Westside Music FestivalThe Chicago Defender had a chance to catch up with Grammy-nominated artist Kelly Price, who has built a stellar career for over two decades with several hit albums including Soul of a Woman, Mirror Mirror, This Is Who I Am, Kelly and Sing Pray Love, Vol. 1: Sing.

The honorary member of Sigma Gamma Rho joined the performance of the 5th Annual Westside Music Festival this past weekend, which also included fellow Soror MC Lyte and the legendary Slick Rick.

Hitting the stage with a live band and running through a familiar line-up of songs, Price had the crowd singing along to her hit catalog. She recalls her first release, “Every project that I have done has a special place and it holds its own weight, whatever was happening at the time. Soul of A Woman was my first presentation and will always to me be that stamp because to me the world said ‘yes’ to Kelly Price. I came up from behind and took my place on center stage. Fast forward, twenty years later — I’m still here and I feel better than ever.”

The 43-year old singer was featured on two seasons of R&B Divas LA, which allowed viewers to have an inside peek into her life. She soon left the show to focus on her career and touring when she later dropped the bombshell of filing for divorce from her husband/manager of 23 years — Jeffrey Rolle.

“It’s really about an inner glow that is showing outside of me, I’m in a different place in life, I’m very confident and the stage is my second home. I feel at home when I’m on stage and what’s happening is that people are seeing another of level of confidence come through me in my performance. Vocally and in my energy onstage,” she said.

Formerly a background singer for Mariah Carey before she entered into her solo recording contract with Island Records, Price was known to collaborate and write with some of hip hop’s shining stars such as Sean ‘Puff Daddy’ Combs, The Notorious B.I.G., Mase and Whitney Houston. Now, she finds herself circling back with a new wave of Hip Hop greats — including Chicago native Kanye West. She’s featured on several songs on West’s new album, The Life of Pablo.

lifeofpabloartwork“What happened with Kanye West on ‘Ultralight Beam’ was just something different. But, just where I’m at spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically. It’s been a perfect storm. In the last year of personal changes that I’ve made, it’s coming out of me creatively.”

She’s pleased with this new chapter in her life. “I’m just really excited. It’s almost like starting back at one but just more knowledge, more power, more understanding, more love and more patience — just more.”

As a mother of two and sustaining a balanced lifestyle between her professional career and being a mom, she said she’s no different from other working mom.

“I have the same feelings of guilt. There were times where I couldn’t be there for them, but I was trying to provide a better way of life,” said Price. “I was homeless twice before I was 18 and what always stayed in the back of my head is that I never wanted my kids to know what that was like. I was so driven and a hard worker.”

Currently, Price is busier than ever with the summer filled with music festivals and tours — she is excited to get back in the studio when it slows down.

The six-time Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter stands on her faith for strength.

“For everything that I have in my life, the best thing I could have is my faith because this industry is rotten to the core. It’s destroyed a lot of people because they didn’t have the support system they needed, because a lot of people get caught up in the hype.”

She shares some sound advice for aspiring artists vulnerable to the benefits and challenges of the music and entertainment industry.

“You’ll have ‘onlookers’ and ‘hanger-on’s’ who get caught up in the artist’s hype, and they’re crazy like it’s their career. There is so much stuff that come at you and you still have to be on your A-game all the time.”

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