JCFeature: Exclusive Interview with Recording Artist/Reality Star K Michelle from VH1 “Love and Hip Hop” Atlanta
JC: First of all I just want to say thank you for agreeing to sit down with me today, means a lot. Who is K Michelle; explain to my readers who you are?
K Michelle: I am a single mother, recording artist and a cool down to earth person.
JC: How did you end up on Love and Hip Hop Atlanta?
K Michelle: I had spoke with Mona about being on the New York Cast but that did not work out for whatever reason. I ended up in Atlanta working for a little bit so when the opportunity jumped back on I took it.
JC: After watching the New York Season what made you still want to be apart of the show?
K Michelle: It was an opportunity for me to tell my story and what was going on with me recently.
JC: What was the hardest thing that you had to expose about you on the show?
K Michelle: Nothing was hard for me to expose, I am a real person and that’s what my fans love about me.
JC: How have your music fans embraced you being on the show?
K Michelle: They have been amazing, I have gained a ton of fans and they have been great.
JC: Being on reality TV, it can really make your career or break it to the point where people do not take you serious as an “artist”, have you been cautious about how you act on television because of that?
K Michelle: I just being me
JC: Was being on reality TV something that you seen in your career path years ago?
K Michelle: Yes I actually envisioned having my own show, which did not turn out how I planned it, but that is life. So when this opportunity came up, I was prepared for it.
JC: What made you move to Atlanta?
K Michelle: I really do not love Atlanta, I came here from LA to work on getting my deal and to record the show, made a lot of great connections but it is not for me. I probably will not be here for another weak.
JC: Describe each cast member with one word.
K Michelle: Mimi is strong, Erica is amazing, I love her, and Rasheeda is……… I don’t know, Karlie Redd is an absolute Liar and lastly Joseline is very misguided.
JC: What is K Michelle working on musically?
K Michelle: Well my mixtape just came out last week which is titles “ 0 Fucks Given, The mixtape is just a lot of different things. I’m not just one kind of artist. I love different kinds of music. It shows my personality, also I am working on an E.P / Album and focused on being a mother beyond anything else.
JC: Will you return for another season of Love and Hip Hop?
K Michelle: You never know, it has not been a bad outcome to me, so why not.
JC: First, I really want to thank you for being patient and sitting down with me to do this interview after months of delay. Bonita tell the readers who are not familiar with you a little bit about who you are and your background.
Bonita: Well, my name is Bonita, I am from Brooklyn New York, I have been singing forever, but I got my start in the game singing hooks on songs for rappers. Predominately I worked with DipSet crew, I was on about four albums that they released and about 5 Mixtapes that they released as well. So doing that gave me a little taste of the industry starting out. Then from there I started opening up for certain artists like Chris Brown, Trey Songz, Monica, Fantasia and a few other people. After all that I decided to do something for myself so I cut my first single and started working on the release of my first project.
JC: Coming from Brooklyn NYC, How did you stay out of trouble and stay focused on your music and goals growing up?
Bonita: I am the only child and raised by my mother and grandmother, they kept me focused. I was/am very family oriented and stay in a lot of after school programs. I was in everything that you can possibly think of, so even though there was a lot going on around me I always had a good foundation.
JC: How did you end up in Atlanta?
Bonita: I was at a point where I was about to sign a deal with Universal Records, I had “OK” Management that resulted in me loosing that deal with Atlantic, I had just broke up with my boyfriend that I thought was my whole world and I was always going back and forth to ATL working with this producer that I had met. The producer was big time, had a long list of people that he worked with and had started off with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, so he put me under his wing and that was my mentor. Soon after he decided he wanted me to be his artist, I moved into one of my mother’s properties in Atlanta, came, moved and loved it.
JC: How do you deal with writing music for yourself and writing for other artists? How do you choose what is for you and what you will give away?
