The country duo The Judds has always been a favorite of R&B singer K. Michelle.
In a recent interview from Atlanta, where she is “building out” a new restaurant, the 40-year-old says, “I saw them on Oprah.” “Love Can Build a Bridge” was the first song I bought. I didn’t hear anything else.”
But when K. Michelle was just starting out in music, the Tennessee native says she never thought it was possible for a Black woman like herself to make a living singing country music.
The former cast member of VH1’s Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta remembers, “Basically, I was told that R&B was the only way, or at least the easiest way.” “So, I did just that. But I always felt a little bit of loneliness and sadness because I couldn’t do what I knew I should do.”
But don’t get the wrong idea: K. Michelle‘s dream of making a country record never went away. “Country music is who I am,” says K. Michelle, who in 2018 had several surgeries to fix silicone injections all over her body. “It will always be a problem for you if you have to live your life pretending to be someone else.”
A few years ago, when K. Michelle saw Blanco Brown‘s “The Git Up” go viral and become a huge hit in country music, it made her want to go back home to a state and style of music that she had always loved.
She moved back to Tennessee in 2021 because “the people around me told me it was time to live.” “I just had been feeling so empty. I moved to Nashville, and it turned out to be the best thing I’ve ever done. I could live there, and my parents live just up the street.”
Now that she is in Music City, K. Michelle is hanging out with some of the best country music artists, like Morgan Wallen and ERNEST, who wrote and sang the hit song “Flower Shops.”
K. Michelle, who is on her I’m the Problem tour, says, “He’s one of my best friends in the music business.” “He wrote most of the songs on my new country album with me.”
Justin Champagne is another artist who is now working with K. Michelle. He is on her first official country music release, “Country Love Song,” which premiered on PEOPLE and was written by Andrew Jackson and Tredall Rener.
K. Michelle of Champagne laughs and says, “I thought he was cute.” “When I first heard “Country Love Song,” I knew right away that this was going to be great. I love him on it because it’s a great change.”
K. Michelle is easing her way into the genre, and she knows that everyone is watching and listening. “I’m a new country artist, so it’s kind of like starting over,” says K. Michelle, who just put out I’m the Problem, her last R&B album. “I knew it was important for both of us that my singing was good and that I really felt the song.”
But the Black women who have already made it in the country music scene may be her biggest fans and confidantes.
“People like Mickey Guyton have been fighting for so long,” says K. Michelle, who now wants to be known in the country music scene as “Puddin.” “I really admire her for what she did. I also worked with Brittney Spencer at my house. We made a record together. And it is great to see how well they are both doing.”