By Paul de Revere
As the hook of her breakout single “V.S.O.P.” goes, 2013 has been “very special” for R&B singer K. Michelle.
Particularly with the release of her debut, Rebellious Soul, the Love & Hip Hop star broke orbit from the VH1 reality show that boosted her notoriety as a no-muss, no-fuss personality. So much so that she’s inspired her own forthcoming spin-off, No New Friends.
“That show is about my progression as businesswoman, as a brand,” she said, acknowledging her rise as a solo artist this year.
One listen to Rebellious Soul — which debuted at the top spot of Billboard’s R&B Albums chart and at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 in August — reinforces that sassy, salt-of-the-earth brand. More importantly, what grounds it into something substantial is her #RebelAgainst campaign, an awareness-raising social media initiative in which K. Michelle’s fans speak out against domestic violence, racism, sexism and other social problems as well as personal life issues.
“You can be a rebel without a cause,” Michelle said, referring to her fiery, scorned R&B songs. “I wanted to be a rebel with a cause.”
(Courtesy Atlantic Records)
With that cause and her music, Michelle seems to be doing everything she can to shake herself free from the box of trumped-up, reality TV drama. And with her accomplishments in 2013 and her plans for 2014 so far, it seems to be working. Last month, K. Michelle won Best New Artist at the Soul Train Awards, a nod from one part of the music industry that thinks of her as more than a reality star. Moreover, Michelle is “working on a musical with more details to come soon,” her label, Atlantic Records, confirms to Radio.com.