Keri Hilson talks 'Pretty Girl Rock,' inner beauty and her dream collaboration
Usually when a female commands "Don't hate me 'cause I'm beautiful," it garners the opposite reaction. Not so with Keri Hilson.
After just one listen to "Pretty Girl Rock," it's nearly impossible to keep yourself from humming it the rest of the day -- if not feeling just a little bit guilty for identifying with the cavalier lyrics.
Hilson's sophomore album, "No Boys Allowed," is designed to empower women, something she's made very clear with her latest track.
"What you hear could be conceit, but it's not about what you hear, it's about what you feel," she tells Zap2it. "That record, you feel the undertone is confidence. It's inner beauty. I want everyone to feel that way about themselves no matter what society says."
Continuing, "We seek validation in people. In men, in other women, in expensive things... I think that it was most important for women to know that true beauty comes from within."
Something that Hilson herself may have discovered between recording her first album, "In a Perfect World..." and "No Boys Allowed."
"The first time around I was a lot more introspective and emotional and vulnerable," the singer explains. "I felt incomplete in a lot of situations, in love and in life in general. This time around I've lived a little more and I'm not as heartbroken going into this... just a little more aggressive and more assured."
In her video for "Pretty Girl Rock," Hilson takes on some of her biggest musical influences -- from Josephine Baker, to Diana Ross, Janet Jackson and TLC -- but says that despite the nature of her lyrics, the intent of the video was to reflect on the stories of these groundbreaking women.
"It was important that we show women who are not only physically beautiful, it was less about that and more about their story," she says. "When you look at what they did and who they were and how society went through a period of shunning them for being who they are... they made no apologies and were just themselves."
Adding, "That made them more beautiful than any physical feature could have."
So who does the "Knock you Down" singer count as her most influential predecessor? Surprisingly, she didn't make the cut of the video.
"If I could have added Lauryn Hill, I absolutely would have because 'The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill' was one of the most inspiring albums I ever owned," she claims.
Since her start as a songwriter in the mid 2000's, Hilson has worked with some of the biggest names in the business, but her all time favorite person to work with was none other than Kanye West.
"I love Kanye, he's very inspiring," she admits. But is he a fun time? "Absolutely," she tells us. As for a dream collaboration, Hilson hopes to someday team up with "Forget You" singer, Cee-Lo Green.
The songstress is in the midst of planning a U.S. tour come April, but will be performing overseas before then. Since her team is still routing her stateside tour, she couldn't dish on where she'll be stopping just yet. In the meantime, "No Boys Allowed" is occupying the No. 11 spot on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop chart.
Check out her video for "Pretty Girl Rock" below. Which icon do you think she does the best job doubling as? Personally, we love the TLC segment.
Photo/Video credit: Getty Images
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