Most artists prefer to cultivate their albums to their own liking. Had that happened with Stella Soleil, she likely would not have recorded "Kiss Kiss." As the Chicago native would tell you, when you get a call from The Man requesting you record a particular song, you take his suggestion under advisement ... even if you're not feeling the idea at first.
"Doug Morris [Universal Music Group Chairman/CEO] called me," Soleil began, "and said that there was a Turkish song by this guy named Tarkan, and he wanted me to cut it." After hearing the track in question "Simarik," a 1999 hit by one-named Turkish superstar Tarkan Soleil was still skeptical. "I was so confused," she recalled. "I called [Morris] back and he said, 'Let's get a translator.' [Some lyrics] got lost in the translation. It's sort of nonsensical." Soleil (pronounced so-LAY) realized she had the makings of a hit while she was recording the rewritten song, which became the first salvo from her LP Dirty Little Secret, due out May 22. Now with the "Kiss Kiss" video garnering big spins on the usual outlets, Morris is looking like a genius in his artist's eyes.
"Doug was probably right about the song," Soleil said, laughing. She allowed that the kissing sound in the chorus is her favorite part of the track.
Directed by Hype Williams, the video for "Kiss Kiss" was shot on a beach in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, though the exotic location wasn't all paradise for Soleil.
"In this one scene," she remembered, laughing, "I'm on top of this rock formation in the middle of the ocean. It was so scary. [Williams is] riding by, way down at the bottom on a wave, like, 'Hey girl, how you doing?' I was screaming down, 'I hate you!' He's so great." When the singer first met with Williams, "He got me within 30 seconds," she recalled. "He was calling me Debbie Harry and stuff. But I'm going to kill him, though." Soleil added that she and Williams whom she calls "the single most gifted director around today" got along so well, they teamed up for a hip-hop remix of "Kiss Kiss," with Williams producing the track.
The singer, whose real last name is Katsoudas, said the rest of Dirty Little Secret will involve a lot of tongue-in-cheek sexual humor. To gain inspiration for the album, she took a two-year trek around the world, during which she read, wrote in journals and practiced yoga while recording in five different countries. "I spent two years by myself," she said. "[The label] was really supportive that I needed to go across the Atlantic to reinvent myself and to find my voice and my writing muse."