Multi-talented entertainer KeKe Palmer has been gracing the small and big screen with her acting chops since her debut film role in “Barbershop 2: Back in Business” as the niece of rapper and actress Queen Latifah’s character. However, as an evolving, effervescent 22-year-old, the star of “Grease: Live!” has decided to turn her attention to her music career which has been evolving right along with her acting work. In a recent sit down with Nessa from New York’s Hot 97 radio station, the versatile actress talked about her excitement about her new music and album, dealing with depression, her sexuality and so much more. Check out some highlights from the interview:
On whether she likes music or acting more:
It’s hard to say. I started doing acting professionally when I was 9. I started singing professionally when I was 12. But I’ve been doing both all my life. It’s hard to say. I don’t really think I can pick between but I can say that right now I’m really ready to experience more of the music because I’ve been doing more of the acting for the last 9 years.
On the public’s and her peers’ excitement for her foray into music:
It really is awesome and for me, it’s a testament to that message. Yes it’s me and I’m doing this but it’s that message that is most powerful to me that I wanna show my peers. Look ya’ll, I’m not a special person. I’m not no crazy, different type of individual. I’m just believing in myself. On any scale I want to express that creativity, I’m gonna do it whether you’re expecting it or not.
On her upcoming album and its release date:
I wanted it to be exemplary of everything that the people may age are going through. What the kids are experiencing: their sexuality, being free in their sexuality, making their own decisions, anxiety, pressure. What is love? Is it an action or is it a sentiment? Just all those different things and being told with different vibes. We might be bumpin’, we might be jumpin’ and sometimes, it may be a little more alternative, a lil bit more melancholy. I’m learning all these different flavors of myself as I’ve been going through this album. You can expect this album in September. I will tell you that my A&R, Sam, we’re the ones that are tryna push it out so freakin’ fast! I have ‘Enemiez’ [with Jeremih] out right now. Very excited about that. It’s really gonna be kicked into gear into radio at the end of this month so I’m excited about that.
On her trailblazing role as “Cinderella” on Broadway:
When I auditioned for the Broadway musical version, I was not really sure that I would get it. I don’t have much theater background. I sing and I act but Broadway is a whole different thing so I was very nervous. Through that I realized that I was gon’ be the first to ever play Cinderella on Broadway as African-American. It had never been done before. That was a really crazy surprise. I grew up watching Brandy do it but I never realized that no one [African-American] had ever done it on Broadway. It was a life-changing experience. It really was a time where I got bonded closer to myself. I went in thinking one thing…and putting all these limits on myself. Through the experience, I broke down a lot of those walls and became closer to who I was because of it.
On hanging out with TLC’s Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas and working on the TLC movie for VH1:
We talked after I got the role. Once I got the part, we started to talk. I mean sleepovers at the crib. It was like I was fan girl but I was tryna be an acTOR at the same time! Ok, I’m here getting research but really girl, tell me what it was like with Usher. I was having a blast. [We] did the movie very quickly. I don’t think people realized how quickly we had to learn all that. We literally did it in, like, less than a month if not a month. It was dope because they kept a lot of their memorabilia so a lot of the costumes we wore were original costumes that they had worn.
The Internet went crazy back in October 2015 when Palmer kissed Diddy’s longtime girlfriend Cassie on Snapchat.
You’ll also remember that Cassie is featured right at the end of the video for Palmer’s song “I Don’t Belong to You” where both are provocatively dressed in lingerie. She mentioned how she was “low-key nervous” around Diddy whenever she saw him because of that infamous kiss. Nessa asked Palmer if she would date a girl:
Absolutely. Where love is, that’s where I’m going. That’s what I’m about. It’s not about all that other stuff. It’s just about love. So if that’s a girl, great. If that’s a guy, great. It doesn’t really matter to me.
Palmer also mentioned that she was gearing up to write her first book and talked to Nessa about the struggles of being a child actor:
As a child actor, you experience a lot of depression. You experience a lot of anxiety. You’re always comparing yourself. It’s not a pity party. It’s a ‘this is what I’ve gone through and this is what I found out afterwards.’ Yes, I went through depression and it was not comfortable. Yes, I struggle with anxiety and being paranoid and tryna figure out who I am and I still go through those things today but guess what? All it is are thoughts. These are thoughts. They come into your head and come out of your head and they go. These aren’t real limitations.
Watch the full interview below.
-By Liz Cook