A Quick Catch-Up With: Keri Hilson
Following the success of her 'No Boys Allowed' album, Keri Hilson is set to undergo her first headlining UK tour next month. The Grammy-nominated 'Pretty Girl Rock' singer recently had a chat with The Wrap Up’s Vanessa Laker to talk about the upcoming show, why she loves Adele and British music so much, being overlooked by the VMAs and much more...
The Wrap Up: Hi Keri! So, you’re gearing up for your first ever UK tour. Are you looking forward to it?
Keri Hilson: Hi! I’m absolutely looking forward to it. But I don’t consider it my first, because I went out with Ne-Yo on a UK tour. It was a UK only tour and we did the 02 and other venues – it was really good. So I feel like this is my second tour, but my first time headlining.
TWU: And what have you got in store for your UK fans? Can you give us any little exclusives?
Keri Hilson: Well, I don’t like to give anything away, but I can say it’s very aggressive, like my album is. It’s also very engaging, especially for the women.
TWU: Sounds good! You’ve got two UK acts, Angel and Starboy Nathan, supporting you. Are you a fan of British music?
Keri Hilson: I am. Adele and Amy Winehouse, I listen to religiously.
TWU: In general, British music is becoming very successful over in the US. Jessie J and Adele both performed at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards, which was amazing. Why do you think that American audiences are buying into British music now?
Keri Hilson: Well, I can’t say they weren’t in the past. You know, Amy Winehouse had huge success here in the US, so did Craig David...
TWU: Very true, but now we’re seeing a lot more UK acts have success across the pond, whereas before it was just one or two...
Keri Hilson: I think that it’s possibly because you guys are bringing a certain soul that I had never heard until recently. I don’t know if there’s a wave of that kind of music happening there. Meanwhile, there’s a lack of soul going on in US music. I feel that those (British) artists are filling that gap. We’re allowing that music to come in because it’s filling a void that US music is lacking, which is soul. We’ve become very party-oriented.
TWU: It’s kind of like a role reversal...
Keri Hilson: Exactly! I don’t know if that kind of music always existed there, or it’s just now being heard by us. When you think about R&B and soul music – even neo-soul – it’s a dying breed over here in the States. Artists that were once huge – Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Bilal, Angie Stone and all those type of artists – it’s really not the same. We don’t really put out many artists like Maxwell, although he did have a great resurgence. But overall, that kind of music isn’t as popular anymore.
TWU: Going back to the VMAs for a second, on the night of the ceremony you tweeted something pretty interesting. You wrote: ‘Oh, how I wish my ‘Pretty Girl Rock’ video was worthy of a VMA nomination.’ Do you feel as though you were kind of overlooked by the VMAs?
Keri Hilson: Erm, well, it was a joke first of all, but maybe there was a little bit of truth in it (laughs). I mean, I put in a lot of hard work into that video and I wish that it had gotten a mention or a nomination – of course I do. So yeah, there’s some truth in that joke but I didn’t mean it as seriously as some people took it. I was enjoying the show from my hotel.
TWU: I guess that’s the problem with text, you can’t always see the tone of a joke, so it can easily be misinterpreted...
Keri Hilson: That’s why my next tweet was something like, ‘Oh! I’m sorry. You didn’t detect my sarcasm?’ (Laughs)
TWU: Twitter is a great way for artists and people in the public eye to directly connect with their fans. How important is something like Twitter for you?
Keri Hilson: I love Twitter. I’m very sarcastic in my normal speaking, but since Twitter, I’ve realised how many different ways people can take one phrase and they can take it out of context, in like 20 million ways. So that’s a little disheartening about Twitter, but overall, I love the direct access I get. Like, I know a lot of my major fans by name and that’s really cool.
TWU: You’ve got a new single out called, ‘Lose Control’. Tell us a bit about that song...
Keri Hilson: ‘Lose Control’ is produced by Stargate and I featured Nelly on it. We did a little trade-off, I’m on his song and he worked on mine. It’s a fun record.
TWU: And what was it like working with Nelly?
Keri Hilson: It was good, Nelly’s cool. He’s very professional. There are some artists that immediately show you just why they got the amount of success they got. Collectively, Nelly’s sold about 30 million albums and when you work with Nelly you see why. His work ethic speaks for itself. He’s a great person and very easy to work with.
TWU: Your UK tour kicks off next month, right? Tell us a bit about the VIP package that is currently on offer for fans…
Keri Hilson: ‘The Keri Hilson VIP’ is actually one of my favourite parts of the show, as I get to meet my fans. I get to interact with them before I get on stage. My VIP’s come backstage and they meet my entire crew – from the lighting and sound people, to the DJs and drummer. We take pictures and crack jokes and I get to find out what it is about me that they like. So it’s just as rewarding for them as it is for me.
Keri Hilson will be performing at the following UK venues in October:
Tuesday 11 October 2011 – London IndigO2
Wednesday 12 October 2011 – Birmingham O2 Academy
For more information, check out www.aeglive.co.uk
Words: Vanessa Laker (@VanessaLaker)
Online editing: Joseph 'JP' Patterson (@Jpizzledizzle)