In part one of Amaru Don TV’s exclusive two part in-depth interview with Keri Hilson, I delve into the lady behind the pen, the microphone, the glitz and glamour. Keri Hilson first came to my attention a few years ago as an esteemed songwriter and while she’s has not been without her critics, she’s still one of the most sought after songwriters in America today. That’s no fluke. We discuss the issue of breaking new markets – notably the UK where her current single (Lose Control ft Nelly) out now ,seeking out new talent for her production company and the impact of fame on her personal life regarding relationships.
Let’s start.How do you approach the way you market yourself in europe as opposed to America ?
Honestly, I don’t see a difference. Work is work. Promo is promo. There are so many people in so many regions around the world that still don’t know who I am. There is regions of the world that I’ve never been and I still do interviews for; Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines. All these places, I’ve done interviews but have never been. In time, the world will know who I am.
(Fan Question Sarah) Where do you feel most at home outside of Georgia?
Los Angeles. I know it’s still in the still in the States but I’ve got to go with Los Angeles. I’ve been travelling there for so many years as a songwriter, it’s probably the place I can be comfortable and normal other than Atlanta.
(Fan Question Venita) Do you have your own stylist or do you style yourself? What inspires the styles you wear?
My mood is the biggest thing that determines what I wear. I never really plan an outfit days ahead, I always go with what I am feeling that day. In everyday life, I style myself. When I have an event to go to, I then work with a stylist but I don’t wear anything I don’t feel comfortable in or doesn’t reflect my mood. If I feel like wearing a sexy dress, I do that. If I feel like wear tennis shoes or Doc. Martins I’ll do that.
You’ve had people send beats to you on Twitter. Did you find any good producers through that?
I did. It was incredible because people would send tracks from around the world. I had 3000 producers send in two tracks which would make 6000 beats. I still haven’t gone through all of them actually, but it was great. It was a great thing to do. I realised so many producers give me a CD or thumb (pen) drive… they just want to be heard. They just want an opportunity to be heard by anyone. I’m starting my production and publishing company and I figured why not give these people an opportunity to be heard and an opportunity to be paid. I plan to work on their behalf to make them successful.
Following on, there’s a perception that when there’s people under you, the contracts can be a bit funny. How do you approach the business in being a boss?
You know what? I’m a fair business person. I’ve been in bad situations, so I wouldn’t want to do that to anyone else. I’ve seen the good, I’ve seen the bad and I only want to be like those who I respect and those I still I admire. I don’t give bad deals. I don’t play those games.
How much does your personal life have to take a back seat when you’re on tour, for example, missing your family?
Personal life takes a big, big back seat. It’s really hard to deal with especially if I’m dating someone. It’s really hard to try and see each other, let alone talk or Skype. You have to schedule times in order to relate to the person who you love. That makes it very difficult and you miss your family, birthdays but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
When a guy meets you and he knows who you are, how are you sure of his intentions; that he’s with you as the person and not the celebrity?
There’s little ways you can kind of tell what they’re in it for. If they want to jump to red carpet and go out to all the clubs and be pictured together, then you kind of you know. Luckily I haven’t been in that situation because I’m a good judge of character. I think it going to be hard for me. I think it’s going to be really hard for me to find someone to truly love me for who I am. At night I wear a scarf. I am a woman, I don’t love wearing make up in everyday life. What people see is the heels that I wear and the make-up and the hair done, but when I’m home I’m very comfortable t shirt, jeans, tennis shoes. I have a tennis shoes wall – I collect sneakers. If there is a guy who would appreciate seeing that side of me, of course they’ll get the glamorous too but also appreciate Keri Hilson, just me, hair undone, nails chipped. If that person exists then that’s the person for me.
Check out part two of this interview coming soon!
Interview by @MrAmaru
Edited by Karolyn Judge