When hard work, dedication and raw talent collide, fate simply does its natural job, ushering in success and sky rocketing exposure. And actress, singer and model Demetria McKinney is fate’s poster child. After joining the peach holders on Bravo’s highest rated reality series, Real Housewives of Atlanta, the actress is returning to her first love, music.
McKinney stopped by the Windy City for a two-day (October 14 and 15), sold out stint of R. Kelly’s Black Panties Tour at the Chicago Theater. The King of R&B wooed his hometown fans, but McKinney held her own as his opening act. Complete with two male back up dancers, McKinney’s champagne colored skater dress and body curls bounced as she sang covers of R&B’s hottest songs with ease, including Aaliyah’s “Rock the Boat, (2001)” Mary J. Blige’s “Real Love (1992)” and Jill Scott’s “Golden (2004).”
But don’t let her slender build fool you, McKinney is a vocal powerhouse. Centering the stage, shining beneath a bright spotlight, McKinney took on one of music’s iconic voices, Whitney Houston, covering “I’m Every Woman,” hitting each note like it was practice.
Not leaving out her own tracks, the “House of Payne” star performed her own songs, including “100,” a head-bodding female anthem featuring femcee Da Brat and “Trade it All.”
The Source caught up with the 36 year old as she talked about her new album, Officially Yours, whether she’ll return to season eight of the Housewives and more. – Angela Wilson (@SheisAngela)
The Source: Tell us about your new album coming out?
Demetria McKinney: The album is called Officially Yours, it’s coming out the top of the year around February 14 weekend. I’m super excited I feel like I’ve been pregnant for five years, I’ve been working on this thing forever!
But the title is that because it’s peoples real look into me. People have seen Janine [Payne, TBS “House of Payne”] and I got to tell her story and on the Housewives they kind of showed me a little bit but not in my entirety. You’ll get to see me as a woman, as a single mom, as a daughter, as a whatever has gone through and hopefully they’ll be able to relate.
What’s your favorite song off your album?
It’s one that actually may not make the album! Isn’t that weird? It’s got so much passion and hurt and love rolled into it. Kandi Burress is executive producing my album and she’s got several songs on there and a lot of them give me a chance to vocally express myself.
But I have different moments- every woman has mood swings. There’s times when I love Roger Bobb, then there’s moments when I don’t want to talk to him, my son drives me coo-coo sometimes, or it was a hard day at work. But there’s this one song called “Do Me No Wrong.”
Will you shoot some videos?
I just shot a video for the upcoming single, called “Unnecessary Trouble,” featuring Kandi herself. And if anyone watched season seven of Real Housewives of Atlanta they know my drama was “Oh, yo man, and yo man…” girl, don’t tell me nothing, just breathe, and handle your own. Don’t tell me nothing, cause you don’t know.
We just shot the video for that- it’s super fun, contrary to the title and the content, it’s the 2015/2016 “Boy is Mine.” It’s a really great girls anthem and hopefully the fellas will appreciate the fact that we’re telling the homie to mind her own.
As you look back on your career, do you have any regrets?
None, none. With everything that happens, it’s taught me something. As long as I come away from each thing with a lesson learned, I don’t have to repeat that lesson. I’ve learned something that I can pass on to someone else. I feel like everything happens to you for a reason, and sometimes the reason isn’t you. So if something I’ve been through can help somebody go through it, why not?
Are you filming season eight of Real Housewives of Atlanta?
I film a little bit. I had my experience- it was fun, but get me out of there, was what I felt when it was over. But with Kandi execute producing my album and my album being such an intricate part of the show, that’s the capacity people will see me in, which is what I wanted in the first place. So they’ll get to see some of the inner workings of how we collaborate and there’s some fun stuff!
How’s your relationship with your cast mates?
Me and Claudia [Jordan] we are like frick and frack. She is a nut, and I absolutely adore her for that. Me and Cynthia [Bailey] are still very, very close, we talk every week, at minimum. And Cynthia, honey you owe me my Spondivits, print that, you owe me my Spondivits! Kenya [Moore] and I are still cool and Kandi and I got a lot closer since we’ve been working together.
Who I really wasn’t kicking it with, I’m still not kicking it with, and I wish them the best of luck on their way.
Anything else you want to tell your fans?
I’m hearing word they just inked a deal for “House of Payne” on BET. So “House of Payne” will now be joining BET, so they’ll be getting more and more of the episodes they’ve loving and seeing.
Also me and Claudia might, might be working on a little something up our sleeve, for the people who wanted to see what we’re really like and didn’t get that itch scratched on Housewives, we may have something for you.
And more touring! Thankfully I’m very heavily involved with R. Kelly and the Black Panties Tour. He’s been phenomenal in reaching back and bringing me forward. I’m also doing some stuff with Tank, so we got it rocking!
To get your tickets to the Black Panties Tour, click here!
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Photo credit: Getty Images