Artist Spotlight: Keke Palmer
March 1, 2017
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Keke Palmer is a veteran to the world of TV and movies, but is reintroducing herself to the world of music. Ten years ago, Palmer was a 14-year-old fresh off the success of the films Akeelah and the Bee and Jump In; she released her debut album So Uncool, a title that lives up to its name. So Uncool was a mediocre, bubblegum R&B album that went nowhere on the charts and forced Palmer to focus more on her acting career. Palmer talked to The Huffington Post about how the record business was preventing her from making authentic music and putting her in a box.
Today is different. Palmer is 23 years old and has shredded her child star image, thanks to more serious roles and skimpy outfits that she struts on Instagram. She has become somewhat of a mini-Brandy regarding being the diverse entertainer: she has written a memoir, starred in a role on Broadway, and done philanthropy work, but most importantly, she has decided to give music another shot, signing to Island Records in 2015.
With her five-track visual EP Lauren and previous singles like “I Don’t Belong to You,” “Enemies,” and “Reverse Psychology,” Keke shows a new side of herself. She is Lauren (which is her real name) the girl from Southside Chicago who is an adult touching upon more mature themes such as vulnerability, being jealous, being sexual and knowing what she does and doesn’t want. The songs are even better with music that goes along with it: the backing beat meets reverse piano on “I Don’t Belong to You,” the hip-hop-inflected R&B tune “Jealous” and the early 2000s R&B guitar playing in “Reverse Psychology.” A standout and guaranteed radio hit is “Hands-Free,” the fifth song on Lauren that sounds like “Work” 2.0 that Rihanna probably turned down.
The visuals go along with the songs and sometimes they don’t. The video “I Don’t Belong to You” in which Palmer walks to Cassie’s house holding her hand while scantily clad had everyone raising eyebrows about Keke’s sexual orientation; after response to this video, she came out as bisexual. It was a great platform to show Palmer’s rocking body and allow her to embrace her sexuality. “Hands-Free” shows Keke as an Egyptian queen with the setting to go along with it while she shows her fun side in “Got Me F***ed Up.” In the video for “Jealous” where Keke’s dancing skills are somewhat dismal and need some improvement.
Palmer is continuously underrated by the music world, but she still has time to find mainstream pop success; at 23 years old, no one would count her out just yet as long as she is consistent with the music she releases. In a music-hungry generation, one album never satisfies.
Her EP and singles are available on all the online music platforms.