A Moment with K. Michelle: All About Her New Album, All Monsters Are Human, Industry Lessons, and Her Country Music Career
To her Memphis-sewn core, she’s Kimberly Michelle Pate, but to the world, she’s been accomplished R&B singer-songwriter K. Michelle for the past decade or more.
Organically, we grew to cherish K. Michelle’s Southern-rooted vocals, which could glide over any beat like butter on a biscuit. Her rhythm, her flow, her penmanship; her smooth-yet-sassy style of artistry was, and still is, unparalleled. When we were first introduced to her sound, it was one that we’d never heard before but wanted to keep hearing. It was a sound that we could relate to, one that we could feel. It was a sound that we all knew too well: pain.
Through her craft, K. Michelle wasn’t afraid to admit her struggles, which gave us a reason to admire her strength. Musically, she did it in such a raw way that we had no choice but to appreciate the realness that lied within each and every song lyric.
From that first Missy Elliott-featured single, “Fakin It,” to “Fallin’,” “I Just Can’t Do This,” “How Many Times,” “V.S.O.P,” “Can’t Raise a Man,” and even her iconic heartbreak anthem, “Love ‘Em All,” from early on K. Michelle never failed to deliver powerful records that will forever be number one to her fans.
Six mixtapes and almost five albums later, K. Michelle continues staying true to herself. However, where she courageously showed us pain, she also showed us pleasure. Her latest singles, “The Rain” and “Supahood,” featuring Kash Doll and City Girls’ Yung Miami, are raunchy, seductive medleys that lightheartedly touch on intimacy and sexual liberation.
The chart-topping tracks both derive from her newest album, All Monsters Are Human, released on January 31st, where K. Michelle does what she knows how to do best: tell it like it is. All Monsters Are Human serves as K. Michelle’s first full-length release in nearly three years—her last being 2017’s Kimberly: The People I Used to Know.
Earlier this month, her latest mixtape, Not 1 F*ck Given, became available on digital platforms. The fifteen-track project was an instant hit, prepping the #Rebels for the unveiling of her All Monsters Are Human.
An entertainer, a reality star, and a businesswoman—she has seen it all and done it all. Now, she’s back in the booth to speak her truth, and we are all ears.
We recently sat down with K. Michelle to talk about All Monsters Are Human, her country music career, and what she’s learned over the years.
Check out our exclusive interview below!
Parlé Mag: Talk to us about your new album, All Monsters Are Human. What’s the backstory behind the title?
K. Michelle: Well, I feel like we all are considered a villain in somebody’s story and we’re an angel in somebody’s story. Nobody is just perfectly innocent to everybody in the world. So, we shouldn’t judge as much because we all are human and we all make mistakes.
Parlé Mag: That’s so true!
K. Michelle: People see us in different ways.
Parlé Mag: Looking back on your life and career, what would you say this body of work represents for you and your journey?
K. Michelle: I would say, this body of work means a lot to my journey. This is the first album I’ve dropped since the surgeries and after everything [that happened]. So, I wanted to give my fans a real R&B album first… before the country album, that they could relate to.
Parlé Mag: I think one of the amazing things about your craft is that it’s so versatile, and it’s kind of a mixture of all genres. With that said, which K. Michelle can we expect to get on All Monsters Are Human?
K. Michelle: You’ll get all of them! You’ll get what you started [listening to my music] for, what you come to me for. It’s no different; it’s still there.
Parlé Mag: Awesome! You’ve spoken candidly about your interest in doing country music in the past. Could you give us an update on that? Is this something that you’re currently pursuing?
K. Michelle: Yes, it is! I’m about to start working on the album. I’ve talked to Billy Ray Cyrus, Chris Stapleton–just people who have been supportive, who are in the genre. It’s great to know that everybody isn’t racist and against me and I do have supporters.
Parlé Mag: You’ve been in the music game for over a decade now. During that time, I’m sure you’ve seen the evolution of it as well. So, how have you managed to stay creatively sharp and true to your sound, even in an industry that tries to force you to conform to the new-age wave?
K. Michelle: I don’t pay attention much, so a lot of times I don’t even know what the industry’s “norm” is or what it is. [laughs]
Parlé Mag: I feel you! [laughs]
K. Michelle: I really kind of don’t care. So, I don’t know what’s going on. I just know, when I do listen, it’s not what I think it could be. It’s not like the music where people were actually singing. Now, they’re just moaning.
