Bossip: So did the rest of the album go that easy? As far as like writing it and putting it together?
KP: This album process was very different. There was the whole thing with me and R. Kelly with “Tired” and how he talked to me about writing a song called “Tired Living” more than two years ago. Almost three years ago at this point. And I literally just kind of laughed it off. And then one day riding in the car, I started singing the song out of the air, just literally just started singing the song out of the air. I generally through recording processes, I’m very methodical. I know if I’ll have like 15 songs/16 songs on this record or it can be 13 songs and maybe three interludes so I plan it out in my head and I get to writing. But I stop myself at maybe about song 25, maybe 30 songs and pick what I feel like the best 13, 14, 15, songs out of those are and put them on the record. Literally with this project because there was one else hounding me to say “You gotta do this, you gotta do that.” I literally just wrote and wrote and wrote. And it was different. And it really wasn’t even my idea I have to say. Warren Campbell was like “You’re a writer. It doesn’t kill you to have too many songs. Just keep writing. Let’s just keep writing. The more you write the better it sounds. So by the time I finished I had 109 songs. And we pulled 12 out of those 109.
Bossip: That’s tough.
K: There’s so many in that number that I loved. But at this point with Kelly and putting the project together, it was about selecting the 12 stories that best told the story of where I’m at right now. So the 12 songs that are on this project are 12 out of 109 that to me weave perfectly in and out of each other.
Bossip: We’re glad you brought up R. Kelly. You know I think everyone is always kind of curious where your relationship with him stands. I know he’s had his up and downs with a lot of other folks. Are you still working together? What kind of growth do you see in him?
KP: We had the most interesting conversations prior to him releasing “When A Woman Loves.” I was with Rob in Chicago, at the house and we still have a very very close relationship and it’s funny people ask me that because it’s not the kind of relationship where you’re going to see us together in public running all over the place, it’s really not that. I come to Chicago, I come hang out at the house, we sit, we talk, we’ll write, we’ll record music, I’ll cook, he’ll eat. Like, literally he’s like my brother. Even with his woes, I can have a conversation with him that many people can’t have. And sometimes it’s a stiff one, sometimes it’s a not so stiff one, it’s more playful, but I think everybody needs those relationships in their life. And we literally evolved from the first time that I met him, to coming in to work with him as a background singer and a writer to now we sit and are at a level playing field in that I can say things to him that he may not hear from somebody else. And vice versa. When it was time for him to put out this new record — cuz he’s another one that writes all the time, hundreds and hundreds….he has completed albums that are just done and he said to me “ I have this music and I’m thinking about just putting out this record that just more old school than anything.” And our conversation just went kind of like this with each other. We all know what you’re capable of, we all know that you can do everything that everybody else is doing right now musically, but why not do what you do; the stuff that nobody else can do. I think that he’s one of the few people that are blessed where it doesn’t matter what trends come along with music. We know he can follow the trends. But he also has that very special thing that he can go back and pull out the old stuff. And everybody is not capable of doing that and he did that with this record. He played me the whole album before “When A Woman Loves” even went to radio and I gave him the thumbs up. I played my entire album for him that night and he looked at me and said “I’m mad because you finished it before you got to me. You were supposed to come to Chicago and we were supposed to do something together.” I said we’ll find a spot for you because I can’t put this record out without you. And he told me “You don’t need anything else. Don’t mess with it.” So he digressed and said “Don’t mess with the formula. You have what you need. As bad as I want to be on it, you have what you need.” And that was good for me.
Bossip: As far as writing on other folks projects…who have you been working with?
KP: Well, that’s so funny that you asked. A big part of even doing this new situation with Upfront Megatainment, is in part due to a conversation that I had with Devyne a couple of months ago where he literally was like “Kel when I met you,” (we met each other back in 95 or 96) he was like “yo I can look at the charts and every week I can look on Billboard and your name was on at least like 2 or 3 joints that’s sitting in the top ten as the writer of the song.” He said ‘I don’t know what you’re doing, you started writing for you and stopped writing for everybody else. But I don’t get it. Like what are you doing?’ Literally that’s a big part of even this new partnership, is to get back into writing projects; because I just literally have songs that I write, but they’re just kinda you know…they’re sitting there. And I’m trying to figure out how to fit them into what I’m doing. Or you know sell them for a movie or do whatever. But literally I’ve got the bug. I’ve got the bug. And that’s what friends do to for each other. He kinda cursed me out a little bit, told me off, and then he was like “Ok now that we’re past that point; what are you going to do about all this music that you have, not just sitting around but you just got joints in you. What are you going to do about that?” So that’s what this is about. I actually just finished working with Dave Hollister in the studio last week, who just finished a deal at Upfront Megatainment, he has a record coming later this year. I just finished writing a song and doing a duet with him. There’s a new artist here at Upfront Megatainment named Magic Matthew that I just finished some work on for his new project. And so there are several artists now that I’m just writing for and getting ready to start submitting some music to that have been asking for music. I actually got a call about writing some music for Kristinia Debarge. So there’s a lot that’s coming up and I’m making time to do it. I think there’s enough to do in my day where I can always say “I’m too busy, I’m too busy,” but I love writing so its something that I can make time for and I plan to very much so.
Bossip: Of the younger generation of R&B acts that are coming out right now, is there anybody that moves you or excites you?
KP: I really really love Jazmine Sullivan and I’ve been noted as saying this before. I love her, I love her, I love her, because she sings with so much passion and so much angst and so much soul. And I feel like when I listen to her that I’m almost kind of listening to myself. Not necessarily in the sound, but in that music for her is therapy. Music for me has been therapy. That is a good way for her to just get things out. I like Dondria. I think she’s got an old soul wrapped in a young person’s body and actually I’m looking forward to submitting some material for her. I think that she’s not childish. She’s gon’ hurt somebody in a minute. Like literally she’s already shown us that she can sing. She’s cute, she’s all of those things. There’s a lot more to her. I’m still listening to a lot of old stuff. I think that probably just from this newer, newer regime I really love Dondria. I like Melanie Fiona. You know who I really really like? I like Adele.
Bossip: Oh, Adele is amazing.
KP: She has …Oh my God. Now I would love to write for her. She has the chops of a black girl. If I closed my eyes I would think that I was maybe listening to somebody that sang in the church choir on Sundays. Or in a juke joint. And it’s not pretend. It doesn’t feel like it’s contrived. That’s just simply who she is.