Bonita: It was hard at first because I remember when I first started writing songs for people I would always battle with the songs I loved that I wrote for others because I would want them for myself. But If I am writing for someone I don’t give them myself and I take myself out of my equation so that I will not get too attached or confused.
JC: What is the “Bonita” Music Category?
Bonita: I am Hip Hop/Soul; I make music that means something. Classic.
JC: What is your taste in fashion and look as an artist on the wardrobe aspect?
Bonita: I am girl next door, love fashion, Love Reeboks, nice jeans and a T shirt, Big earrings and big hair, vintage and classic but still classic.
JC: Favorite Fashion Spot in Atlanta
Bonita: I love 5 Points in Downtown Atlanta, think I have purchased at least one thing from every shop down there (laughs).
JC: What keeps you humble and low key but still able to keep buzz?
Bonita: I just feel like at the end of the day I want my music to speak for me. I do not want to have to be flamboyant and in your face about it. I want you to have to come to me I want to keep that mystery. I just like things to happen. That is what I am about.
JC: If you can call anyone up for a feature on a song who would it be?
Bonita: Common, I love him and of course Jay Z
JC: What is Bonita currently working on?
Bonita: Well I am working on my EP “Bonita Who “, which will drop very soon. I am releasing my second single “ Hip Hop Gone “ and we are doing a HUGE video for it in Brooklyn, it’s going to be a huge block party and event for the community. Working on building press and media for this single release. This one is my baby!
JC: Why should people support Bonita as an artist out of all the new artists coming out?
Bonita: Everyone has his or her own opinion. I want you to feel good, relate to my music, feel smooth, and jam out. I want people to feel like if they had a dollar and could be a sandwich or my music that they would choose my music.
Jeremy Copeland: Who is Atiba NewSome?
Atiba: I am a stylist, a songwriter and an aspiring photographer.
Jeremy Copeland: When did you realize you had a gift for styling?
Atiba: Honestly, I realized it really late, I thought that every job I had gotten and made it through, I was fooling everyone pretty much, I did not think I was skilled, I did not feel like I had a gift, I just knew I was good at making shit happen. It wasn’t until I was styling “Mary J Blige” and she told me “ Your Confidence Threatens People “and how great and talented I was that It finally hit me that maybe I wasn’t just bullshitting around and maybe I was actually doing something right. She had also had another stylist at the time and since Puff was producing her album and also he was my agent, he really pushed for me to work with her and honestly I did not think he was pushing for me because I was talented, I thought he was pushing for me because he wanted that check (laughs) but that was not the case. Soon after working with me she then fired her stylist and hired me to work with her from that point and that’s when I scored the cover of her “ Love and Life “ Album.
Jeremy Copeland: Is ever there a point now where you sit back now and think “ What more can I do “?
Atiba: There is always something to do. Fashion is ever changing
Jeremy Copeland: What artists are hit and miss for you in fashion?
Atiba: You have Rihanna who is a fashion maverick and keep stylists on their toes and she continues to do things that either people never thought of or are afraid to do! A lot of clients are scared to try new things because they do not want to be on the worst dressed list or afraid of how their body will look, but she is a rebel, sometimes she looks crazy and sometimes she looks amazing! But owns everything she wears and that is what I love about her. Or you can go with something safer like Victoria Beckham, when I mean, how many times can you wear a little fitted dress and a pair of Louboutins. After a while it gets old. I get it that’s it’s a nice classic look but I like girls who are not afraid to be different and think outside the box. That’s why I also love Katy Perry as well she takes risks but still looks beautiful while doing that. Then you have artists like Nicki Minaj and Lady GaGa who just do ……..Whatever (Laughs).
Jeremy Copeland: People really know you mainstream from being on “Reality TV Show House Of Glam” on Oxygen. Do you feel like doing Reality TV helps your brand or water it down?
