K. Michelle Dishes to JET

Love and Hip Hop star K. Michelle, had a following long before she hit the reality TV airways. In fact, the songstress released three mixtapes and landed on the Billboard charts twice before she even signed on to the popular VH1 show.

Now, with the release of her debut album, Rebellious Soul, and a slew of sold out concerts, the Memphis native’s fan base has definitely multiplied.

The “V.S.O.P.” singer stopped in Chicago for her tour, where she debuted quite the onstage attire, and chatted with JET about what else she has under her sleeve, such her perfume line, a LHHNY spinoff and what she’s expecting for the upcoming holiday season.

JET: You’re in the middle of your Rebellious Soul tour. How exciting is that?

K. Michelle: It is very exciting. I get to go out and see all of my fans, touch hands and just have a good time. The best part I would say is just seeing everybody knowing the words to your album. It’s like “oh, you actually did buy it.” Well, I hope you bought it (laughs), but you know the words. “Can’t Raise a Man” is everybody’s song. They know every word, and they get so excited.

JET: Your album is really good, and you go deep on a lot of songs, like “I Don’t Like Me.” How’d you find the courage to be so open?

KM: People are going to judge you either way. They’re going to judge if you’re not open. They’re going to judge you if you are. So it’s best to be yourself, and either they take it or they don’t.

JET: On your Instagram posts, we see you singing along with Elle Varner and working with Alicia Keys. Can we expect any collaborations to surface soon?

KM: Yes, we can. It’s just a matter of me sitting down to actually do it. Elle played me a record the other day that I absolutely loved and I want to cut it with her, so definitely. I love Elle. And with Alicia Keys, I just did something for her. She has an amazing video about just being a better person and growing as a woman and she’s telling my story through the video. So she called and flew me out, and I was honored.

JET: Who are some of your biggest musical influences?

KM: Alicia Keys is one of them. I would say as always Mary J. Blige, and I love Rascal Flatts. People don’t know I really love them a lot. I just listen to all kinds of music.

JET: What’s one of the biggest messages you want people to take away from your Rebellious Soul album?

KM: We all are human. We all have situations and things that we go through, but it’s just about how you bounce back and overcome those situations. I just want them to hear that I’m just like them. It’s no different. People just see my life on TV.

JET: Speaking of TV, you’ve made the switch from Atlanta to New York on the Love and Hip Hop series. How has New York been treating you thus far?

KM: New York is great. I’m really just a special guest on Love and Hip Hop: New York, not a full cast member. But it’s been going great. I wish I was there. I just got a brand new house. I haven’t even been in it yet, but it’s great.

JET: I hear you are venturing into even more TV. Tell us about that.

KM: I’m working currently on a sitcom. VH1 is basically my home. I’m going to stay there for everything. So with this project, I’m trying to let it go through VH1, and I’m just trying to get everything together. So it’ll be my first real acting gig.

JET: What is the biggest difference between acting and singing for you? And do you like one more than the other?

KM: I’ve always loved singing. I love it. I think I’ve been doing it for so long, but people are like “you’re just getting started.” For me, it feels like forever. And I think it’s time for some other things from me. I’m going to another album, you’ll get to see that album being made on my new reality show. That comes out in 2014. I’m just somewhere else right now.

JET: Will you be in your hometown of Memphis in the reality show?

KM: I’m doing something special with Centric. It’s kind of like a Behind the Music. I’ll be in Memphis for that.

JET: What’s your favorite part about going back home? Will you get a chance to do so for the holidays?

KM: I have to go back. I sneak in and out. My son is there, so my family is still there. I never miss holidays. I miss Thanksgiving, but I never miss Christmas. I’m looking forward to seeing my family and having that down time. I haven’t had one day off.

JET: Will you be doing any cooking?

KM: I hope so. I love to cook. That’s another reason why I wanted a house. I didn’t think my kitchen in the city was big enough. I just look for at least two weeks, where I can kind of just be normal again and cook. I cook everything. I’m a baker, so I love baking.

JET: Besides your album and your TV shows, what else can we expect from you in 2014?

KM: You’ll just see me everywhere, because there’s so much stuff going on. I have a fragrance line that they just gave me to be in Macy’s. There are just a lot of crazy things that came from nowhere, so it’s working. It’s great. I didn’t know it was so much hard work. I literally don’t sleep, but you don’t want to complain. You just want to make it work, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.