The biggest problem transitioning from songwriter to singer is purely superficial. At least for Keri Hilson it is.
“You have to actually care about what you look like now,” Keri tells OK!. “I think the main difference is that I never had to care if my hair was done this much and if my nails stayed fresh and all that, and I’ve never worn this many heels.”
Fashion and beauty aside, there really isn’t a big difference, Keri says, “other than the fact that now you’re in rehearsal, sitting down and producing vocals and all of that but I’m myself. I’m being myself and I think that that’s the best thing about my project.”
Already a powerhouse songwriter — Keri has penned hits for Timbaland, Justin Timberlake, Usher, Britney Spears, the Pussycat Dolls and Nelly Furtado to name a few — the 24-year-old is prepping for the launch of her own solo career with In a Perfect World, her debut album set for release later this year.
“It’s something for guys. It’s something for girls, but I have to say you’ll be able to tell how much fun we’re having,” Keri says of her disc. “I don’t take myself too seriously but at the same time I am sharing my inner-most feelings.”
That happens to be frequent partners-in-crime Timbaland and Justin, with whom she also performed at the Video Music Awards last month. Citing Justin as her favorite artist, Keri reveals to OK! that she would have loved “to be a fly on the wall during one of his performances” back in the day and can hardly believe that she gets to work and be buddy-buddy with him now.
“Justin is actually very spiritual — a lot of people don’t know that about him,” Keri says. “So we’ve had those conversations where it gets pretty deep and he says, ‘You know you have to hold on to something because it’s easy to get lost in a lot of things.’ It was great [working with him]. He’s actually very quick and if I wasn’t a workaholic I’d be like, ‘Slow down! You’re too quick! Leave me a part.”
The Atlanta native does have a part in their super-secret duet, the title of which she won’t divulge because “it might start a leak thing.”
But before that jam will (legally) see the light of day, her album must hit shelves first so she can’t look too far ahead. “All of my focus is really on getting this one out and seeing this one through to the end and once it’s out and does well and we feel that we’ve done all that we can as far as getting it out and squeezing all the juice out of it, then we’ll go in and work on a second one.”
Keri’s already working hard to generate buzz for it and has taken a page from her idol and former McDonalds’ hawker, Justin. The singer recently participated in the McDonald’s Live Music Tour and hopes fans will cast votes for her on MCDLive.com so she can go down in Golden Arches lore — in a commercial.
“I’m gung ho about that because we actually did the closing show yesterday and I’m very excited, and I would love to be in a McDonald’s commercial.”