Prepare for an emotional performance when Keyshia Cole brings her "Woman to Woman" tour to town.
True, the Grammy-nominated R&B singer collaborated with other writers for some tracks on this album, but if anything the musical partnership led to Cole expressing more of herself in songs.
"This was the first time I sat down with writers in the studio," she said. "We shared emotional stories ... and [some centered on] experiences I'd never had but I was able to relate to them. When I sang them, I felt the pain."
Although Cole has a happy family life with her husband, Cleveland Cavaliers guard Daniel Gibson, and their toddler son, the pain of broken promises and relationships still deeply affects her.
|Keyshia Cole with Chrisette Michele|
|» Where: Warner Theatre, 1299 Pennsylvania Ave. NW|
|» When: 8 p.m. Saturday|
|» Info: $55 to $65; 202-783-4000; warnertheatre.com|
So it was as she worked in the studio. In a way, the songs are a culmination of the conversations Cole had with the songwriters and producers.
"I definitely came out of the process with friends," she said. "You know, other artists come in [to the studio to visit] but they don't give their opinions. I sat there and we had drinks and talked about experiences. ... I was really shocked [when I heard stories about what] people really do to other people. That is definitely pain I had never experienced. But I think anyone who has experienced deep pain and relate to it and [channel it] through music."
Cole again underscored the growth she experienced collaborating on the songs of this, her fifth studio album that was released late last year.
"I've grown a lot," she said. "I've always been the kind of girl who says 'I don't need producers. I don't need songwriters.' That was my attitude before. It was nice to finally step out of my box and work with producers and writers that I truly grew to love. I have a lot of respect for them."
She then turns the conversation to respect for her fans. Her husband frets that she continually drains her own energy and emotions by giving them so much of herself through her music.
"It's about how I feel about them," she said. "It's about how far I've come because of them. I've always been the kind of person that wants to return favors and to be able to do that, to look at them and know they understand that the emotions [I sing about] are real and they're able to feel it. I am appreciative I can do that. I'm here for them."