*In trying to push her songs on top 40 radio, K. Michelle says she has run into roadblocks because of her soulful singing style – a style that when used by white singers gets top 40 love without hesitation.
“There’s certain formats and radio stations and certain things we can’t sing as African American women,” the former “Love & Hip-Hop: Atlanta” star, whose third album “More Issues Than Vogue” drops later this month, told HuffPost Live last week. “For instance, if I’m to do a ballad, it’s going to go to Urban [Adult Contemporary] — a very small audience. But if other artists, of other ethnicities are to do a ballad, it’ll be played on Top 40 and it’ll be played on Rhythmic.”
K. Michelle said the treatment is “unfair” and that her experience is reflective of a bigger trend in popular music.
“The blue-eyed soul era is here,” she said. “I don’t care what color you are, but that is not the industry that I’m working in. I can sing the same song as a white artist and they’re going to ship me off to never be heard … but they’re not going to do that to white artists.”
K. Michelle first broached this issue in January, using Adele’s hit “Hello” as an example.
The artist said her label, Atlantic Records, has been “very honest” with her about the commercial viability of her bluesier tracks like “If It Ain’t Love.” Unfortunately, that song wasn’t likely to end up on the usual radio rotations, she said.
“They were like, ‘If this record was from a white girl, it would be number one,'” she said. “They know that the people who [run] these stations are going to give them a hard time about playing it. They are in the fight with me to get this music out there. …It’s very discouraging. It doesn’t matter how great of a song it is.”