Superstar singer/actress Demetria McKinney joined us for an interview recently on Instagram Live. During our conversation, we had her reflect on her debut album “Officially Yours”, talked about how she developed her talents as a singer, what took so long to get an album out, discussed new music she’s working on, and much more. Check out what she had to say below and in the video!
Demetria McKinney: The album was a culmination of a dream. I wanted to be a singer from the first I heard Whitney Houston utter a note! I always wanted to be able to tell my story, getting into the acting world, I was telling a lot of different people’s stories. On the album I don’t know if you remember the cover art but I was kind of naked! It wasn’t to be freaky as much as it was to just be me and exposing who I was as a person. So “Officially Yours” meant a lot to me because it was my first time to connect with people and get them to understand how I felt about the love I was in, about how I felt about the woman I was at that time. Just hoping they could relate to that.
YouKnowIGotSoul: Loved the vocal performance you gave on that album. How did you develop that talent?
Demetria McKinney: Whitney Houston is a huge, huge facet of my singing endeavor. Not only is her voice phenomenal, beautiful, soul stirring, but it had such a depth to it. It made you feel. Even if you couldn’t sing, when you were trying to belt them notes, you felt like just maybe what you were feeling was getting out! When I did the album, I was in the midst of the Bobbi Kristina biopic and playing her. It was just crazy to me that my album was coming in a space where I actually could pay tribute to the person who made me wanted to sing in the first place.
YouKnowIGotSoul: You have been releasing songs since the early 2010’s. What made you wait until 2017 to release an album?
Demetria McKinney: Fear! Getting into the music game especially at the time that I was, it was getting into more liberating stuff than what I was ready to put out at the time. Being the new kid at the school and going to figure out where to sit, who would let you sit next to him, would they snatch your lunch! It’s nerve wracking presenting yourself and hoping everybody likes it. As I was evolving, the project was ever evolving and I was consistently working. That kind of put a hindrance on things too, because as I’m trying to get into the studio and have these notes come out properly, I’m over here on set! There was a lot of different moving parts. On top of that I’m a mommy. I wanted it to be my most authentic self, but I also understood my kid would listen one day, and I would have explaining to do if I came wrong! Fear was the biggest thing and understanding that it wasn’t a hindrance but a realization that it meant something to me. I think I got there by the time 2017 rolled around.
YouKnowIGotSoul: Talk about working with producer Travis Cherry.
Demetria McKinney: You have people that you work with and you’re working with them. You can have respect, you can have admiration, you can definitely see their importance in what you do. Then you have those people who become part of the soul of the project. Travis Cherry and that Purple Room! He is brilliant in what he does. To find somebody that believed in me like that, that was willing to put themselves out there on my behalf and willing to go the distance with me, was something I wasn’t necessarily used to. I’ve worked with different people on different things. But for someone to say they wanted to produce my whole album!
YouKnowIGotSoul: Tell us about the new album you’ve been working on.
Demetria McKinney: I’m in a different place, a totally different place. I’m feeling my beat a lot more. I have graduated from motherhood, my son is grown A-F! Now I can be the woman I want to be. I feel more liberated in the woman that I am today. So the music is going to definitely reflect that. Love is a choice and I’m choosing wiser. Understanding the grown woman I’m walking in has been a really, really cool thing.
YouKnowIGotSoul: How do you balance acting and music?
Demetria McKinney: That’s been a big part of the struggle lately. Filming “Motherland: Fort Salem”, I’ve been in Vancouver for 6 months. I’m in a whole different country and time zone. Working really long hours doing stunts and training. It was an absolute phenomenal experience. It left little room for anything else. When I put out music I like to get on platforms and get on the road and be with the people. Hear what they like an don’t like. See if they are feeling me on these different things. Not being able to do that was something that made me not want to put anything out quite yet. By the time I get ready to do this, I want to have my visuals in line, I’m ready to be exposed for whatever pieces people are trying to get to. Just being a part of the growth with the people. Soon as I can I will.
YouKnowIGotSoul: Having so much success as an actress, at what point did you want to even do an album?
Demetria McKinney: Music was always first! Not to get too deep, but I’ve been through life. Music is that language that everybody understands and that thing that got me through without question. Being able to be an artist in that sense was always very important to me. If I never get paid for it, I’m still going to do it. There will never be a moment when music is not a part of my life.