With each notes she sings, lyric she writes or piano key she strikes, songstress K. Michelle speaks her mind and makes no apologies for it. Taking a vow to stay true to herself, K. Michelle understands that part of being a noteworthy new artist isn’t just possessing talent but having something to say.
“I’m the biggest advocate of being yourself,” says Michelle, who considers music to be her therapy. “People can believe in you all day long, but if you don’t bring it to light or nourish it, it doesn’t matter.” Each song she writes is a soundtrack to a life that started in Memphis, TN. A life that lead to the title of her forthcoming debut album, Pain Medicine, which will be released on Hitz Committee Entertainment.
“Everything that I do is in this album,” says Michelle. “I sing about what I’m going through at the moment. For example, I don’t have any love songs on the album because I’m not in love right now.” K. Michelle doesn’t take for granted the opportunity she has to show the world who she really is—a fighter, a single mother, a true musician. “[Pain Medicine] is my story. If I have this platform it has to be my story.”
The decision to become a singer/songwriter wasn’t an easy one for K. Michelle. Although she earned a musical scholarship to attend Florida A&M University, she eventually switched her major to Biology and toyed with becoming a nurse. “I didn’t want to major in music,” says the 24 year old. However, she never stopped singing. “My whole time at college I played the piano and sang. I even won Miss FAMU.” However, it wasn’t until she graduated college that she decided to make music her main focus.
For several months she toured Asia as a singer with Memphis orchestra Sound Fuzion. Upon her return to Memphis, she took an office job. That didn’t last long. “I got a job in sales. I sat in a cubicle all day. I’d walk around the office singing. That’s when I realized that was not the life for me.” Michelle created a Myspace page and within a week caught the attention of a production company in Atlanta. Seeing this as her big break, she moved to Atlanta with the goal of securing a record deal. But that didn’t happen for another two years.
Thanks to a chance run in with fellow hometown native MeMpHiTz, Michelle got the big break she needed. During a trip to Jive’s New York offices, she spotted MeMpHiTz in the hallway wearing a “901” chain, symbolizing the area code of Memphis. “I introduced myself to him. I had nothing to lose,” remembers Michelle. “He asked me what I was doing there trying to get a record deal without him.” A week later, now under the Hitz Committee Entertainment, K. Michelle wowed executives and received a deal. “God knew I needed somebody that could understand my struggle and develop me into a better artist. MeMpHiTz is the best person to work with me.”
K. Michelle connection with MeMpHiTz has a lot to do with their ties to Memphis, TN. “Memphis is a rough city. I thank the city, because it toughened me so much.” It’s that toughness that pours out in her debut album Pain Medicine. On it, K. Michelle writes and co-produces every track, making her album very personal. “I can’t fake music. I sing about what I’m going through at that moment.” The album’s buzz single “Self Made” has turned into a surprise hit, striking a chord with women thanks to its call for self-empowerment.
While her single bangs in the club, Michelle is putting the finishing touches on the album, teaming with producers Salaam Remi, Drumma Boy, Elvis, Cool & Dre, Rico Love, Lil Ronnie, Platinum Brothers and Harvey Mason Jr. “It was very important for me to work with people that my energy connected with.” She describes her writing process as starting with one simple question: How am I feeling today?
One thing that K. Michelle cherishes is her five year old son, Chase. “I’m very proud to be a single mother.” She understands that her new career means she isn’t the typical mother but looks forward to creating a life that her and her son can enjoy. Another side of K. Michelle that might surprise some people—she is a big fan of country music and even yodels. “As a little girl, I had the same vocal coach as Justin Timberlake. My coach introduced me to country music and I still love it to this day.”
Determined not to be forced into a box, K. Michelle wants her music to be accepted for what it is—her truth. “I’m offering honest music.”