Grammy award-winning songwriter, singer, and television personality Bridget Kelly has developed a little bit of a chip on her shoulder. And for good reason.
In the midst of introducing her second project since leaving since leaving Roc Nation, Kelly is making the rounds, promoting her most recent visual for her latest single, “In The Grey,” from her album, “Reality Bites.”
Just this April, the New York City-bred bombshell released “Reality Bites,” a 13-track debut that showcases both her range as a singer and her truth as a songwriter.
“(After leaving Roc Nation), I had this terrible stigma around me. I felt like everybody that looked at me, saw me as damaged goods,” she admitted. “Like if I left Roc Nation and left Jay-Z and if it didn’t happen there, it’s not going to happen somewhere else. I tried my best to not stop working completely, but in the wake of that too, I was also given the opportunity to appear on television.”
Kelly joined the cast of Love and Hip-Hop Hollywood in 2017. She essentially believed the franchise would be a great platform to give her fans an inside into her life as an independent music artist.
Vigorously working in the studio to create more upcoming projects, with plans to also go on tour, Kelly said, “This year for me was really incredible because in the wake of that breakup, I made this incredible album.”
In her first appearance on the show, the hit VH-1 series captured Kelly’s ex-boyfriend James break up with her in front of the nation.
Challenged to face the dismantling of her six-year relationship throughout filming season four of Love and Hip-Hop Hollywood, Kelly said, “It was really painful and shocking to go through in the public eye that way. With having to gravel with that on camera, then go home to decompress and handle everything.”
“On this season of Love and Hip-Hop Hollywood, everything around my storyline was about my album and my process,” she said, about Season Five. “That to me was a blessing because I feel like I’m really utilizing the platform properly now. I’m really trying to make the most of it in a positive way, as opposed to getting on there throwing drinks and snatching wigs.”
Born and raised in New York City, Kelly has always admired the diverse culture of music, art, and language that she grew up around.
Her passion for singing began when she auditioned for the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in Manhattan.
Grinding to launch her music career by any means, Kelly often performed on New York subway platforms with her portable speakers. After performing, she would pass out CDs of her music.
Kelly has always understood that hard work is just as important as talent when it comes to success.
“The need to hustle and grind . . . in the most densely populated major city in the United States really allowed me to hone in on my craft, and . . . figure out what it was that I wanted to do early on,“ she said.
Kelly ultimately learned how to adopt music as a coping mechanism for her struggles as a teenager.
“As a teenager with all of our insecurities and self-discoveries in that time period, for me, being able to write and perform and express myself in a positive way was impactful.”
Shortly after her acceptance into the performing arts high school, Kelly’s father signed her up to participate in a church choir.
Unfortunately, when she was 20 years old, her father passed away due to a battle with liver cancer. The tragedy of her father’s death served as further inspiration to fully embrace her creative talents as a singer and songwriter.
Before her father’s passing, Kelly promised him that she would make something of herself. Her last promise remains her underlying motivation in pursuit of her goals.
Kelly hired Alaska Gedeon as her assistant. In an attempt to help take Kelly’s music career to the next level, he used his connections with Def Jam Recordings to arrange an interview for Kelly with Jay Brown and the executives of Roc Nation, LLC.
It did not take Roc Nation long to recognize the depths of Kelly’s talent.
“They were just impressed by my vocal ability,” she said. “I had a catalog of music at that point. They threw me in a booth, and were like, ‘Just sing.’ I was in there singing for like an hour and a half, and they just recorded me for like an hour and a half.
“I was singing my stuff and cover songs. It was kind of a whirlwind. Everything happened really fast after that.”
In 2008, Kelly signed with Roc Nation, the label founded by multi-platinum rapper and hip-hop mogul Jay-Z.
While signed to Roc Nation, Kelly released several projects including her 2011 EP “Every Girl” and 2013 EP “Cut To…Bridget Kelly.” After six years at Roc Nation, Kelly left the label in 2014.
“I was still trying to figure out who I was as an artist,” Kelly said. “That opportunity really provided some incredible experience for me, but I think ultimately I needed to do some more self-work.
“We put projects out, did a lot of touring, and a lot of collaborations with different artists. I wrote for a lot of different artists, and had countless sessions where I hoped that the albums would come about,” she added. “I think a lot of artists go through that process where they feel like they’re just constantly working like they’re this hamster in a wheel. Sometimes it turns out to be successful, and sometimes it doesn’t. It’s kind of a crab shoot.”
In addition to singing, Kelly has assisted many artists with their songwriting.
One of her most notable collaborations is with Kelly Clarkson for her 2011 single, “Einstein,” from the Grammy award-winning album, “Stronger.”
Kelly admitted feeling pressure to put her career as a songwriter on hold, in order to cultivate her career as an R&B singer.
“I internalized that and really stopped writing, letting it paralyze me,” Kelly said. “For like two or three years I didn’t write anything. It was a learning experience for me.
“I had to develop a thicker skin at the time, too,” she said. “I had to get back to being confident, find the strength to put the hater blockers up and having tunnel vision as far as my creative process was concerned.”
Four years into processing from her separation with Roc Nation, Kelly now feels she has accomplished a better sense of self-awareness working as an independent artist.
Going forward, Kelly presently yearns to cultivate her confidence, while also partaking ventures that bring her peace. She has begun branding her fitness journey, with promoting her mantra, “If you didn’t sweat, it didn’t count.”
Kelly said she is also interested in becoming a voiceover artist, and hosting a late-night show.