Meet Bridget Kelly--the gorgeous and feisty New York native known for killing the live performance of “Empire State of Mind” with Jay-Z .
Now six years after being one of the first signees on Roc Nation in 2008, Bridget has left the label, and let's just say that being an independent artist sure looks good on her.
Doing the infamous "big chop” after her label breakup, Kelly went from being a long-haired brunette to a pixie cut blonde, and her music is also reflecting her newly found confidence. She recently released her new EP, Summer of 17--an ode to a simpler, more carefree time in her life.
Kelly tells xoNecole that she’s the happiest and most at peace that she’s ever been. As she approaches 30, she’s still the life of the party and is the voice of reason for women to know it’s okay to still enjoy life without the pressures of marriage or kids.
Whether you’re an aspiring artist or you’re just trying to figure out what comes next, get your tissues ready because Kelly’s story is a real tear jerker! As she prepares to take Summer of 17 on tour in the UK as well as the east coast, learn how leaving Roc Nation was liberating professionally as well as the chance for her to be in control of creating the life she’s always envisioned for herself as an artist.
What do you now know about yourself that you didn’t know when you were seventeen?
The biggest mistake that I’ve consistently made throughout my adolescence and early 20s is I didn’t trust myself. I didn’t trust my intuition, and I let too many people sway me in different directions; I was really malleable. I gave a lot of people the benefit of the doubt of knowing what was best for me. I now trust myself and I know that it’s okay to go through a trial and error process, but at least I have the peace of mind and the confidence to make a choice that I know at some point whether now, or later is going to be beneficial for me.
In an interview with The Breakfast Club, you said, “At 29, I rather be poppin' bottles instead of poppin' out babies.” Most women feel pressured to be married and have kids by age 30. How have you taken that pressure off of yourself?
I would be lying if I said that at some point I don’t want to have a family. The pressure is definitely there, but I’ve found that I’ve always been a late bloomer within my circle of friends. I can take pride in the fact that I’ve made decisions that have worked for me. I recently went on a bachelorette trip and three out of the five girls were engaged or married. I like being the single fun girl. I wouldn’t say I’m the life of the party all the time, but a lot of times I am and I think that’s okay. People can be themselves and have a good time around me and I rather eternalize that than focus on the assumption that I’m “lacking” something.
[Tweet "Not having a man or a husband doesn’t mean you “lack” anything. "]
I think that’s the unfortunate stigma about being in your 30s as well as your 40s. A lot of women seek validation from a relationship. If I’m not validated by any of the amazing things that I’ve accomplished or all of the things that I’m doing for myself, a boyfriend or a husband isn’t going to validate me. So I’m not actively pursuing it.
Your new single “Act Like That” with Mack Wilds will be every woman’s new anthem. How does your thoughts on men and love translate to your music?
I love being in love. However, if something doesn’t work out or happen for me in the timeframe that I want it to, I’ve learned to just let it go. I now take a less intense approach to relationships because I want it to feel natural; I want it to be a normal progression.
I’m a control freak by nature so typically I would drive the relationship, but I’m at a point in my life where it needs to be on cruise control. Summer of Seventeen was really special for me because conceptually I felt like I was back to being a teenager again. I want to be able to flirt and feel the butterflies and the romance of a new relationship. “Act Like That” with Mack Wilds is the battle of the sexes. As a woman, there’s nothing wrong with knowing what you want and being able to navigate your way through it.
You’ve mentioned that you left Roc Nation after six years because you felt your career had reached a plateau. When you’re a new artist how do you find a balance of speaking up for yourself and what you want for your career as opposed to falling back and doing whatever the label and the executives think is best?
New artists should understand and accept that most people aren’t out for your best interest because at the end of the day, this is a business. You can lose sight of that when you get caught up in the industry and in the process of trying to make an album. People still have this delusion that when they get signed they’re about to make a million dollars and life a certain kind of unrealistic lifestyle and it doesn’t work like that.
New artists should know, no one is against you but most people are out for self, they want to make sure they’re going to win. So you have to be very clear and concise with your team and make sure everyone is on the same page with your execution. What’s missing in the process now with labels and artists is development. They want to sign a total package. They don’t want to sign you then have to help you figure it out. Labels expect you to come to the table already prepared and that’s really difficult when you’re young and you may not know who you are as a person.
