Kelly Price releases first R&B album in eight years

Mon May 2, 2011 1:58am EDT
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By Gail Mitchell

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - When Kelly Price was nominated for a Grammy last December, the R&B nod caught many people off guard.

Up until that point, Price hadn't released an R&B album since 2003's "Priceless." In fact, when she delivered the contemporary gospel album "This Is Who I Am" three years after that, most people assumed the soulful singer had chosen a new career path.

"It's never been a secret that I'm a preacher's kid," says Price from her Los Angeles home. "Gospel will forever be a part of my life; that's why I sing the way I sing. But I never said I was leaving R&B."

Now, the artist known for belting out such hits as "Friend of Mine," "As We Lay" and "Heartbreak Hotel" is adding an exclamation point to that declaration with the May 3 release of her sixth album "Kelly." Its anthemic opening track "Tired" caught Grammy voters' attention. (Alas, she lost to Fantasia).

Not only does the project plant Price squarely back into the R&B scene, it's helped the singer achieve her first top 40 hit on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart in 11 years: second single "Not My Daddy," featuring Mint Condition frontman Stokley Williams.

Price and her manager, husband Jeffery Rolle, began dressing the stage for her return three years ago when they relocated from Atlanta to Los Angeles. After the 2006 release of "This Is Who I Am," Price continued performing, averaging between 200 and 250 dates per year. But the urge to return to writing -- she had composed songs for R. Kelly, Wynonna Judd, Ronald Isley and Faith Evans, among others -- and expand into film and TV began to take hold. That's when her attorney suggested she move to L.A.

Shortly after the move, Price reconnected with producer Warryn Campbell, who first worked with her in the late '90s. They went the indie route and launched the comeback plan with "Tired" and then "Not My Daddy." The compelling ballad expresses a frequently overlooked message: Don't forget to let love into your relationship. An accompanying video was directed by actress Regina King.

Married since she was 19 and celebrating her 19th anniversary this year, Price says "Not My Daddy" came to her as she was cleaning the house. "It stems from the experience of being in a long-term relationship and how easy that dynamic can change when kids come into the picture."   Continued...

<p>Singer Kelly Price performs at the Black Entertainment Network 8th annual Walk of Fame honoring singer Stevie Wonder in Washington, October 19, 2002. REUTERS/Hyungwon Kang</p>