Who’s That Girl?- Bridget Kelly
written by: iman n. milner
“My nails are supposed to look like Pokémon, can you tell?” says Bridget Kelly as she makes herself comfortable with our staff. Laid back in sneakers and jeans the sultry, raspy voiced singer hailing from New York and the fresh faced front girl of Roc Nation has an ubiquitous charm and an alluring authenticity that is fanning the flame ignited when she first appeared on stage belting out “Empire State of Mind” alongside her boss and label head, Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter. “I always wanted to be signed wherever he was”, she says.
And with one major goal down Bridget is gearing up to bloom in the house Hova built.
Having all the makings of a future superstar, sans the diva attitude and scandals, Bridget Kelly is unapologetic. Her anti-cookie cutter sound and fearlessness is set to dare us all to dig a little deeper. “I’m going to be exposing a side of myself and of other women that is going to be new for people and may be a tough pill to swallow because there are things that we go through that we’re too afraid to talk about”, says Kelly. Her first offering Seek and Destroy solidifies her position. The Dream penned track narrates the heart of a vulnerable woman warning a lover with the kind words “you better not fuck this up”. Riding the beat infectiously with her smoky pipes, she seems to be exactly the sass that music is missing.
Refusing to settle in to the available lanes for a female artist in today’s industry, though daunting, gives her a confidence she admits to not always having in life. A self-proclaimed shy and insecure attention seeker, Bridget believes her music gives her an opportunity to completely let go. But even with the freedom she admits it is a position she learned the ups and downs of early in life. “My parents didn’t let me be independent, I kinda forced their hand. I had a real foot-in-mouth thing, I still struggle with it now”, she says with a laugh, “but I’m learning that some things are better left unsaid. I’m able to filter better but only in life, I’ll say what I please in my music”. And though her music has no boundaries, her journey to this point has come through stiff strategy. After a chance meeting with her manager, Alaska Brand who was working for Def Jam, Kelly began round the clock recording for a demo project that would land in the hands of rap mogul, Jay-Z, as he was parting ways with the major label. A year and half later she inked a deal with Roc Nation and the following year her life was forever changed when she was asked to join Jay-Z on his $71 million grossing Blueprint 3 Tour. Though the experience brought buzz her way it was also an opportunity that would come back to haunt her after the joy wore off. “It was great because I got to travel the world and perform for 100,000’s of people but it spoiled me, working with Jay’s band, seeing all of the things I saw, now I have to go back and do all the legwork to make it back there for myself”.
By not allowing her seemingly premature success get to her head, Bridget Kelly has been able to put her focus on both an EP, Every Girl, released on October 19th as well as her freshman album offering that will have to make a strong stand against label mates J Cole and Rihanna. Unlike many new artists, she hasn’t bought into believing that she can do something completely new in a business that’s been around twice as long as she has. Instead, Kelly is focused on staying true to her reality. “ I don’t think anybody at this point can reinvent the wheel but I want to continue to connect with people through my voice and through my story. My hope is that my story isn’t the only one I’m the only one I’m able to tell”. Seems like a simple enough wish for a girl who manages to turn every moment to shine into a light show making us all believers. Even now, Pokémon nails, jeans and sneakers to boot, Bridget Kelly is a superstar in the flesh and a music icon in the making.
Photos by Ashley Nguyen
Stylist: Seth Brundle
Assistant to stylist: Kamira Leuellyn
MUA: Nacomi Gutierrez
Hair: Rianna Devine
Click here to download Bridget Kelly’s EP, Every Girl
Buy Bridget’s full length story and photos in the December 2011 issue of Edge Magazine here:
Edge Magazine: Edge Magazine: Volume 3
Edge Magazine Volume #3 Bridget Kelly, Nick Young, Tanaya Henry, Chase N Cashe, Valeisha Butterfield, Dahntay Jones, Halle & Chloe Bailey, Rudy Francisco, Bridget Kelly, Fashion