Parlé Mag: [laughs] Well, it’s good that you stay in your own lane!
K. Michelle: Yes! I stay in my lane, and that’s making music. I thought that was everybody’s lane, to actually make music! [laughs]
Parlé Mag: It should be!
K. Michelle: [laughs]
Parlé Mag: I love how transparent you’ve been about your struggles, in your music and even in the media. You’ve not only talked about the heartbreaks you’ve endured with men, but you’ve also talked about the hardships you’ve endured with fame.
Nowadays, a woman, especially one of color, can’t be vocal about her trials and tribulations without someone wanting to attach the ‘angry Black woman’ stigma to her name, which I find extremely unfair.
Why do you think that is? And why do you think this frustrating misconception has been associated with you for so long?
K. Michelle: Oh, I don’t care! Because I’m going to say what I want to say and not what they want to hear. If you say something, you’re wrong; if you don’t, you’re still wrong. Whatever you do, it’s always going to be wrong [in this business].
Parlé Mag: Exactly! I agree.
K. Michelle: So, you just might as well say what you need to say!
Parlé Mag: You’ve had an impressive amount of success. However, I can imagine that, through living the lifestyle that you live, a lot of pressure comes with it.
Would you say that being in the limelight ever made you lose sight of your artistry at some point? If so, how did you regain focus and get back to why you truly started doing music in the first place?
K. Michelle: I think if you’re supposed to do something, you’re supposed to do it. It comes naturally. That’s really what happened. It’s naturally what I’m supposed to be doing. So, I didn’t have a choice but to get back into it. It’s who I am; it’s not a gimmick for me.
Parlé Mag: Well, you’ve done a great job at that!
K. Michelle: Thank you!
Parlé Mag: What’s an important lesson that you’ve learned along the way that you think would’ve saved you some heartache and hard times if you’d learned it at the beginning of your career?
K. Michelle: Oooooh! Just to know that you’re never going to be good enough for some people. They don’t like who they are; it has nothing to do with you. It’s always going to be something [that they don’t like]! You just have to understand that who you are has nothing to do with people’s something.
Parlé Mag: So, let’s switch gears for a moment. In the recent season of Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood, you sort of scaled back from the camera and didn’t have a lot of scenes. Do you plan on returning to the show for next season?
K. Michelle: No, I’m not returning back.
Parlé Mag: No? Oh, gosh. That sucks because you were my favorite on the show! So, it’ll be sad to see you go.
K. Michelle: [laughs] It’s time to go! And I’m okay with that.
Parlé Mag: I definitely believe that everything has a season and sometimes, that season is up! I wish you the best.
K. Michelle: Thank you! I appreciate that.
Parlé Mag: No problem! You’ve been in reality TV for a while–with the Love & Hip Hop franchise and even your own spin-off. Has there ever been a part of you that regretted putting your life on screen for the world to see? Would you say it tarnished your image?
K. Michelle: Hmmm, no. It would’ve been something else. It’ll always be something, so, no, I don’t think it tarnished anything.
Parlé Mag: When it’s all said and done, how do you want the world to remember K. Michelle?
K. Michelle: As a real artist. As a person who was always sincere. As a person who stood for exactly what they believed in. That’s how I would want the world to remember me!
Parlé Mag: Aside from touring and releasing your latest mixtape, Not 1 F*ck Given, you’re also gearing up for your new Lifetime series about the effects of silicone injections! How did that come about and what do you want viewers to take from this project?
K. Michelle: I want to save some lives. I want them to understand that they don’t have to do that in order to be in this industry or in order to be loved. I want to help a group of young women who might not understand that.
Parlé Mag: I appreciate your honesty because a lot of people aren’t so candid about silicone injections. So, I really respect that.
K. Michelle: Always! I have to be.
Parlé Mag: Looking forward to the future, what else do you have in store for 2020?
K. Michelle: I’m just working and grinding! A lot of business is going on. The country album will come out after All Monsters Are Human. That’s something I’ve been waiting for, for years and years. So, to finally be able to do it is pretty cool! My fans are going to love it, and I’m excited. Stay tuned!
Catch up with K. Michelle on social media!
Readers Might Also Like: