You might have heard Kreesha Turner’s amazing vocals being featured on shows like “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” “Desperate House Wives” or even “Gossip Girl,” but the 29 year old Canadian recording artist has since then evolved. Kreesha’s out here to prove that she’s ‘Michael Jackson bad.’
Speaking to Kreesha is amazing. She’s more than willing to share details about life in Jamaica and Canada, having creative control of her third album—Evolution Inevitable—and her love for Missy Elliot.
SS: Referencing an interview with Christian Confidential, you mentioned that since you are a Gemini there are two sides to you. Can you explain?
KT: For people that know astrology, Gemini, The Twins, are always believed to have two very different sides to them. I’ve always had a consistent consensus from people that after they’ve gotten to know me that they’re like “wow you’re the least Gemini Gemini I’ve every met. I’ve always been even keel…They’re like “you’re very stable.”
I started to associate my Gemini and my two sides specifically as the two worlds I grew up in. My mother is the Jamaican, my father is Canadian. And I’ve described my two twins as my mom and my dad…
SS: You’ve evolved a lot from your first hit “Don’t Call Me Baby” to your latest album Evolution Inevitable. What was the inspiration from one style to the other?
KT: For this album [Evolution Inevitable] I was drawing completely on my Jamaican side… My first album was label controlled and they expected me to draw essentially from my Canadian side. My publicist was always like “don’t speak in the dialect” you know “speak proper and clean English.” They made me straighten my hair. The label control was very main stream and very pop. I didn’t get to influence my sound with essentially what was a true representation of me, in a sense.
Before I got signed (back in 2006), I worked the under ground—I guess you could say pop scene—in Canada for 3 to 4 years. When I was active on the scene, everything I did I wrote. I performed my own material. But everything I did was always a mixture of dance hall, R&B and hip hop. It didn’t sound like the stuff I’m doing now, but it still was the same 3 elements. When I got signed they took complete control, flipped me upside down, flipped my image, my sound and I kind of understood that I had to go with the trend.
My goal was always to gain more control. Even my second album, Tropical Electric, I started to get more control back.
SS: How did you manage such a smooth transition from one to the other?
KT: It was definitely a challenge. I can’t say I necessarily had a map planned out. My first album, like I said, I kinda went with it. I did have the opportunity to sit and learn from amazing song writers during that first process and cycle. I was lucky the second time around, that with success often comes control. I had a lot of success off my first album. And the label starts to trust your opinion a little bit more when you have a little bit of success to back your word, in a sense. I also lucked out, that because my previous manager was also a Jamaican and he also was of power, and was able to kind of convince the label, and allow me to influence the tropic album for the second time.
And with this third album, in the midst of last year’s transition, with Universal buying out EMI, I was kind of in limbo. You know, they had shut down EMI, and with the transition, Universal was going through and choosing which artists they were going to drop and which artists they were going to keep, etc… And just because I’ve always been a workaholic, I guess you could say, I’m not content sitting at home on my ass, I got up, moved back to LA (from Toronto). I started going out and networking and I found a number of people that I clicked with musically. That’s how I found my executive producer, who did my whole album. He produced “MJ” and I found my writing partner. With our little collective, you know, with the three of us, essentially [we] just sat down and made what we felt like, because I had no one telling my what to do at the time.
SS: Biggest inspirations? Any people you hope to collaborate with?
KT: My inspirations do not necessarily make sense to the sound of my music, because I grew up listening to absolutely everything. I think that is one of the blessings that I’ve had growing up in two different countries. My father, he loved his blues and his jazz, he still loves like Led Zeppelin. My mom loved her classic rock and Abba and her reggae and gospel. My mom did not listen to dance hall, I discovered that on my own through my annual trips to Jamaica and when I lived there. I have favorite artists from every genre. I’m trained as a jazz vocalist, so for me Billie Holiday is one of my idols. In the R&B ecliptic kind of world, I am a big Erykah Badu fan.
A collaboration with someone like Missy would be epic.
SS: What are the differences between your American, Canadian and Jamaican fans?
KT: They definitely know very specific songs. The West Coast knows my first album and still refers to “Don’t Call Me Baby” and “Bounce With Me.” The East Coast, just because in Toronto and just essentially in the entire Montrealwe have a much larger Caribbean community, they consumed my second album.
My second album was not officially released in the US, so when people look me up the first thing they’re seeing is my first album from 2008. They kind of missed that second album, and now hearing “MJ” they’re like “oh my god what happened, is this the same person.” So for them it’s a bit more confusing then it is for my Canadian fans.
SS: What are you working on now? What can we expect?
KT: We’ll be shooting the music video to the second single probably the next month or so.