BK Nights: An Evening With Bridget Kelly


She's only been on the map a few years and BK is already one of NYC's main musical attractions. We were first introduced to Bridget Kelly when she lent her pipes to Hova's Big Apple anthem, "New York State of Mind," and the pitch-perfect powerhouse has been steadily building a buzz ever since.

Whether she's kicking it on tour, or maneuvering Meatpacking’s cobblestone catwalks, the 27-year-old singer is always dripping in the kind of cutting-edge couture that makes city-strollers stop in their footsteps. With fashion fiends like Rihanna, Kim K and Beyonce flooding the scene, Bridget isn't afraid to redefine edge and sexiness with tasteful mid riffs, signature black bob, and a slew of head-turning red carpet moments. Flaunting a new and improved killer figure, she admits to Vixen that to get in the best shape of her life, she had to make some serious sacrifices and alterations to her day-to-day.

Rewriting the rules of R&B and leading a lane of her own, Bridget is more than ready to introduce the world to the woman behind the incomparable voice and Roc Nation association; a refined rebel with a special delivery both on and off the stage. Her alliances with industry heavy-hitters and collection of infectious girl-power anthems only heighten the anticipation surrounding the December 17th release of her long-awaited EP, Cut To...Bridget Kelly.

Now that she's wrapped up her final leg of the EOS tour alongside ROC Nation cohorts Melanie Fiona and Elijah Blake, Vixen was able to get some girl time with the R&B bombshell. Between shots (and shots!) during our photo session at Manhattan’s Tenjune, we learned about Bridget's latest project, life on tour, and her long distance love. Trust us, a night with Bridget will have you slipping on your baddest boots, ready to paint the town the perfect shade of Ruby Woo.

Peep the rest of the pics while you listen to the EP after the jump.

Photography: Dex R. Jones

 

You're pretty unpredictable in fashion. You tend to play around with many great looks - but how do you describe your personal style?

I'm edgy. It's true to who I am. I don't think of myself as a rebel badass - I'm much more mysterious. I love to feel sexy. I'm a NYC chick, so I rock a lot of black.

Are you still in NYC or is home in L.A.?

It’s both places to be honest. Home is actually every airport in America. I’m literally all over the place. New York and L.A. are my two home bases and I have a home in both places.

Take us into your closet. What are some accessories you have to have before leaving the house?

I can't leave the house without my nameplate and a bunch of rings. I like to be a little flashy. I'm kind of getting more into shoes as I get older. I was always more of a sneaker head.

And your closet would consist of mostly what brands?

Girl, I wear a whole lot of BCBG! I really love the collection; it really fits my body well, they're classy and great transitional pieces for daytime and nighttime. Zara and Nike are a bit of an obsession as well - I usually wear it with the intentions of working out.

Your tour life has been non-stop lately. First you opened up for Mary J. Blige and now having just finished up the EOS with Melanie and Elijah, dealing with balancing the craziness of fans, a career and overall life.  Who calms you down or gives you needed advice?

Mary J. Blige gave me sound advice on my last tour. She approaches every situation with a really dope level of respect and demands respect without being condescending. She's very sure of herself, and extremely secure in what she thinks and her opinion. I really respect her. Her advice means everything.

What's the fan experience been like on tour?

There's been nothing too crazy to be honest. I had a little intimate listening of the new EP in NYC and Detroit and everybody responded well to all of the records. Everything on the EP is an individual piece of the story and it's about this love affair - this relationship, that you're not supposed to have, but you do. Fans really seem to be drawn to the story I'm telling, which is a great thing. My fans are followers of real music, and I've had their co-sign since early on.

You, Melanie, and Elijah seem more like family. So snitch—who's the filthiest? The funniest? The biggest diva? 

As far as the diva and the one to take the longest, me and Melanie are both pretty equal. I chopped my hair off not too long ago, so it's made things a bit easier. The funniest? Melanie and I are both really quick with it, clever, funny and laugh at the same stupid corny shit. I crack jokes sometimes and I get the look like, " holy shit did she really just say that?." Sometimes Mel will crack jokes and they'll go over peoples heads.