But if you know yourself, you know what you want to say and you know the power of your voice then any scenario you’re placed in, people will either take what you have or they won’t. The best piece of advice I’ve ever received was from Lady Gaga. She said.
[Tweet "'Stop asking questions and start making statements!'"]
When you make statements, people have no choice but to embrace and absorb what you’re bringing to the table or they can walk away from it but ultimately what you’ve created, people have to respond to and that’s the power of being an artist.
You’ve said you’ve gained more confidence in the past 10 months as an independent artist than you had in six years at Roc Nation. How did you know it was time for you to leave?
I finally began to trust myself. I felt like it was time for me to go maybe a year or two prior to me actually making the move, but I was scared. As an artist, when you’re attached to something for so long, it’s kind of like being in a relationship in the public eye, when you want to part ways and be your own entity, there’s a lot of fear associated with that. I wondered if people were going to accept me, are they going to care? Are they going to judge me and think I’m crazy for walking away from Roc Nation? I was paralyzed by that fear for about a year. With the execution of my last EP, Cut to Bridget Kelly, it wasn’t at all how I wanted things to go and I realized it was no longer my dream or my vision that I was living; I was just going through the motions. I remember Jay-Z saying to me, 'When you stop having fun, it’s time to quit.’ And I definitely wasn’t having fun. I felt like I was begging to release music, begging to get in the studio or get on tour and nothing was going how I wanted it to go.
Granted, initially I wasn’t being as proactive because I was expecting other people to do it for me, which led to me being unhappy. So when the time came for me to leave and have that conversation, everyone was on the same page. It took a lot of pressure off me because everyone was really supportive of me. It was probably the most amicable breakup I’ve ever had!
But don’t get it twisted after I left, I absolutely hit rock bottom. I went through months where I didn’t know what I wanted to do next.
I didn’t know how I wanted to sound or who was going to want to work with me. I really went into a slump and the relationship that I was in for four years came to an end, which was partially my fault because when I was really unhappy, I pushed him away. I also parted ways with the management team I started with nine years ago. So at that point, I had no label, I had no man and no management. I remember thinking if one room is on fire, I’m just going to burn the whole house down! That was the moment when most people would have been like, ‘Enough. I’m going to quit. It didn’t work out for me. I can walk away from everything and start my life over.’ Within that time I got called to headline a show in London and it sold out, the line was around the corner.
Removing myself from my environment here and being able to go to a different country where no one knew what I was going through personally--I was falling apart--but to have people connect to me and my performance reaffirmed where I was supposed to be. I hired a new team, started working my album and I starting writing again, which I hadn’t done in a year. I started working out again and eating better. I began seeking things that made me feel good as opposed to trying to fill voids.
The filing of voids is what got me in trouble in the first place, I was just doing everything that came across my path but nothing felt like me anymore so I got back to doing things that were really fulfilling.
While you were going through your transition, how did you maintain your mental health and positive self-image?
Working out and being fit is more for my mental health than anything else. I have stretch marks and cellulite, but I don't care!
Going to the gym, sweating and being able to push myself to be better than I was the day before is powerful. I’m continually recognizing my power day by day, because it’s still a struggle. I'm an independent artist.
[Tweet "I know a lot of people have counted me out but I wake up everyday and I fight."]
Things aren’t perfect, but I think I’m the happiest and the most at peace that I’ve ever been.
I’m more confident than ever because I know that everything that’s happening around me is what I’m building. I’m not reactionary anymore, I’m proactive. Everything that’s going on in my life, either I made a decision to put myself here or I’m reacting differently. I now know who I am. If someone had asked me five years ago where I thought I would be today, I would have never guess here but there’s a lot of beauty in every aspect of the journey.
You recently switched up your style from being a long haired brunette to being a blonde with a pixie cut! For your new fans, who is Bridget Kelly and what’s the message behind your music?
Be free and happy!
The stigma that gets attached to you when you do soulful R&B music, is that you’re this love scorned, bitter, broken hearted woman all the time and you’re just struggling to be loved and I’m not that girl.
I’ve had those moments but that’s not what I embody. That’s not the essence of who I am. Sonically, my music is soulful; it’s coming from a place of pain and it’s also coming from a place of victory and I’m proud of that.
When you were seventeen, how did you go about getting your record deal? With such an influx of social media, it can be overwhelming for an aspiring artist to figure out what platform they want to use to get notice, what would you advise them to do?
