Keke Palmer has flourished in many areas of Hollywood as an actress, choreographer, singer and even television personality.
Before taking on all of these roles and climbing into her own successful lane of fame, she shared with Billboard that she lent an ear to advice from one of Hollywood’s most controversial figures: R. Kelly.
Billboard caught up with her backstage at the iHeartRadio Music Festival, where she shared that in the younger, emerging days of her career, she reached a crossroads of sorts.
“When I was younger, I always felt like I had to separate [singing and acting],”she reportedly told Billboard. “But I spent a lot of time working with R. Kelly and one thing that he told me, he was like, ‘Keke, you don’t need to shy away from your acting,'” Palmer continued. “You bring that to a part of your music. You make that take your music to the next level.’”
Building her new approach to music on top of his advice, the “Hands Free” singer continued explaining that he new the R&B, hip-hop and soul hybrid sound encompasses the experiences of her own life. The 24-year-old also mentioned another mentor who she was fortunate enough to fly under the wing of at the age of nine: Queen Latifah.
“Queen Latifah has been a huge influence in my life,” she expressed. “Mentor, really, since the time I was a kid. I did my first thing with her when I was nine, and from then we’ve done Brotherly Love, Ice Age. I’m getting ready to do MTV's Scream, she’s also behind that project — I mean, she’s just an awesome woman.”
Her most valuable lesson from Queen? Always give back, Palmer said, because altruism is one of the most admirable role model qualities that Queen Latifah has exhibited throughout her entire career.
See Palmer dish on her rise to fame and where she currently stands in the Hollywood scope below.
(Photos from left: C Flanigan/FilmMagic, Robin Marchant/Getty Images)