But I would definitely say I'm the clown of the bunch. I'm more like the mean girl, and the bully. Elijah is more like the baby brother that gets picked on.

As an artist, you run into fans all the time who can relate to you and your music, but who do you personally relate to musically?

It's funny, there's a meme going around saying, "Don't Drake and drive or you'll end up at your ex's house." It opens chapters that we as women don't even want to think about and it's in the back of our heads. Drake takes you there! A lot of what Drake sings about is an emotional connection. I love him as an artist.

I can just imagine the two of you harmonizing, crying over broken hearts on a record...

Definitely! I would love to work with Drake.

Listening to your new EP, it sounds like you're in a new place with love.

I'm a lover of love, but a part of what comes with love is the heartbreak and drama. And I think there is a part of me that also loves that too. I think that's something most people are not willing to admit, that I talk about on the EP. Love is always drama, love is always painful—at least the love that counts.

When is the album dropping?

I have no idea.

Why has it been delayed?

It’s a number of things. I have a lot of songs that I wanted to include in the project  that I didn’t want to leave out. I didn’t want to just throw an album out there and not have a buildup; building up to the release of it so I felt releasing an EP was the best decision until then. With all the songs that I have I want to rope my fans in again and remind them that I’m working and there’s still multiple stories that need to be told. The new collection of songs is going to do that. It’s going to set the tone for the album next year.

Do you feel like you have any real competition in R&B?

I don't feel like I have any competition in R&B. I'm honestly in a lane of my own. I think there are other women taht cater to the same genre but I'm telling a different story. There's too much female ratchet. It's catty and I wasn't raised like that. I'm not interested in any girl drama. At the end of the day, my integrity is worth more to me than ten seconds of attention over bullshit.

We never hear your name in any R&B female beef.

I don’t engage in it at all. I’m not that girl

 

A lot of your music talks about love. But balancing a busy schedule, do you actually have time for it?

I’m in a relationship right now and extremely happy and comfortable!

Where did the two of you meet?

I met him working at a hotel that I would stay at out in L.A. to record. He courted me and sent me flowers, food, wine and showed me chivalry; things a girl should be familiar with.

You sound like a girl in love! How in the world do you balance a relationship right now with all that's going on?

Umm, you can say that! (laughs) And it's always hard to balance my love in a relationship and the love for what I do. You gotta really love this industry shit to do it. I'm committed to the love that comes first - and that's my job right now.

What keeps you so level-headed and humble?

I'm surrounded by real people. Maintaining really strong relationships with my team that I've been with since day 1 is what really reminds me of who I was beforehand, and who I need to be for my life to have purpose. It's about recognizing that what I'm doing is greater and bigger than me. That's a really important piece of maintaining who you are. It's not about me, I'm serving a hire purpose.

 

It's no secret that you're body is looking better than ever! Have you been changing up your diet and exercise regime?

It was a process of dieting and exercise. I have a trainer but I'm in love with Soul Cycle. It's a really great cardio, high energy; the music is amazing and a total mind and body connection. I travel so much that I end up just snacking on cashews, peanuts, or granola bars.

What's your secret to staying in shape while you’re on tour or just being always on the move?

Working out and dieting is definitely hard to maintain on tour. But don't get it mistaken, I love to eat. It takes a lot of self control and even more discipline. Really more about diet and eating better than working out. When I’m stationed in New York, I’m working out four times a week. A lot of things have been in movement so there was no time this last week, so I haven’t worked out more than once. It always varies depending on the schedule, but it’s always hard to maintain.

I'm sure you had to change up your style with the weight loss.

As far as my dressing and personal style—I definitely had to change up with that. I've had to get rid of stuff I really loved, but it also helped me to try new things. I incorporate more heels and boots into my wardrobe now. I was always a huge sneaker head. I had to revamp my closet

You take a lot of fashion risks now. Looking back- any fashion regrets?

