Keyshia Cole‘s new album title, “Woman to Woman,” pretty much sums up the R&B diva’s appeal — her ability to speak to women.
Her raspy soprano and the pain and anguish communicated in her words garnered comparisons to Mary J. Blige when Cole arrived in 2005. Since her debut, the 31-year-old has continued that emotional journey. And she’s the first to tell you she’s been there.
Cole’s fans watched the R&B singer open up about her rough upbringing on the BET show “Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is,” which featured the 31-year-old mending fences with her mother, who suffered from drug addiction. Her latest BET series, “Keyshia & Daniel: Family First,” focuses on the star balancing her career with her new life as a mother and wife (she married basketball player Daniel Gibson in 2011).
“Woman to Woman,” out Monday, is Cole going back to basics (which was the title of the album until she realized another diva had used it) with plenty of tales of heartbreak, betrayal and love.
Ahead of the album, Cole opened up with Pop & Hiss about her career, stepping back in front of the cameras and why her last record didn’t connect with fans.
When during recording did you have the ‘a-ha’ moment?
[The title track] and “Trust in Believe.” The song is amazing. I actually cried listening to the song before. Not because I experienced it, but because it had the emotion in it. I was speaking to someone who was actually going through it and I was crying for her.
The title track is a duet with Ashanti. How’d that come together?
I’ve always wanted to work with Ashanti, especially when she first came out. [I wanted] that opportunity, especially with another female writer to sit down and discuss what she’s been through, and what I’ve been through. We wanted more than anything to not argue in the song. We don’t want to fight, bicker or fuss. She brought up a good point when we were writing, that you don’t know if when we have this conversation in this song about this dude if I’m gonna go and take him back and tell you whatever. I would like to do a remix to the song if it’s ever a single and have a man on there so we could have a guy’s perspective.
How has becoming a mother changed you?
In terms of hard work and dedication, it has changed tremendously. When I had my son, I slowed down drinking a lot. You know, I turned from a party girl and having fun to being focused. I made sure that I kept everything in perspective.
Read more: Gerrick D. Kennedy, LA Times