K. Michelle Talks Rebellious Soul Musical, R. Kelly & Redefining Her Sound

K. Michelle [Photo: Atlanta Records]

Tonight K. Michelle: The Rebellious Soul Musical premieres featuring the Love & Hip Hop Atlanta favorite in her first major acting role. VH1 chatted recently with the musician about doing things her own way, not getting advice from R. Kelly and what acting means to her.

VH1: So the K. Michelle: The Rebellious Soul Musical premieres Tuesday. Why a musical and why now?

K. Michelle: Well, [the album] Rebellious Soul came out a year ago and I wanted to present it in a different manner. I wanted it to be a conversation piece. I wanted people to see more detail – what this album was about. So what better way to commemorate, you know, your very first album than to team up with VH1; team up with Idris [Elba] and Atlantic Records and get it done.

So we get to see a different side of K. in the musical – you’re acting! Is that something you’re passionate about? Something you want to do more of?

I’m doing it! I’m working on some things, as far as a sitcom for me. I’m really into acting because it’s something I loved to do. You know, certain actors [are like,] ‘Oh, no, you’re funny. You have to act.’ I’ve looked up to Jamie Foxx and the first day he met me, he said, ‘No more reality [television], you gotta do scripted.’ And I was like, ‘Okay, maybe both.’ [Laughs]

The musical has drawn comparisons to Trapped in the Closet and R. Kelly, famously, was a mentor of yours. Did you get any advice from him or did he have any input?

No, I don’t speak to him anymore. He liked to go around and say he had sex and stuff with me. When he was my mentor, I did take a lot from that and pay attention. When looking at Trapped in the Closet– it was an amazing creative idea, and no one can take away what a genius he is – but I wanted to step it up with texture and how this is shot – so clean. They didn’t want it to look bootleg or anything. I say it’s better than Trapped in the Closet.

Whose career do you like up to now? What kind of career do you imagine K. Michelle to have at the end of the day?

I completely look at Pink’s career and admire it so much because she knew who she was. This is my second record deal, I was on Jive Records and I felt like they wanted me to be something and do things that weren’t me. At Atlantic Records [they’re] like, ‘Go for it, do whatever.’ I just want to go down as someone that people look at and say ‘it’s not how you start, it’s really how you finish and we can see that in her career.’

So, you’re working on your sophomore album? What can you tell us about it? What can we expect?

What people don’t seem to know about me is – it’s the fact that I am a classically trained pianist and play guitar and produce and compose. African American females really, really love me and listen to me. And that’s been my focus for so long, but I feel like pain and hurt and growth and real life has no color. And I’ve been determining, with this album, that the record that I am writing and composing can play on every format of radio and touch every single person. Not just gender-based, not just ethnicity but just great music overall. So this album—I was determined, I was not going to be boxed and I was going to touch everybody. I have an amazing country record. I have an amazing acoustic record on this album and it’s not all over the place. It actually flows, because we need to understand that all music—good music is good music and there’s no genre for it.

K. Michelle: The Rebellious Soul Musical airs Tuesday at 10 PM ET/PT on VH1.