K. Michelle: Music Doesn’t Lie

A lot of times with music, we put on our headphones and listen for that catchy tune or that rocking beat.  Our musical preferences, sometimes, can be summed up to how the pitch of the song sounds.  Is it a high tempo song, because I would definitely like that!  Or maybe I would prefer some classical with a nice melody to it.  But then again, music is good for just expressing yourself and singing about your emotions.  And for that, we turn to the lyrics of the song.  Kimberly Michelle Pate, a.k.a. K. Michelle, has proven through her music that vocalizing your emotions in your lyrics is a beautiful thing.  Ever since arriving on the scene and becoming a hip-hop artist and television personality, Michelle has produced music that doesn’t create fibs, but instead, tells us what she’s feeling deep down.  Unfortunately, this “I’m going to say what I want and I don’t care what you think,” attitude has created plenty of controversy surrounding her career.  While the problems that she faced are still happening to this day, Michelle is pushing through and looking to focus on her career, rather than her personal problems.

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Michelle has had plenty of issues come up in the past couple of years.  Whether it’s her beef with Lil’ Kim, her relationship problems with Idris Elba or just the constant attacks by Lil’ Kim’s unrelenting fans, she has definitely gone through her share of drama.  There were also rumors about her bleaching her skin to appear lighter, and then, getting implants and plastic surgery to look better, with only the latter being proven as true. As of late, she has learned to accept all of her flaws and issues and directs those thoughts to improving her outlook.  Sometimes you have to remember what it is you want to do.  It isn’t about the other people because they don’t even know you, let alone know what you’ve been through in life.  And that is exactly what Michelle did.

At an early age, Michelle learned to strum the guitar and play the piano, two skills that she still uses to this day.  In her hometown of Memphis, Tennessee, she took up songwriting and quickly began to realize that she wanted singing lessons.  Bob Westbrook, a talented singing instructor who taught top singers like Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears, became her instructor and she shot off towards a goal of becoming a future singer and songwriter.  She even attended Florida A&M University on a music scholarship after she yodeled at auditions and stunned the judges.  Her future was bright at a very young age, and after completing college and earning a degree, she ran for her finish line.

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It was in 2009 that Michelle first became known to the music industry. She signed a record deal with Jive Records, a record label under RCA Music Group, now known as RCA Records.  Shortly after, she released her debut single, “Fakin’ It,” on the R&B Charts.  Her time with Jive Records only lasted for about three years, but in that time, she managed to release three more singles after her debut.  “I Just Can’t Do This,” “How Many Times,” and “Fallin’,” made it out onto the shelves, but the musician didn’t gain much recognition for any of the songs.  It wasn’t until she left the record label and pursued a television career that her music career became a hit.

Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta, the spin-off of the famous Love & Hip Hop, is a VH1 reality television series that focuses on the lives of men and women in Atlanta that make a career in hip-hop music.  She was noted because of her quick temper and her edgy attitude, something that most of the people on Love & Hip Hop have.  However, critics began to find those traits irritable when exhibited by Michelle.

Regardless, her fan base grew after she made her appearance, and she went through until the end of the 2nd season, only leaving because she went to join Love & Hip Hop’s New York production.  She has gone through several reality TV shows, leaving an impact on them all because of her edgy attitude and her confidence, some calling it cockiness.  She joined the original broadcast, Love & Hip Hop after leaving the Atlanta production, and she also surfaced on a single episode of Punk’d, a reality TV show that pranks celebrities.  She even started her own reality show, K. Michelle: My Life, with its second season starting just about a week ago.   Michelle’s numerous TV appearances have earned her respect and praise from her die-hard fans throughout the world.

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Possibly Michelle’s most notable achievement was when she released her delayed debut album, Rebellious Soul, receiving a tremendous amount of commercial success.  The album earned a #2 spot on the US R&B/Hip-Hop Chart in 2013, but better than that, Rebellious Soul won the #1 spot on the Billboard 200 in the same year.  The success of her album led to Idris Elba, a Golden Globe nominee and her future partner at the time, to direct Rebellious Soul The Musical, a play that was solely based around the experiences that Michelle described throughout her album.  Unsurprisingly, the album is still recognized as a foothold for Michelle’s strong-going career.

In an interview with Ken Simmons, a writer for The Boombox, Michelle said, “I’m the black Taylor Swift.  If I can’t write a song about you, I’m not going to date you.  I always write about who I am dating.”  She goes on to say, “I want to sing about what’s going on in my life.  It’s a part of me.  That’s why people relate to me.”  Indeed, Taylor Swift is known for her songs that are directed at current or past relationships, and she has built a solid career around that.  Michelle seems to be going that same way.  Her music has captured our attention through its directness and passionate themes.  Instead of using comparisons and lyrics that would make us think, Michelle wants to tell us what she’s experienced, and the way she does it flows very well.   If the past couple of years are any indication, I can say that her music will definitely push her career towards the top.

Michelle’s music has always followed suit to her idea of being a “black Taylor Swift.”  Whether she’s bashing on boyfriends in the past for their financial problems and lack of common sense, or if she’s actually praising a guy for doing something right (which is very rare), her songs always consist of her talking about a man who has made some sort of impact in her life while they were together.  Honestly, I could never see how musicians like Michelle and Swift handle it, but it it makes Michelle happy and continues to strengthen her music, can we really complain?

When asked what makes Michelle happy in an interview with Ericka Goodman, a writer for the popular, African-American magazine, Ebony, Michelle said, “Having complete peace of mind and getting my business in order.  I have a scripted show in the works.  I’m also collaborating with Scott-Young to develop a remake of the reality show Cheaters.  Additionally, I plan to move to London; they really embrace me there.  I also hope to have another child within the next two years, even if it’s via adoption.  Motherhood is such a great thing.  Ultimately, I just want to get to a place where I’ll be happy and let my money work for me.”  While Michelle may have her flaws in and out of the music industry, she still provides amazing songwriting and singing for us to listen to.

-Te’Ron Adams