|Posted by Iesha Marie on October 28, 2017 at 3:40 PM|
To say that 2017 has been a very busy year for actress/singer Demetria McKinney would be a gross understatement. With three TV projects, a feature-length film and the debut of her new CD, all dropping this year just go ahead and called it, “The Year of Demetria McKinney!”
In an exclusive to The Atlanta Voice, singer-actress Demetria McKinney discusses her new album and new TV projects that will be released this month.
It seems impossible that the Atlanta-based entertainer could squeeze another activity in the month of October. McKinney portrays Whitney Houston in the TV One biopic “Bobbi Kristina” which premiered at the first week of the month. Also debuting in October is her first album “Officially Yours.”
The album’s first single “Easy” has peaked at number 5 on the Billboard R&B chart. She starts filming Bounce TV’s “Saints & Sinners” at the end of October which will overlap some with the filming of her new TV series “Superstition” premiering on the SyFy channel Friday, Oct. 20 at 10 p.m.
The talented actress and singer first came to the attention of TV audiences in a supporting role on Tyler Perry’s sitcom “House of Payne” which is moving to OWN. She also appeared on the stage in a production by True Colors Theatre Company. She gained further notice with a short stint on Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Atlanta.”
McKinney took a little time out of her hectic schedule to visit The Atlanta Voice offices to talk about her many projects and her increasing fame.
Are you busy enough? But that is what you asked for, right?
Demetria McKinney: (Whew!) You have to be careful about what you ask for.
Just how true is that statement?
DM: Super true, especially lately. I’ve have been saying forever even before we lost her that my dream role would be to tell the Whitney Houston story. When the Bobbi Christina biopic came up, I was super happy and to do this. And then after a few days of filming the weight of it all set in. The responsibility settled in. The eyeballs that were going to be on me settled in. And I thought I might have played myself. I better do this right.
So how did you get over the pressure?
DM: I accepted it as an opportunity to pay homage to her. And I accepted her presence there. I’m not going to get too deep into it but I think I can speak everyone there, we felt them both there. I was surrounded by her (hearing her music everywhere) all the time. And going through the transformation, everything I had to do to be in her world, it required a lot but I think since I had been asking for it (role) for so long I had to do my due diligence.
Did you feel the pressure that Whitney felt as being this superstar – no privacy in her social life. Did you connect to that?
DM: Absolutely. Even though I wasn’t her but playing her, the criticism that was received even before any eyeballs ever saw the film was ever screened.
The attitudes that were taken even before the film had a chance to speak for itself, it was a lot. I felt like what it was to be judged. I had to understand the amount of love people had for her and how it turned into this ownership of her which I think is part of what caged her in so much where she did do some of the things she did. And why she connected with her daughter as her best friend and who genuinely loved her not just her voice, not her looks but her.
It’s been a very busy year for you so how do as a single parent keep yourself from losing contact with your son?
DM: That part has been hard. I’m really glad my son is of age now. He’s 18. So, he’s looking for that independence along with me now having to give it to him. The communication we still have is awesome. He’s still asking me for money. He still trying to be my dad by checking on where I am and what I’m wearing. We are still very much connected and we are because we were before all this began.
Have you noticed that as your stardom rises on the opposite end your privacy declines?
DM: Absolutely, I wasn’t really affected so much by the lack of privacy because I control what I put out there. Whatever that isn’t true, I can’t control that. That’s what people do. For me it’s the personal relationships. Learning who I can really trust as this thing grows and shifts and moves into something else. I’ve had to lose some people. I’ve had to cry a little bit. I’ve had to grow a lot and some people have changed and there is a difference: Plants grow. Children grow. Change can be up and down. The stock market changes every day. Figuring out those people who can grow with you instead of change on you is really something I’ve been struggling with this whole year.
What are you trying to say with this album?
DM: “Easy” (the single) is an anthem which was unexpected. The music is revealing more of who I am as a person. People have seen a little bit of me on “Real Housewives of Atlanta” and as Whitney in the “Bobby Kristina” biopic, this debut album is my chance to tell who I am by my own definition. Yeah, I’m bad, but I’m vulnerable, I been hurt. I celebrate my sisters. There is just a whole lot of me on this album. No woman is one dimensional. So, ladies, if you press play no matter what mood you are in, there is something there.
McKinney also pays homage to Whitney Houston on her debut album by covering two of her songs.
DM: If it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t have made this album. I would have never known I wanted to sing. I wouldn’t have made it as a human being to point that I could pursue my dreams. She brought me out of some really, really tough times. I had to make sure she was a part of this.
Interview by: Stan Washington | The Atlanta Voice