We recently had the chance to speak to singer Kelly Price about how she managed to get through a very personally turbulent year. During our conversation, she spoke about both extending and receiving grace. See what she had to say below.
MadameNoire: This past year has been a lot for everybody but specifically for you in the loss of your mother and your grandfather. So what have you been doing to get through?
Kelly Price: To be totally transparent, in between days when I just couldn’t get out of the bed and fits of crying, there were days in between when I would have amazing memories. I tried to balance that out so I didn’t turn into this person who was having psychotic episodes. I tried to normalize my life as much as possible. And that was leaning in creatively. I would just write, write, write.
I had been teasing new music and then 2020 happened to all of us. And I really was forced to get through the year by leaning harder into my faith than at probably any other time of my life.
And my writing shifted. The things that were coming out of me were what was soothing to my soul. I was literally answering the things that needed to be answered in the music.
My new single, “Grace” is literally a meditation between me and God because when I lost my sister in 2014, I was angry at God. And I went down a really dark hole. I was still on the road, I was still doing shows. But every night, without fail, I would get back to the hotel, I would drink until I was drunk, pass out in the bed and there were some mornings that I woke up and I was in a pool of my own vomit. I packed on almost 100 pounds in the year following my sister’s death.
A year to the day of my sister’s death, I was in Chicago and I remember looking in the mirror and I burst into tears, ‘I was like what have you done to yourself?’ And I had this moment. I prayed and I said, ‘God, if you help me get it together, if you help me get it back, if you just tell me what to do, I will get it together and come back better than ever.”
What that looked like for me was putting my big girl panties on and making some hard decisions. I had lost my sister. I had been in a marriage for almost 25 years that did not serve me well. I was not being appreciated, loved or respected. I understood I was just a means to an end. Not to disrespect my ex-husband because we have children and grandchildren together, I’m just speaking the truth.
I didn’t feel beautiful, I didn’t feel wanted. I didn’t feel like I was worth much of anything. So I had to dig in and really find the place that let me know that I was all of that and then some.
I can’t even say I got Kelly back because if I’m to tell the truth, I never really knew who Kelly was. I grew up a church girl, a preacher’s kid. There were expectations of me. There was already enough of a controversy with me being an R&B singer. I got pregnant when I was 18-years-old and coming from the family that I came from, it wasn’t a question. ‘You’re getting married.’ So, I’m married. I never learned who Kelly was. I never dated, I didn’t know what I liked or disliked.
I started to live life to find out who Kelly was from 2015 to 2020. And when I thought, I was going to put out an R&B album, I started losing friends and family and then my grandfather. We get all the way to the end of the year and when I think nothing else can happen, I get a phone call saying, ‘Your mother is gone.’
So it really took me to dig my heels in deep because I did not want to downward spiral the way I did when my sister died. I knew that wasn’t an option. So I was really intentional about what I even watched on tv. I watched a lot of T.D. Jakes. I was intentional about what I fed my spirit.
And what came out of that was this album. I get to talk about Grace, which is what we called my baby sister. “Grace” couldn’t have come at a more timely if you ask me because we’re now living in a world of cancel culture. I am one who believes in accountability but we’re all going to need grace at some point. So when we’re in the moment where we want to go hard on somebody, we need to remember that grace is not only available to us when we need it, it’s available to everybody.
I like to use grace as my counter-culture word.
MadameNoire: Recently, I heard Lil Mo say that you all were able to mend your relationship after being on “R&B Divas” together. How were you able to get to that place?
Kelly Price: I believe every lady, if she wants to speak on it, will say, ‘Yes, a lot of it was production. Agitated. Instigated.” Some of us agreed to do more than others. But for me, I’m always open to that conversation. I had a concert and Lil Mo was a part of that concert as well. We stayed at the same hotel. I could tell that she wanted to speak to me but was a little apprehensive. So I spoke to her first. And I was like, ‘Hi, it’s really good to see you.’ And she kind of looked at me. And I said, ‘It’s good to see you.’ I grabbed her and I hugged her.
After the show, I said, ‘Hey, if you’re not tired, let’s meet down at the restaurant. Let’s have a drink and have something to eat. Let’s talk a little bit. And we had a really good conversation. I understood the pressure that everybody was dealing with on that set. I will never disclose what I know because every single lady, whether I knew them before we started the show or not, came to me to sit and talk. I literally told every lady there, whatever you need to do for your family, I can’t judge that. So don’t worry what it is that I think about it. Do what you need to do to feed your family. I did say ‘If what they need you to do is bust a bottle of wine over my head, can you please just shoot me a text before I come to set?’
We had an amazing conversation. There were tears and apologies. I told her, ‘I never hated you.’ I had to let that be what it was until the right time came to have that conversation.
Looking back, we were used. But it’s water under the bridge. If the opportunity ever comes up again, now we know. So that was an incredible moment.
I recently just filmed something with Chante Moore. We were together for about a week. And she took a moment and she grabbed me. She said, ‘I have to tell you, I really, really appreciate you always being you even when you weren’t treated right.’ I looked at her and I said, ‘We’re good.’ And she said, ‘No, I have to say this. You actually never changed the way you treated anybody even when you should have done it and I appreciate you for that.’
The new music
Kelly Price: Tell everybody to have a new song to dance to at their wedding reception. Because just like every R&B album had a worship song or a praise song so people would remember I’m a church girl. This inspirational Motown release has a party record.
Grace is available on all platforms now. You can listen to the single below.