Keri Hilson Says Trips To Africa Are 'Inspiring' Her New Album

'Everywhere I travel, I get music from that region of the world,' she tells MTV News.

Keri Hilson received plenty of accolades during her transition from songwriter to performer, including a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist.

Now, Hilson is in full-on artist mode as she works on the follow-up to her debut album, In a Perfect World ... . According to Hilson, promoting her first album actually helped inspire her sophomore effort.

"Everywhere I travel, I get music from that region of the world," she told MTV News. "I've been to Nigeria, I've been to South Africa, three cites in Africa [in all]. I gather music from these regions, and African music is very drum-heavy. It was very inspiring. I'm definitely going to be using some of that inspiration."

Hilson was one of 2009's breakout stars with her hits "Turning Me On" featuring Lil Wayne and "Knocks You Down" featuring Ne-Yo and Kanye West. She first made a name for herself behind the scenes by writing songs for Britney Spears, Ciara and Kelly Rowland, among others.

Still, moving into the spotlight wasn't easy. Hilson's debut suffered a number of false starts, delays for which she told MTV News last year she was "grateful." "It's kind of been a little Detox-y," Hilson laughed, comparing the wait for her debut to Dr. Dre's years-in-the-making LP.

"I'm just a perfectionist," she said at the time. "I have had many [release dates], but it's all for a good cause. The label wants to make sure the album has its proper release, and I'm thankful for that. Very grateful, even though fans look at it like it's a bad thing."

For her sophomore effort, Hilson said she's expecting Polow Da Don and Timbaland to produce the majority of her yet-untitled set. Hilson also said Kanye will likely be onboard for her next album as well. She said she hopes she can recruit Ryan Leslie into the fold too.

What do you think about Keri Hilson and Ryan Leslie possibly working together? Who else should she work with on her next album? Let us know in the comments below!