After penning a slew of breakup burners reassuring lovesick girls that it's not them -- it's him, Keyshia Cole had a breakthrough. Midway through recording her new LP, Calling All Hearts, she had to change course.
The self-described "heartbroken-type, reality type of chick" stopped by the MTV Newsroom last week and told us she was all but done with love — and her studio sessions reflected that — when life threw her for a loop.
"I recorded half the album before I met my fiancé, and so I was not really that optimistic about finding true love," Cole said about meeting Cleveland Cavalier Daniel Gibson. "And then after we met, I finished the record, which created a whole 'nother outlook on life," she laughed. "So that's why I named it Calling All Hearts ... because I feel like it was both sides: heartbreak and the happiness of the heart."
K. Cole (who was once romantically linked to rapper Young Jeezy) gives her fiancé a Valentine in the form of a video for the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League heater "Long Way Down," the album's second single. Gibson makes a cameo in the stylish clip, which finds the songstress hiding behind oversize sunglasses and draped in a sidewalk-grazing dress. Cole wanders along a crowded Hollywood block clutching a suitcase, stopping to pose for photos with fans but she's obviously distracted.
As memories of a bruised relationship flash across several frames, Cole spits nails on the song's second verse: "Already had me a cheater and a mistreater/ Already been with a flosser and a smooth talker/ I've had a betrayer, somethin' like a playa/ But that ain't what I want no more."
Then Gibson and Cole meet cute standing on a stretch of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He consoles her, offers to carry her bag. "Just when I said that I was through with love," she belts on the explosive chorus. "There he was, telling me he saw my S.O.S."
"Well, actually I didn't write that song; I wrote the bridge," Cole explained of "Long Way Down." "But I thought that it was a great perspective, as women, and as people who have been hurt before, been hurt by the person that you love the most in your life, it can really do something to your character, to your soul, the person that you become. And I felt like with a new love, sometimes we have to, not to say completely forget, but forgive and move on and allow that new love to come in your life and to make you happy and change your whole perspective on love after you've been scorned."
Cole broke into giggles when we praised the "flossers" and "the cheaters" line. "Me too, I love that part too." But it isn't all ballads on Calling All Hearts, which dropped on Tuesday (December 21).
"There's a couple of songs that are very shocking on the album, I'm sure!" she remarked. "But I think it makes it that much bigger. I feel [the album is] gonna be that much more successful because you've seen it and you know it, and you know me and you know I'm honest."
The Oakland native stretches on this disc with songs like the Nicki Minaj-assisted "I Ain't Thru," which is fight music for superwomen. And the Chuck Harmony-produced "Confused in Love" is a standout number punched up by big, soulful horns. Timbaland also steps in to douse "Last Hangover" with his signature synths.
And the Keyshia Cole die-hards will warm up to slow-burning tracks like "Tired of Doing Me" featuring Tank and "What You Do to Me." "I so love working with artists that can sing, sing, sing," Cole said of working with R&B stalwarts Tank and Faith Evans on this effort.
But she has other collaborations in mind for the next one: "I would honestly love to work with one of the girls that are huge in pop, like a Beyoncé or Lady Gaga or Fergie."
A "Telephone," part 2 with Gaga, B and K. Cole? We'd answer that call.
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