At 17, I was performing at any open mic that would have me. I brought a speaker and a microphone and I went down to the L train station in NYC where I would sing, pass out CDs and ‘I heart B.K.’ t-shirts. Ultimately, because I went to a performing arts high school, those connections helped me get my foot in the door. One of my classmates was interning at Def Jam, she met someone who was looking for an artist. I recorded a demo and within two years, we had a direct contact to someone at Roc Nation. The label had just started and it was me, J.Cole and Rita Ora.
For new artists, you can post your music on every social media outlet but most importantly, you still have to be able to perform live. If you can put on a good show, people will gravitate towards that. There’s a saying that people will never forget how you made them feel. Good performances are influential; once you can capture someone’s attention in that way, you’re on the right track.
Want more Bridget Kelly? You can support her new EP 'Summer of 17,' which is available now on iTunes.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
The Fall Equinox begins on September 23, 2023, and it’s time to embrace abundance, gain clarity, and know that you are worthy of your desires. The Fall Equinox marks the beginning of fall and the end of summer and is a turning point of the year, where things settle in and come to fruition. The energy that fall brings is one of harvest, but it is also one of release, letting go, and finding your ground. Coming from a summer of intensity, drama in love, and overall moving through a space of deep spiritual growth- now that fall is here, we are ready to decompress, dream, and enjoy that which we have created for ourselves.
What Is the Energy of the Fall Equinox 2023?
The energy this fall is opening up new doors of abundance and is a time of reaping your rewards in life. Fall begins at the same time as Libra Season, and a lot of these blessings have to do with love and the relationship developments that will be taking place over the next few months. With a New Moon Solar Eclipse in Libra occurring a few weeks after fall begins on October 14th, something enchanting is happening in romance right now. The scales are coming into balance, new beginnings are occurring, and clarity prevails.
Relationships over the next few months are about focusing on the gifts and gratitude you find in them and accepting where things need to change as well.
By the time winter begins, most of the planets that are currently in retrograde will be direct, and this signifies the change of pace that fall is bringing. This fall highlights Eclipse Season overall, and the Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Taurus on October 28th will be a time of creating boundaries, honoring your values and energy, and closing a chapter in your life that doesn’t align. Financial worlds are growing and finding new ground, but with Jupiter still in retrograde in Taurus until December 30th, patience is needed here.
Over the next few months, give yourself the space to gain some new perspectives, make room for love, and grow in abundance.
Your guidance this fall is to take those first steps toward the goals you have been pondering over this year. There is a Full Moon in your sign a week after fall begins, and you get the opportunity to enter this season with less baggage and more closure. You will possibly be starting a new position or working in a new field, and you need all the good energy to back you right now. Know that you can count on your skills and talents to move you further in life and that help will be there when you least expect it. This is a fall of abundance for you, Aries, claim it.
Your lucky days this fall are: Sep. 29, Oct. 13, Nov. 13, Nov. 21
Patience, patience, patience, Taurus. You are creating something beautiful in the world right now, and the time it’s taken to get you here will all be worthwhile. Your guidance this fall is to nurture your world and your dreams and to bring more love and compassion to your life. You are preparing for a new reality but need some more time to dream it up and define that which you want for yourself and your future. The Full Lunar Eclipse happening this fall is occurring in your sign, and you are moving through some major closures in your life right now. This is a creative time for you, Taurus.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 28, Oct. 29, Nov. 6, Nov. 20
This fall is all about taking care of yourself and valuing your time and energy, Gemini. The way you see yourself and your life are coming up for review right now, and you are being urged to look at yourself in a better light. Your ruling planet, Mercury, goes retrograde for the last time this year on December 13th, just before fall ends, and this time is all about taking what you have learned and choosing better for yourself. You may be tested to be more confident or true to yourself right now and over the next few months, and it’s about owning your part in this life and standing up for what you want.