Atiba: I think it helps your brand, I know a lot of people, major celebrities shopping their own shows and filming there own shows now. It can really open a lot of doors if done correctly. It’s a way of staying relevant and it even makes people who are really nobody become somebody. Everyone is his or her own brand now. From doing House Of Glam I got to work with Prince so it can open doors.
Jeremy Copeland: What do you think about these self-proclaimed stylists who work with one artist and then they run around calling themselves celebrity stylists. Does that offend you, someone who has been in this industry for so long?
Atiba: It is kind of like a double edge sword because on one end I get it. I get self-promotion and if you don’t pump and promote yourself nobody will. But also it is kind of disrespectful to the stylists who have put in 15-20 years in this game and you get these new kids who will work for free or work for half your rate and with the industry being so tight with the dollar right now of course they are going to go with the new kid for $700 instead of $2700 a day. New Kid is going to sell them a dream and of course they are going to buy it but at the end of the day is New Kid going to last in the long run? Talent tells it all, talent speaks for itself. I have seen so many new stylists come and go. Its funny because certain people can be one trick pony’s to me, the real talented stylists can do the Men, Women, Hip-Hop, Pop, Country, Heavy Metal, Commercial, Editorial, Red Carpet, press events, everyday, Costume, everything. So those self proclaimed stylists, we will see what happens. Good luck to them, I have seen them come and I have seen them go and Im still here.
Jeremy Copeland: Who is one artist you would love to work with?
Atiba: I love Azalea Banks, would love to work with her, she has a I don’t give a fuck style and attitude which I love. She is so talented. I also love Janet Jackson, I just haven’t liked her style since the Control album when she was rocking the blazers, shirts buttoned up too the top, rolling up the sleeves and all that fly shit. So I really would love to just take her from this boring Santa Monica beach meets California valley look and throw some style back on her.
Jeremy Copeland: Where would you say was a hidden city of fashion?
Atiba: Besides Paris, I would say Japan. Japan has amazing stores. I love London and Japan.
Jeremy Copeland: When shopping for a client what should you have in your stylist bag.
Atiba: Anything that will make the client comfortable. The smallest things matter, the right belts, underwear, clips, under garments, spanks etc. I even bring hand warmers for the client if they are cold, panty liners, and double stick tape. If they ask for all white, you bring all white and black because clients change their mind all the time and you must be prepared! Just be prepared for anything!
Jeremy Copeland: Who would you say has given you the most advice/Knowledge in this industry?
Atiba: Puff without a doubt, he always told me if you want 10 ask for 20. I never seen him take no for an answer, I have seen this man sell water to a whale, like, when he has a vision he makes it come to light. There have been times where I have seen him ask for things and I personally think there is no way he is going to pull that off and he does every single time. When you really want something you can get it. When I focus on something I can get whatever I want, we can do anything as a people. Above all I am so content, I don’t need too much I am happy and blessed. I am able to travel, take care of my family and myself and live beyond comfortable and I thank everyone who contributed to my success.
Jeremy Copeland: What is Atiba working on now?
Atiba: Well right now I am working on “EMPIRE GIRLS” on the Style Network starring Adrienne Bailon and Jullissa Bermudez; this is a reality show about two best friends living in New York, trying to make things happen for them. Show is currently on the air now so check it out!
Jeremy Copeland: What is some advice you could give aspiring stylists and working stylists?
Atiba: For the aspiring stylists, intern for someone like I did, you cannot come in thinking your just going to style a huge client because that is not how it works and that’s not going to happen unless someone is hooking you up or your related to them. You have to come in and learn hands on from watching someone else and that is what I did. I interned for June Ambrose and then later on worked for Eric Archibald who introduced me to June Ambrose. Working for them, watching them and seeing how they operate taught me how to work on a job and be professional. It wasn’t until after the groomed me and I felt I was ready to step out that I went out on my own and left from under their wings. Advice for someone that is already established would have to be just do your job, don’t get too personal with the clients, remain professional, always show up looking like the stylist, don’t look like the assistant and really save up your money and be smart with your paper.