There’s never been a time when sketch artist, spoken-word artist and singer Kea Michaels hasn’t been trying to create things. She’s always been an artist, it just took her some time to commit. The Pittsburgh native has been drawing since the age of 2, singing since the age of 4, her songwriting career began when she was 9, and began writing poetry when she was 12. However, there’s one moment that stood out to her.
“I sang ‘On the Wings of Love,’ it’s a Jeffrey Osborne song. I knew the song; a lot of kids my age weren’t listening to the music I was listening to, something in me took over, it’s a feeling that just took over,” she said. She spoke of her own joy and her music teacher’s excitement. The moment would stay with her. In the years that followed she would continue to sing, but she didn’t consider it a potential music career until 2009. Before then she had been a single mother working towards a career in law enforcement, until an injury changed things.
“I’ve always been a driven person and I’ve always been somebody who can’t be boxed in, and if I feel like I’m boxed in, I bust out,” Michaels told the New Pittsburgh Courier in an exclusive interview.
A topic that often comes up in Michaels’ music is love; she would attribute this theme to witnessing her own parents divorce and observations made in her own community. Aside from that, her art in all its varying forms has a number of influences.
“My main influence comes from the community, from growing up in the Black inner-city,” she said.
She would also add that in addition to Marvin Gaye and her children, she was greatly influenced by growing up with musicians as parents.