She's BACK! Grammy Nominated for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance,finishing her New CD entitled "Kelly" (2011), memorable television and stage performances and her new single "Tired" breaking into Urban AC Radio.2011 has just begun and already Ms. Kelly Price is starting this year ahead.Before her single and before her nomination, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kelly about her life,music and all the many things she does.Unedited she bares her soul.
LED:Where are you originally from?
Kelly:NY. South Jamaica/Far Rockaway to be specific.
LED: What was your first professional gig and what was that like?
Kelly:My first pro gig was with George Michael at Madison Square Garden in January 1992. George had his band and singers but he wanted a more full gospel flavored sound for the live versions of "Father Figure" and a few other of his songs. He hired a local choir for the first night and was so displeased at the result that he had Sony on a man hunt for a replacement the next morning. A friend of mine (who was a music composer) had recently put together all of the music for one of Luther Vandross' (also a Sony artist) BG Singers. With the word all over SONY that day George Michael's request reached Vandross' camp and his BG Singer referred my friend to put a choir together and he got the call. He called me at 3p and said "I need you. I got a gig to sing background for George Michael. Can you be there by 5p to learn the music? Oh and wear all black we go on tonight at 8p!" Needless to say I did it. It was the incredible reviews and the way George Michael ranted and raved about us that got that got my friend the call to put together the choir for Mariah Carey's Grammy performance 1 month later. Of course we know I landed the MC BG Singer gig and worked for her nearly 7yrs prior to my own solo career taking off.
LED:Do you still keep in touch with your former producers PDiddy and R. Kelly?
Kelly:Yes. I don't speak with either of them daily. I actually see and speak to R. Kelly a lot more frequently than I do Puff. In fact Rob was the one who told me to write the song TIRED and don't be afraid to be TOTALLY HONEST about everything in my life. Though both men are are busy (and so am I) and we understand each others lives VERY WELL (the similarities AND the differences) but early on we developed the kind of relationships that are built on mutual respect and a REAL love of what the others' talents are. That kind of connection doesn't require daily conversation or even weekly or monthly conversation to maintain the status of friend. They can call me anytime they need me (AND THEY HAVE AND DO) and I can call them anytime (AND I HAVE). When those calls go out we reconnect and there's no sense of loss or lost time.
LED:Are you working with any of them on your upcoming release?
Kelly:Rob (R.Kelly) and I planned to work together to do some things for this new project "KELLY". Creative changes this year pushed the release of this project up by a few months at which point conflicting schedules caused the new collabo to miss the deadline for "KELLY". It will make the new project after this one though. And yes....there will be another one coming RIGHT after this one. Puff and I have been threatening to make that happen for years yet it hasn't. The good thing about it is his word is good with me and my credit is good with him! LOL!
LED:What's the name of your new CD and what inspired your latest creation?
Kelly: "KELLY" is the name of the new project and life was its inspiration. No long answer there...
LED: You are also an author, what was it like writing your first book?
Kelly: Very humbling. I was nervous and had a lot of apprehension about it because of the subject matter. I am a song writer and have been gifted in the area writing from a young age (poetry, school papers etc). I sometimes even wrote papers for college kids when I was in HS. But to write an entire book and self publish it with no co-writer was a little threatening at first. Especially because I was looking so hard at spirituality vs "organized" religion (specifically in the african american culture) and challenging a lot of the more traditional ways of thinking when it comes to Christianity. I knew this task was one that would likely draw EXTREME ridicule and maybe even backlash from traditional pentecostal church sects.
LED:Are you planning on writing more books and if so what will the subject matter be?
Kelly:Yes. I eventually plan to write about my life in the background and backstage in the music business. I've worked with so many incredible people and going from being a back ground singer to being a song writer, arranger and producer to an artist has had some interesting moments. Read worthy moments... I promise. I've just finished a cook book and a book about how to get into this music business and I plan to write another installment to the first book Inscriptions of My Heart as well as my autobiography. Inscriptions 2 will be in the next couple of years. I will detail a lot of what I experienced traveling the country promoting my gospel CD and how it substantiates much of what was in the 1st installment of Inscriptions. VERY READ WORTHY.... and the autobiography will have to wait until I can find a way to tell the truth about my entire life without hurting several family members. That may take a while but it will happen. It will free me from a lot that I carry even now that I can't speak of.
