Keri Hilson has been M.I.A. from the music business for almost a decade, and many have wondered what happened to her once-blossoming career. Though she’s been active on social media in the last few years, we’ve never really heard more about why she took a break in the first place. Keri’s finally speaking up and is sharing her own regrets as well.
Keri’s debut album In A Perfect World… was released in March of 2009 and went on to establish Hilson as not only a songwritier but also a hit artist in her own right. The album included such singles as “Energy,” smash hit “Turnin’ Me On” and the biggest hit from the album, “Knock You Down,” which featured Kanye West. That song eventually earned Keri a #2 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and eventually went double platinum.
The success of “Knock You Down” eventually eclipsed the rest of her album’s singles and Keri moved along throughout her career. Her second album, No Boys Allowed, was released in December of 2010 and then after that, Keri seemingly vanished. Outside of a few appearances here and there, news of her and her third album seemed to have evaporated into the air.
It seems as if the popularity of “Turnin’ Me On” lead Keri to discover more about herself, her place in the industry and also the kind of artist that she saw herself as. When the industry seemingly used their common tactics to pit artists against each other for promotion and marketing, Keri found herself caught in the middle against one of Black music’s biggest artists at the time – Beyoncé.
As Keri tells it, there was a remix of “Turnin’ Me On” at the time that featured lyrics that she didn’t write but was instructed to sing anyway at the behest of her handlers – who were then threatening retribution if she didn’t follow suit with their instructions. The early 2000’s were filled with fake beefs, relationships and more, in order to bring eyes to a project, video or single.
Keri’s story follows that same template and it’s one of the reasons why the industry soured to her. Citing her youth, excitement at the opportunity to do what she loved and being under the control of her record label and their experience all lead Keri to depression and unhappiness – especially when they tried to pit her against Beyoncè for press.
The lyrics from the song at the time read as follows: “I ain’t tryin to start some mess /There’s just somethin on my chest that I need to get off / Cause you turnin me off / Your vision cloudy if you think that you’re the best / You can dance she can sing but she need to move it to the left / She needs to go have some babies / she need to sit down, she fake / Them other chicks ain’t even worth my time to talk about.”
Host Claudia Jordan interviewed a resurging Hilson for her Fox Soul show Out Loud with Claudia Jordan and asked her a whole host of questions as it seems Keri Hilson is finally ready to return to the spotlight of the music business. At the top of her mind was Hilson’s beef with Beyoncé and Ciara from the late 2000’s.
“No one could ever compare to Beyonce let’s just say the name that we’re discussing. No one could compare, no one will for a very, very, very long time and that was never my aim.” Keri shared that she didn’t write the lyrics that eventually made the remix, and that drama was never a part of who she was.
“I had to pay the penalty and then I’m caught like do I tell the truth do I expose them early in my career? I’m super young, super new, this is my first album. I’m so excited it just soiled my whole dream.”
Ultimately, Keri’s depression, loss of a long-term, 11-year relationship and other industry troubles lead her to take a break but she’s ready to get back to it now.
See the interview below.