By: Melody Charles
Kelly Price did more than hit the charts and earn her fourth Grammy nomination with her first new song in three years, “Tired”: apparently, she ignited a movement.
“I was literally blown away,” says the 37-year-old from her Los Angeles home about hearing the news last week. “I was just telling someone this morning, this is my third or fourth Grammy nomination, but this one feels very, very different. I asked a little kid one day who was singing ‘Tired,’ ‘what are you tired of?’ and he told me ‘School lunch.’ So I said ‘Wow, that’s a real problem!’” she laughs.
In the midst of putting the finishing touches on her latest CD, which is due in March of 2011, Ms. Price broke down where “Tired” came from, how it evolved and why it’s resonated with so many fans.
MELODY CHARLES: “Tired” is such an emotional and cathartic song. How did you write it?
KELLY PRICE: “Well, first of all, the conversation that I had with R. Kelly prior to the song’s inception—literally, we were talking about my career and where it would and should be, and he said, ‘ we have not had a Kelly Price-penned anthem at radio for a very long time. Since you wrote ‘Friend of Mine,’ there hasn’t been something that powerful at radio. I keep hearing you sing the words ‘I’m tired’…come on, think about it. Even the kids get on your nerves, and that doesn’t make you a bad mother, but every mother has a moment where they want to strangle their kids. If you write this song, and just be totally honest, talk about those moments where you were ready to snap or just snap somebody else: Everybody has had those moments and experienced them, and when they hear it, they’ll know you’re telling the truth and they’ll sing along too.”
MC- That’s deep. Did the words come immediately?
KP– “It literally incubated for about a year-and-a-half. One day I was on my way to the studio to work on something totally and completely unrelated, and there was a weird moment where I could literally hear our conversation playing in my head and I heard the words to the song. I was singing and driving and then I was scrambling, with one hand on the wheel and the other one digging for my Blackberry so I could try to record it into the phone —I wouldn’t recommend that because I was driving in the HOV lane—and that’s literally how the song was born. I ran into the studio, told the engineer ‘take out whatever we were going to work on today, because I have to get this out.’ I walked in the booth, sang the song from word one to the very last, with no music.’ That’s how it happened.
MC-Divine inspiration, no doubt. I know the song rocketed to the Top 30 on Billboard’s Urban AC Radio Charts, so the response tells me that people are relating to the story. What have you been hearing about it from fans?
KP- “Someone sent a comment to me one day saying ‘Tired makes me want to get into a fight and go to church all at the same time.’ (laughs) I totally understood what they meant. That’s one of the more humorous responses, but mostly, I’ve heard a lot of ‘thank you.’ That has to be the biggest thing: ‘thank you for saying what I couldn’t say and for being willing to share what you were feeling, because I felt the same way. A lot of them also said ‘I felt like I was the only one.’
MC- So “Tired” is therapeutic to them as well.
KP-“Exactly. I think that with people in our lives and in our human experience, that, more than anything, is what keeps us down. I think that going through a situation and being deceived to think that there are the only ones dealing with it can destroy a person. If you feel like you’re the only one, you’re less likely to talk about it, less likely to seek out help for it.”
MC- So music does that for you too?
KP- “It does. Music goes past being what I do to support myself and my family. This is my therapy, I can have a violent moment and get it out in a song,: you’ll know it because you’ll hear it, you’ll see it, and it’s probably the safest way (laughs).’”