Your lucky days this fall are: Sep. 25, Oct. 21, Nov. 20, Dec. 12
This is an abundant fall for you, Cancer. You have worked diligently on claiming the opportunities and new doors that have been opening for you, and you are feeling free to be your successful self. You are encouraged in your independence right now, and you have proven to yourself just how talented you are and how much you have grown. No major aspects are happening in your sign this fall, giving you the space to breathe, create, and receive your rewards. Happiness fills your world, and even though you still feel like you are just getting started in a sense, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the gifts that are presenting themselves today.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 13, Oct. 15, Nov. 12, Nov. 13
This fall is a turning point for you in love, Leo. New developments are taking place in your relationships, and you are being received especially favorably. This is the time to open your heart to growth and new possibilities and to get creative with what you are looking for right now. The Last Quarter Moon happening in your sign on November 5th will be a turning point for you this fall. Your unique charm and charisma are enough, and you attract many to you through your natural energy and love for life. Your ship is coming in this fall, and your heart is fulfilled.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 1, Oct. 31, Nov. 5, Nov. 14
Virgo, this fall is a blessing for the heart space. You are feeling in tune emotionally, and there is positive energy coming your way and into your love life. You have spent a lot of this year healing, forgiving, and finding your voice, and over the next few months, you will be creating the spaces you have been looking to enter in your life. Venus enters your sign for a month on October 8th, and there are some pleasant surprises in store for you during this time. Fresh starts are coming in for you, and spiritually, you are awakening to the gifts within you and in your heart. Your beauty is showing, and love is coming in for you this fall.
Your lucky days this fall are: Sep. 25, Oct. 22, Nov. 5, Nov. 20
This fall is a new beginning for your financial world, Libra. Autumn begins the same day Libra Season does, and you have some extra motivation and energy within you right now. You are ready to put the action behind the intentions you have been setting for yourself financially, and this is a time of plans coming together and falling through to success. The more you stay focused and diligent, the more opportunities that can come for you right now. The first month of fall, the Sun is in your sign, and this is really the time to get things moving in your life, especially with a New Moon Eclipse in Libra on October 14th happening as well.
Your lucky days this fall are: Sep. 27, Oct. 14, Oct. 30, Nov. 20
It’s all about the vision for you right now, Scorpio. You are focused on the future, your path ahead, and manifesting your dreams, and there is something passionate about the next few months for you. You may be taking some risks this fall as you test the boundaries on how far you want to go with something and what worlds are opening up to you now. Mars is in your sign from October 12th until November 24th, and life is exciting for you right now. You have your eyes on the prize and are ready to move forward toward the things that are lighting you up right now.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 12, Oct. 13, Nov. 6, Nov. 13,
This fall is about taking a leap of faith, Sagittarius. Your guidance over the next few months is to do the things that you would do if you knew you would be supported in doing them. Less self-doubt is needed now, as you are walking on new ground. You are moving towards personal healing you have been wary of from the beginning, and you are ready to let go of some energy that has been holding you back. Trust that once you decide on something, the universe instantly begins to make it happen for you. Your season begins on November 22nd, and it’s time to put yourself first more. Have courage in yourself this fall.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 8, Nov. 22, Nov. 24, Dec. 12
This fall is all about clarity for you, Capricorn. You are a wise soul, and you are owning this energy about yourself right now. Over the next few months, you will be developing spiritually, helping those who need your sound advice, and evolving in life. You have found a new sense of enlightenment and are enjoying the clear perspective that has been gained. Mercury goes retrograde in your sign on December 13th, right before fall ends, and this is when you will be feeling more tested to take the lead in your life and use your voice. Overall, fall 2023 is your time to surrender to the good within you and in your life, Capricorn.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 10, Oct. 23, Nov. 4, Dec. 1
Things are moving fast for you this fall, Aquarius. This is a successful, harmonious, and passionate time for you, as many opportunities come your way at once. It will be hard to settle down with all the energy flowing through your life over the next few months, as you have so much to do and so many people to see. Overall, however, this is positive energy that you have been looking forward to in your life, and everything is coming together and moving forward where it was once stagnant. Fall is giving you the closure and the opportunity to reinvent yourself and start on new, solid ground in your life.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 30, Oct. 31, Nov. 20, Nov. 28
Your guidance for fall is to have balance in your life. There is a lot of new coming in for you, but you are also working on letting go of what has fallen. You have grown in many ways this year, and financially, you have seen growth as well but may be feeling the weight of responsibilities this has come with now. To move through this season with the most grace, give yourself more time to rest, to be, and allow things to fall into place on their own. Saturn has been retrograde in your sign since June and goes direct this fall on November 4th, Pisces. This is your opportunity to see things more clearly, protect your energy, and feel more in tune with your internal guidance system.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 22, Nov. 4, Nov. 6, Dec. 12
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