Keri Hilson Talks Return to Music, New Album, Being A Spokesperson for HIV Testing



Keri Hilson has been on a bit of a hiatus from music since the release of her sophomore album No Boys Allowed in 2010. We have seen her pop up here and there, and she has spoken about her next album various times, but according to the singer/songwriter she is finally ready to make her return, with her third studio album.

In addition to her music career she has also been involved in various causes, one that is very important to her is being a spokeswoman for HIV testing and the new at-home testing product OraQuick. In a recent interview with XXL Magazine this week, the 30-year old spoke about her work creating further awareness on testing and prevention of the disease, as well as how and why she first got involved.

In addition Keri shared details about the forthcoming album, her break from music, dedication to her fans, working with Kanye West and Timbaland, and what we can expect from the first single.

Check out excerpts from the interview below:

On Being A Spokesperson for National HIV Testing:
It’s kind of just natural for me. I always feel compelled to lend my voice to things I strongly believe in. Knowing that AIDS is the number one killer of African American women, as young as 16 to as old as 34, that’s what inspired me. That’s what really inspired me. Robi Reed of the Reed For Hope Foundation, she tapped me. She sees me as an influence on girls. She sees me as someone who lives healthy. She thought I’d be good to spread the message.

You wanted to offer your celebrity for a bigger cause?
Absolutely. I always love doing that. HIV and AIDS is something that a lot of people don’t talk about. A lot of people don’t like to be preached to, but it needs to happen. We need to talk about it. We need to continue eradicating its taboo-ness. People talk openly about cancer, but they don’t talk openly about—at least in my community—the number one killer. More likely we would die from HIV and AIDS than a car accident or a plane crash or cancer. It’s something that we need to continue talking about. We need to keep [it] in the forefront of our thoughts.

Have you put your music career on hold?
Musically, I did take a break. It seemed long to everyone, but it was a pretty brief hiatus. But I’m back in the studio, putting together my album. We are pretty close to choosing the single. We’ve thought we have chosen the single. We are almost there.

You feel this single will be big for you?
I think so. It’s my comeback. It has to be. I feel confident about it. I like it. That’s all I can control. How it feels to me. It feels like I am gearing up to be back. I’m really excited for my fans. They’ve held me down. I almost feel like I didn’t take a break because they held me down. They still cared about me. They stuck by me and supported me through it when they had no clue what I was doing or why I wasn’t releasing music. But I really do appreciate that.

Are you going to be working with Kanye again?
I already have throughout my break. I’ve actually worked with him. I can’t say much about it, but it was awesome. He’s a genius. I really, really enjoyed working with him.

Is your relationship with Timbaland intact?
Yeah, our relationship is still intact. At the moment, he’s really tied up with other projects, but he’s still my executive producer. We talk very often. He’s still very much a part of this project just as much as the others.

When do you think you’ll drop your single?
Definitely this year, but I can’t say. When you say something, people hold you to it. I never know what’s going to happen. I could go to the studio tonight—and I will—I could top it. I might feel more confident about a record than I do after it. Even if we think we chose a single, anything could happen. I just want to make sure. People have been waiting my re-arrival. I just want to make sure I give them my best. I don’t want to rush. I don’t want to release something that I don’t feel wholeheartedly about. I feel that I am there. I just want to be sure. I want to take my time and make sure this comeback is just that.

Read the full interview here.

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