Elle Varner is doing just fine. The L.A. girl is finishing up her sophomore album, 4-Letter Word, the followup to the well-received Perfectly Imperfect, and releasing new music as the big day gets closer. Since bursting onto the scene in 2011, Varner has become the sultry chanteuse of R&B, and she’s had to learn quickly how to handle the spotlight.
Last fall, the singer-songwriter split from her boyfriend, New York Knicks forward, Iman Shumpert. Over the next few months, after Shumpert was photographed with G.O.O.D. Music starlet Teyana Taylor, there were rumors of a Varner-Taylor feud in the works. The Shumpert split helped Varner understand how to navigate the murky waters of celebrity dating. It was Varner’s first significant experience with the bloodthirsty world of tabloid gossip, but she tells rolling out her high-profile breakup taught her some things.
“I’ve learned so much — ideally, you don’t want to put your business out there,” she admits. “I feel like the best thing to do, relationship-wise, is to keep it on the low. I wouldn’t say it’s impossible.”
“I did get stopped by TMZ,” recalls Varner laughing at the incident now. “I was out in a restaurant and they posted, ‘Who is she dating?’ Some people ask for that attention.”
With that experience fully in her rear view, and the release date for 4-Letter Word inching ever-closer, Elle Varner has a better grip on who she is and she isn’t preoccupied with any scrutiny yet. Nonetheless, her former friend, R&B singer K. Michelle, recently accused Varner of swiping an unspecified track after K. Michelle played it for her; Michelle also said Varner was trying to make her jealous via rapper Meek Mill.
“When I look up and you let her sing my record, when I’m the only one booking shows every week and paying 20 percent commission and you can say Elle Varner, the queen of MBK,” K. Michelle said in an interview with Ebro of Hot 97. “So the Twitter post, that caused so much of it. If you know I did have a crush on Meek and you know that as my friend that me and Meek do this, you get on Twitter and say, ‘Meek tried to talk to me and I swerved him.’ Okay, why would you do that to your friend? She wanted attention because no one gives a f— about that India Arie music. No offense to India Arie.”
But Varner isn’t sweating any of it.
“I’ve learned that I have to really be secure in knowing who I am and what I am,” Varner says, “because if I don’t, I will allow the things people say about me to affect me.”