Kelly Price is poised to release her latest project Kelly May 3rd so Bossip chopped it up with the talented singer about songwriting, her good friend R.Kelly and performing at Essence Music Festival. Check out the interview below and watch her video for her new single “Not My Daddy.”
Bossip: Why did you decide to go with the self-titled album? Normally I know artists do that a lot with their first album, and you’re like 5 albums in now.
Kelly Price: Right, that’s kind of crazy. You know I realize that I’ve never done it, but I feel like this is the right record. I think that if I was gonna name something after myself that this album probably is more of me than anything. And all of my albums have been me… With the first album I named it Soul Of A Woman because I really felt like I was baring my soul. Although I’ve done that with every project, I think that at this stage of my life, at this age, having had the experiences that I’ve had, having been in the business as long as I have, I’ve come into who Kelly is. As a person. As an artist. As a mother. As a wife. As a business woman. I’m very secure in the decisions that I’m making for my own future. For my life. And I think that years ago I couldn’t have I necessarily done that and maybe I’m overthinking it, but when I think Kelly, this is more of who Kelly really is or who Kelly is supposed to be at this point in life than I’ve ever been at any other time in my career.
Bossip: Was it any particular event or is it just do you think the process of aging and being a parent and a wife?
KP: I think it’s the process of life. I think that we all hope that as time goes on that we make improvements even if there small baby steps of improvement. If you take one little tiny step every single day, after five years when you turn around you’ve made some progress. So my journey as an artist is now 13 years in. Just being in the music business I’m 19 years in. And so, some of my steps seem like they were really little steps. I had to make small steps along the way. Some of them were big major things that happened and I took giant leaps. Then you have setbacks. So you make one big huge step then you have a setback and it seems like when you’ve begun to move forward you slide back and you’re not as far as you think you are. But eventually if you just keep moving forward you take a look over your shoulder and you’ve actually gone somewhere. And so, that’s really what this about. It’s about life’s journey overall and getting to this point as a result of just small progressions and little victories, little things that have happened along the way that helped pushed me forward.
Bossip: What do you think were some of the setbacks? The public hasn’t heard too many negative things about you.
KP: If you go back and really really dig into my history as an artist, every time I’ve released a record, right when it was time for my record to come out there was a major change going on at the label. The key person or the president was being fired or quit or moving to another position. Every project I went through a major transition with who was in charge of what was happening with me during that time. Which is a big part of the reason why I decided this time around to just go at it as an independent. I just felt kind of annoyed with that. I took a couple of years, just kinda laid back, I was raising my kids, and did the gospel album. I went and did that. That situation I signed with Jive and I worked with Vicki Mack who discovered Kirk Franklin which I thought would be a great fit because she had a lot of crossover success and I would be able to maintain my R&B audience with the gospel record. We did the record and when it was time to put the record out Ms. Mack’s contract was not renewed and she was removed …or left her position right when it was time for me to put the record out and I got caught up in the middle of that and ended working the entire project with no ads at radio, no television ads, nothing…
Bossip: That’s terrible…
KP: Every single project….And it’s just that I’ve worked really hard, so a lot of people don’t even realize it, but every project I’ve done the person who was in charge of my project either left or was removed when it was time for me to put the record out. So I ended up having to work extremely hard and probably much harder than the next person just to keep a visual presence because in many cases there was no one effectively working the record. So I’ve learned some things and I’ve had some setbacks as a result of it. But one of the things that I did learn was that I can do more than just write. I can do more than just produce. I actually can wear the hat of an executive because I was forced to wear it in every last one of those occasions. And make executive decisions when no one was in position to do it. So it pushed me ahead to this point and now I am the executive in charge of this project and loving it. It’s hard, but I’m loving it because ultimately if it goes south it’s my fault but if it goes north it’s my gain.
Bossip: We saw that you were going to be performing at the Essence Music Festival this summer. We’re really excited about that.
KP: Yes I’m excited about it too! My last appearance at Essence was right when we lost Luther Vandross and he was headlining that year so instead of cancelling him as the headlining act, the Essence people with their brilliant selves, brought in his band and his background singers and brought in a bunch of his friends to perform his set live. And I was among of the artists that they brought in. I performed with Usher and Patti Labelle and we did all of Luther’s music that night with his band. So that was my last appearance at Essence and so I got a call this year to come through and I’ll be headlining I believe the Super Lounge on Sunday night, July the 3rd so that’s going to be a lot of fun. The band is going to be there and I always love performing, but I really love it when I have my band with me because we get to cut up real bad.
Bossip: Is there anyone else you’re excited to see perform?
KP: I’m looking forward to seeing everybody. I definitely want to see Mary, I want to see Uncle Charlie, but I’ll be there the whole weekend because Essence is partnering with Pebbles, Upfront Megatainment, and Devyne Stephens too, who is a dear friend of mine for 16 years. I actually just entered into a situation with Devyne, my friend, for co-management, so he’s gonna be helping to manage me moving forward from this point on. And Upfront Megatainment is partnering with Pebbles and Essence to find the next big R&B star and I’ve just been enlisted to be a celebrity judge for that contest and we will announce the winner the weekend of Essence. And that winner will be able to get a single here with Devyne, with Upfront Megatainment. So I’ll be involved with that so yes, long story short I will be there the entire weekend.
Bossip: Your new single is “Not My Daddy” right? We were curious where the song came from. Obviously once you put Daddy in the title you know it’s got people wondering what you’re talking about.
KP: The crazy thing about it was I was literally walking around my house , I don’t ever really have a day off but it was one of those days when I was at home and just kinda doing things around the house and all morning long I was humming and at one point I just stopped and “What is this I’m singing?” I was literally writing a song, or I should say the song was writing itself and I didn’t even realize it. I kept humming and just humming and I just kept saying “You not my daddy….” But I didn’t know what I was saying….by the time I got finished I said “wait a second…I don’t know this song. It’s the craziest thing in the world. So I was like “ok, you’re writing a song. A song was writing itself.” So I stopped, I grabbed a pen, I grabbed a piece of paper and I started scratching what I started hearing in my head out on a piece of paper and I was so excited literally, by the time I heard what I was humming and singing in my head I could hear the whole song fully orchestrated as if the song was already a song that existed. So I literally drove out to the studio, caught up with Warren Campbell, who I partnered with to do this album, and I said to him you gotta stop and listen to this song that I wrote today, it sounds like it should be Mint Condition or something. I said ‘I need to get my band in here because I need them to play this, it needs to be all live instruments and I want them to play them like Mint Condition.’ And he said “Well instead of asking your band to play it like Mint Condition why don’t you just call Stokely and ask him to do it?” Which I did. I called him that day. I sent a demo of the song, just me and the piano, sent it to him, and when I got it back it was what you hear.
Watch the video for the song below:
More on Kelly’s new album and friendship with R.Kelly when you continue…