Representing the new class at Hitz Committee/Jive, K. Michelle has connected with one of the label’s long-standing flagship artists, R. Kelly. Noting that she was often called the “Female R. Kelly” prior to her signing, K was honored to meet the real article. The two met while the Chicago icon was recording his Untitled album, planned for next month. “As soon as I came in, I played the music, he said, ‘If you was wack, I’d be back in that [recording] booth [working]. You have next.’” The Grammy Award collector also reportedly dropped this jewel, “‘As long as you write life and not music, you’ll always have a job.‘” K recalls taking his advice, and altering her album, “After I met him, I let go of my best records and just did me.” The two may be working together in the future. “For my time right now, he really is a musical genius,” she says.
Pain Medicine is planned for 2010 release.