Since her aptly titled debut album, Rebellious Soul, K. Michelle has consistently offered her fans her pain, her desires, her challenges and her love without a filter …and she’s ok with that. For almost a decade K. Michelle has been a vocalist whose imprint and contribution to R&B is in alignment with not only her influences but singers whose artistry has the ability to connect to the listener’s soul. K. Michelle’s body of work is a testament to her experiences over time and a sonic journal that has chronicled her growth. Past aside, she is presently poised to speak her latest truth on her self proclaimed last R&B project, I’m the Problem.
Like most artists with a storied career, K. Michelle’s triumphs have been predicated by the challenges. Because she meets every obstacle head on, she chose a title that is a self-assessment of her juxtaposition between addressing the music business and the music being a vehicle for her personal bizness. I’m the Problem isn’t an emotional tweet. It boldly frames what she has now come to understand as her vantage point as she enters the next chapter of her career and her life. I’m the Problem is an affirmation. And much like she started her career, she continues to stand in her confidence while laying her heart bare to have a conversation with her fans about why being the problem isn’t always a negative. It’s self-care.
The lead single Scooch, which is her first #1 on the UAC, is a mid-tempo and playful song that speaks to love from a place of innocence reminiscent of the warm feeling that exists in a relationship. K. Michelle sits in the butterflies of newness with a maturity in knowing what she wants from someone she desires. There’s a hopefulness for what love can become. Whereas on Blame Yourself the song is the reality of being let down by the one you were foolishly in love with. Among all the heartbreak and disappointment, she introduces the possibility that whatever she is feeling is not anyone’s fault but her own. It is here where an aspect of the album title places her and the listener on the couch of introspection. There’s a courageous cynicism that is accepting something her heart is singing as her mind is coming to grips with. The awakening that exists makes This Man an appropriate song to confront the possibility of wanting someone who doesn’t belong to her. There is no more innocence. Passion is ok. Love no longer has boundaries.
The rollercoaster of emotions connected to relationships as well as her independent desires is where K. Michelle delivers her honesty and authenticity of spirit. I’m the Problem cements what her fans remember and grew to love about her artistry. It is not just about her vocal talent but K. Michelle’s ability to make you feel.
“I feel like this album, I was able to give them exactly the K Michelle that they remember and grew to love to the one now. It shows growth, but it shows the same honesty, and it shows the topics and things that they come to me for as an artist. I have to be honest.” ~K. Michelle
However, her feelings are equally important as she confronts the summation of her career as an R&B artist on Same Damn Show. There is a duality that exists in the content that addresses what is expected of her and within her lane as an artist. What is and always will be from what she has known is no longer enough. The power of her voice accentuates the weight of complacency and demand to grow as a woman and as an artist. She will no longer accept the status quo. It is her swan song to R&B and to convention.
The outro, Tennessee, offers a palatable transition from what she has done in R&B to her next venture as a singer of country music. The production flips Arrested Development’s chart topping single of the same name. Although this song may not be a reflection of what is to come beyond this album, it is purposeful in showcasing another aspect of who K. Michelle truly is and has always been.
Regardless of what the next album is defined as, I'm the Problem is unapologetically R&B. It is among the lexicon of what happens when an artist can write about life over instrumentation. Through this offering K. Michelle, simply being Kimberly Michelle, is an alpha female and a country girl who idolizes Dolly Parton and Whitney Houston, loves Morgan Wallen, cries to Mary J. Blige’s music and wants her fans to feel good about the music she makes. No matter what people call it, blame her for making you feel something because at the end of the day she knows she is here to be the solution.