When the group Dirty Money was formed a couple of years back, most music fans were already familiar with Diddy and Dawn, who made up 2/3 of the group. Kalenna Harper was the third member of the group, and even though she’d been in the industry for years penning hits for others artists, fans were introduced to her for the first time on a major scale. Now with the opportunity to craft her a solo project of her own, she’s ready to spread her wings and show off her talents. In this interview with Kalenna, we discuss her origins in music, how she got her break with writing, what her reaction was when she was asked to join Dirty Money, her role in the group, if she thinks there will be a second album, what to expect on her debut album, and much more.
YouKnowIGotSoul: You’re known as being one of the hardest workers in the music business. Where do you get your drive and motivation to put in all of this hard work?
Kalenna: It’s really just who I am. I strive to be the best and hard work is the only way I know how to do that. I am also motivated by my family. My husband and I have a four year old son and he inspires us both because we want the best for him.
YKIGS: At what point did you realize you wanted to have a career in music?
Kalenna: Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted a career in music. I sang in different choirs and groups as a youth. When I was a preteen, I even wrote my Grammy acceptance speech. *Laughs*
YKIGS: Talk about when you got your first break in the industry and how this opportunity came about.
Kalenna: One of my first biggest placements was for Christina Milian, I wrote a song named “Peanut Butter and Jelly.”
YKIGS: As an accomplished writer, talk about your process of writing a song from start to finish.
Kalenna: I just pull from my family, friends and my own experiences. My goal is to always stay true and authentic so I try to keep it as raw and as natural as possible.
YKIGS: Out of all of your writing credits for other artists to date, which is your favorite so far?
Kalenna: They are all my favorites because they are a representation of my journey and growth as a songwriter. My scope is so broad from Three6 Mafia to opera singer Charlotte Church. I just feel blessed to be a part of such varied genres of music.
YKIGS: How were you originally recruited to become part of Dirty Money and what was your initial reaction to the news?
Kalenna: I was originally brought on to do some writing for the project but by the end of months of writing, Puff asked me to join the group. I was more than honored. What’s funny is when he called I was like “Let me call you back” because I wanted to consult with my managers. *Laughs* Who tells Puff they will call him back after such an offer? I was really just speechless and elated that he offered me the opportunity.
YKIGS: Talk about your role in the group and how you helped in the creative process of “Last Train to Paris”.
Kalenna: I was very instrumental in creating the sound for “Last Train to Paris”. Additionally, I wrote several songs on the project including “Strobe Lights”, “Ass on the Floor” and many others.
YKIGS: You’re currently working on your solo album for release later this year. Talk about what we can expect to hear on the album.
Kalenna: My solo project is epic. That’s all I can really say about it besides that the music is true and natural. It is urgent and makes you do something. It will incite action one way or the other.
YKIGS: Who are you working with on the album?
Kalenna: I really don’t want to divulge too much now but I’m very excited and can’t wait for music lovers to hear it.
YKIGS: Your bio states you’re also involved in launching an upscale clothing line and a series of children’s books. Tell us more about these ventures.
Kalenna: I am working on a clothing line that will be upscale and reflect my own sense of style. My staff and I are diligently working to secure the right designers who share our goals for a line. My children’s books are geared towards families who have a member suffering from Lupus. My sister died as result of complications associated with the disease and I want to help other families cope with the issue. The books are educational, funny and entertaining for preschool and early elementary age children. Our goal is to use these books to fund organizations like the Lupus Foundation of America, of which I am a partner, and my nonprofit organization, the I Heart Kalenna foundation.
YKIGS: Are you currently writing for any other artists? Who?
Kalenna: Although I’m constantly writing, right now I’m focused on my own project.
YKIGS: Now that Dirty Money has released the album and toured, do you see yourself doing another album as part of Dirty Money? Would you do another album if asked?
Kalenna: We recorded so many songs that Puff could put out another album if he desires. If asked to go back into the studio with them to record more, I most definitely would say yes.