On Friday afternoon, Memphis-bred R&B songtress K. Michelle was presented with the "Mayor’s Ambassador Award” by Mayor A C Wharton. The event took place at City Hall a little after 2 p.m.
"This is an honor. I absolutely love my city," K. Michelle said to a small crowd of press, family, and close friends. "I want to thank everyone. It’s been a struggle and a fight, but I’m just getting started in this business. You have to fight if you want to be a musician. If this is what you want to do, you can never give up on it."
During the event, Wharton emphasized the importance of showing appreciation to successful artists who hail from Memphis.
"We often hear the question, 'What can we do to keep our talent in Memphis? What can we do to get our talent to come back here?'" Wharton said. "The first thing we can do is show them that they’re honored in their own home. Sometimes we just take it for granted, and we really don’t honor our own. I made it a point to reverse that failure. It gives me so much pleasure today to honor one of our own. I proudly give her the Ambassador Award...I say ambassador because this is someone who was raised up here, so she found out what this great city was about. She went to Overton High School. She stayed in Whitehaven, right in the middle of our great city. She is our story. She is the Memphis story. Not only is she keeping that story to herself, everywhere she goes she tells the Memphis story; personifies the Memphis story."
K. Michelle opened up about working with Saving Our Daughters, an organization that empowers young women to overcome past negative experiences so their lives are not shaped by them, during the ceremony. She also touched on her initiative, the Rebel Against Campaign, which also encourages women to rebel against hardships they may have experienced, such as domestic violence and sexual abuse.
"I hope with that campaign and them just watching me be able to defy the odds, [they're encouraged], because people did not think I was ever going to put out an album," K. Michelle said. "And to put out an album and it’s doing amazing, I have a record in the Top 20 on urban radio right now, no one expected any of that from me, and I came from this city — the city of Memphis."
K. Michelle released her debut album, Rebellious Soul, this Tuesday. The album is presently Number 1 on iTunes' R&B/Soul album chart. The album's debut single, “V.S.O.P.,” is currently on Billboard's Top 10 R&B radio chart. K. Michelle obtained national popularity from her appearances on VH1's reality series, Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta.
Follow her on Twitter: @kmichelle