A Long Convo With… Keke Wyatt

After a seven-year hiatus, the soul singer is ready for her close-up again. But she still has to deal with problems from her past. With her new album Who Knew? dropping on February 23, Wyatt cleared the air with VIBE about the 2001 stabbing incident, and discussed her career setbacks and her promising future.

People are excited that you’re coming back out after so long. Your last real album was your debut, Soul Sista.
Yeah, it’s been a few years.

Can you talk about the new deal with Shanachie?
I’m happy with that situation because they can focus on me more versus being at a big label where it’s so many other artists that you have to share your time with. With them, they focus on one artist at a time so I can appreciate that, which makes my marketing and everything go swell. I like this situation better ’cause I have more control. I had control with TVT but they focused on so many other people and so many other things I felt like I didn’t have what I have now.

The TVT bankruptcy basically stalled the Ghetto Rose album [in 2007], right?
Yeah, and with Cash Money, Hurricane Katrina basically drowned out my album and then with TVT they went bankrupt. So it’s like, can’t do nothing when you’re bankrupt and I’m not putting my money up. Why have a deal when you’re using all your money.

What was your mindset after that?
I wasn’t devastated but I was definitely very disappointed because music is my first love and it’s my heart so when I can’t do what I wanna do, it’s kinda like, oh my god what do I do now? I was very disappointed, very hurt but I was like if it’s for me it’s gon’ be for me regardless and obviously it is because here I am again ready to drop a new album. Everybody loves my video for “Who Knew?” and everybody loves the new song.

What kind of space were you in while recording this new album?
Focused. I was going through a whole lot of stuff in my life during the process, which makes it real easy to write. This whole album is pretty much showcasing my whole life and what I’ve been through in the past year.

What have you been through?
Well, I’ve been through being happy and in love and thinking that things were great and things were good and they ended up not being [that way] and getting hurt and crying and then you got the sexy part in it, breakup and makeup and all that. It’s R&B, like for real R&B.

Do you think people always associate you with the domestic violence incident that happened a few years ago? [In 2001, Wyatt was arrested for stabbing her husband/manager Rahmat Morton on Christmas Day with a knife. She was charged with second-degree assault but Morton later dropped the charges.]
I mean it is what it is. People are gonna judge you no matter what. They’re gonna have their own thoughts about you and I really don’t care. It doesn’t bother me because I know that there’s someone else going through the same thing and if I can stand up for women in the domestic violence world then I will. People act like I’m the one that was the abuser and I’m the one that was doing the domestic violence. No, I was the one being abused and had to get myself out of the situation. So people who’ve never been there never understand. I feel like that’s my personal life and it really ain’t nobody’s business but I am in the music industry and people feel like when they buy your music they have the right to your life. I don’t really care what people think. Buy my record because you like what I sound like, not ’cause I stabbed my husband because I was scared.

Tags: Keke Wyatt, Music