LED:What was it like for you performing on the BET Gospel Celebration 2010?
Kelly:Every time I perform for COG it has resulted in a very special and memorable moment. This year was no less. As always GOD was gracious and took my natural and made it supernatural. Im not THAT GOOD but HE definitely is. I already loved what you do artistically and creatively but I walked away with a new friend in you which turned out to be the real bonus in all of this!!
LED:What do you say to people who say you should not sing both gospel and r&b?
Kelly:I used to spend a lot of time trying to explain who I am and what my life's assignment is. Now and then i will still talk to people about it if i feel it is not a waste of my time and they really want to know and its not about trying to ridicule what I do. For the rest of them my answer is GOD is the creator of all gifts good and perfect. He made me good and coupled it with his perfect and it works. He opened the doors and allowed me to walk thru them. IF HE DIDNT WANT ME HERE DOING WHAT I DO he IS GOD he could change that at any time. Furthermore I say to those who have SOOO much time on their hands that they can spend it scrutinizing my JOB and my PURPOSE in life...that what I do isn't for everyone. It's hard. Because of the stand I take the church watches me and so does everyone else. Maybe THEY shouldn't or even couldn't do it if for no other reason then because of the way the think. They would do more harm than good to the people who really need to SEE GOD living in a person and not just HEAR people spitting the same rule based and mostly NON BIBLICAL, NON SPIRITUAL rhetoric.
I believe that you know a tree by it's fruit. I haven't crossed 1 person yet who can charge me with living a life that shows, me to have an ETHICALLY FEARLESS, GODLESS or MORALLY CHALLENGED character. Im not perfect and don't claim to be but what I speak and what I believe is what I live on purpose everyday even when I come up short. #CHECKMYLIFE
LED:What inspired your new single Tired?
Kelly:360 degrees of living Kelly Price's life inspired this song. There are references to my marriage, motherhood, family relations, friendships, business relations, the recession, my faith, church and all from my point of view. People are TIRED. We're all TIRED. Living life as a "celebrity" doesn't keep life from happening so we get TIRED too. I think people feel less alone and less alienated when they know they aren't the only ones going thru it. If we can't reveal our true selves in our art what are we doing this for?
LED:What should your fans expect from you in the future?
Kelly:I am back to my first love which is WRITING. Im writing everything. Scripts, manuscripts, books and back to writing songs for other artists like I was before my own solo career. Acting is on my radar as well. Word is Im a bit of of a drama queen (why is that? LOL!). If I am I may as well get paid for it right?
What have you learned that you wish someone would have told you before becoming an artist?
Don't check the money people ALL the time. You're not smart enough. Check the money people EVERY TIME then HIRE a checker to check the money people and then HIRE a checker to check the checkers. Live and learn. Now I know.
LED:What advice would you give upcoming vocalist, songwriter or author?
Kelly: Buy my book "But I Just Want To Sing", follow the instructions to the letter AND invest in yourself. If you don't NO ONE ELSE WILL!
LED:What is your favorite word?
Kelly:Too many words in the English language to pick just one. I LOVE TO TALK and I LOVE TO WRITE! President Obama's favorite word is "fundamental"...my daughter's is "REALLY?" with the question mark! LOL!!
LED:What is your favorite sound?
Kelly:It's a tie between a baby laughing and the sound of my background vocals AFTER they've been mixed by Peter Mokran (my mixing engineer for the last 12 years and EVERY CD I've done) Love you PeteMo!
LED:What do you love?
Kelly: I LOVE looking at where I come from and even some of the history in my family that threatened to sideline my life and realizing that I beat the odds. I did it with God's direction and help but I CHOSE to ignore statistics and even what people said TO me and ABOUT me and I beat the odds. I did it! I LOVE TELLING OTHER PEOPLE FROM SIMILAR SITUATIONS THAT THEY CAN DO IT TOO!