There’s probably a number of things, but it’s mainly if I show up to an event and it’s not as fancy or fancier than I thought. That always makes me cringe if I’m under-dressed for affairs, or overdressed. Like if I show up in a gown to an event that I could have worn sneakers to.

 

Aside from your music, you maintain a very mysterious appeal. Is there anything that you feel your music could be missing or a side to you that people don't know?

I'm a lot more fun than my music gives off. I have a lot more personality than what you necessarily hear. That's the side of me that people haven't seen yet—the funny, silly side.

 

Credits

Hair: Ursula Stephen For Motions/Epiphany Artist Group, Inc.

Makeup: Danni Sellers Of Face Value Artistry

Styling: Ethan Benjamin

 

Look 1:

Red Dress - Dkny

Necklace - Ugo Cacciatori

Jewelry - Pamela Love

 

Look 2:

Top - Misguided

Pants - Sretsis

Shoe - Andrew Kayla

Necklace - Ugo Cacciatori

 

Look 3:

Top - Stylist’s Own

Necklace - Erickson Beamon

Bottom - Roseanna

Boots - Gianvito Rossi

 

Look 4:

Shirt - Saunder

Necklace - Jennifer Fisher

Shorts - Kora Rae

Boots - Emilio Pucci

 

 

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As another day passes without Aaliyah's music on streaming platforms, fans are looking for answers.

Over the weekend, the hashtag #FreeAaliyahMusic appeared on Twitter in light of song battles between Swizz Beats vs. Timbaland and Ne-Yo vs. Johnta Austin. The latter opponents played their collaborations with the late singer, proving Baby Girl's dynamic relevancy in the age of modern R&B. As songs like "I Don't Wanna" and "Come Over" picked up plays on YouTube, the hashtag pointed out the tragedy of her songs not existing on platforms like Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music.

Aaliyah's only album on multiple platforms is her 1994 debut, Age Ain't Nothing But A Number. Other albums like the platinum-selling One in A Million and Aaliyah are being held in a vault of sorts along with other unmixed vocals by her uncle and founder of Blackground Records, Barry Hankerson.

Hankerson has built up a mysterious yet haunting aura over the years due to his refusal to release Aaliyah's music on streaming platforms. Reasons are unknown but Stephen Witt's 2016 investigation revealed business deals like the shift in distribution from  Jive Records to Atlantic helped Hankerson take ownership of the singer's masters. The deal was made in 1996 when Blackground featured artists like Aaliyah, Toni Braxton, R. Kelly, then-production duo Timbaland and Magoo as well as Missy Elliott.

Sadly, Aaliyah's music isn't the only recordings lost in the shuffle. Recordings from Timbaland and Toni Braxton have been hidden from the world with both taking legal action against the label over the years. There's also JoJo, who had to break from the label after they refused to release her third album. The singer recently re-recorded her first two albums.

With Aaliyah's music getting the attention it deserves, Johnta Austin discussed the singer's impact on R&B today. "It was amazing, she was incredible from top to bottom," he told OkayPlayer of working with the singer on "Come Over" and "I Don't Wanna." "I don't think Aaliyah gets the vocal credit that she deserves. When she was on it, she had the riffs, she had everything."

Earlier this year, an account impersonating Hankerson claimed her music would arrive on streaming platforms January 16, on what would've been her 41st birthday. A docuseries called the Aaliyah Diaries was also promoted for a release on Netflix.

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Her first #1 solely based on AirPlay! She was the first ! #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/BHlANZjCGZ

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View this post on Instagram

 

I'm really excited to announce my new show, Cooked with Cannabis on @Netflix!! Anyone that knows me, knows how much I love my Netflix, so this is a dream come true. Interestingly, this was one of those things that I didn't go looking for, it kind of came to me. As a chef, I was intrigued by the food and as an everyday person, I was interested in how powerful this topic is in today's society. In this country, many things have been used systematically to oppress groups of people, but this is so culturally important for us to learn and grow together. I hope you all will tune in, it's definitely going to be a good time! We launch on 4/20! XO, Kelis

A post shared by Kelis (@kelis) on Mar 18, 2020 at 7:57am PDT

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