Kat Graham has got a new sound and it’s all thanks to Prince.
The singer is set to release her sophomore album, Love Music Funk Magic, on June 2, and according to the 27-year-old, it won’t disappoint. “I had gotten a phone call in 2013; he said that he wanted to work with me on my album and work with me as an artist,” Graham told People of how she came to work with the late iconic singer during a Facebook Live interview. “I winded up going down to Paisley Park on my birthday and we started working on a few different records.”
“For the past three years, he was probably the only other producer besides Kenny [“Babyface” Edmonds] that I had brought into this process,” she continued. “I’m delusionally cocky when it comes to my music, and I, like, refuse to work with … I had this one manager who was telling me, ‘You should work with this person,’ and, ‘This person did this song with Fifth Harmony and Ariana Grande.’ I like funk music and I like ’90s stuff — [pop’s] not really my thing. I’m like anti-pop and anti-establishment, so I think that we got along really well.”
Meanwhile, the “Vampire Diaries” actress said she felt “really guided” by Prince’s input on “what it takes to be an artist” while “maintaining some sort of integrity for your career.” Even better? They knocked out “a few” records together, one which she’s still keeping close — for now. “I’m not going to tell you,” she said of the secret track, when asked to spill the beans on the project.
While she may have been tight-lipped about her recent work, Graham was anything but shy when it came to crediting the “Little Red Corvette” crooner for teaching her many valuable lessons regarding herself and the industry.
“I learned that it’s OK to be stubborn about your craft and it’s OK to demand excellence from the industry,” said Graham. “I’m like, ‘Why aren’t artists owning their masters? Why are labels robbing artists dry, and they have to spend all this time on tour to even break even?’ Like, what happened? Why are they promoting things that aren’t either socially conscious or elevating the human consciousness?”
“I learned about what kind of person I wanted to be,” she continued. “I want to be someone who is a great representation of a Black woman in Hollywood, a Black woman in the entertainment industry. And what that means, and how I need to carry myself and what I need to talk about.”
“You know, I’m an activist. I’m a proud activist,” she added. “So I want to be someone who is pro-Black and pro-Africa, and still be somebody that has a positive influence. I learned a lot about activism from [Prince], and to be able to make music that I feel really good about, even if it goes against the grain.”
As for the album’s overall theme, Graham revealed she dug deep for the disc (thanks to Prince and Babyface), so expect to hear a song or two about love and heartbreak.”Being around them for the years I have been, I learned about the very subtle ways that you can write a song about someone you love, or heartbreak, and what it means or what the real messaging is,” she explained. “I learned how to be creative. I would say that Kenny sat with me while I fished, and Prince taught me how to.”
Love Music Funk Magic drops on Tuesday, June 2. Will you be buying?