Kat Graham Is An Old Soul At Heart: Talks Working with Babyface and Prince on Upcoming Album

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Kat Graham

Just a year ago, Kat Graham was in her seventh season on the CW’s hit series The Vampire Diaries as the resilient, selfless witch Bonnie Bennett alongside her supernatural-powered entourage and released her debut full-length album Roxbury Drive, a track-by-track homage to the 90s era. Fast forward to 2016, Graham bids farewell to her Diaries character and prepares for the follow-up to her debut effort. Backed by a legendary musical entourage which includes Babyface, Randy Jackson and the late Prince, the triple-threat’s forthcoming project (out February 2017) toys with sounds from a new era and proves that she’s just an old soul at heart.

Graham’s debut album, Roxbury Drive, was a fresh flip on the '90s decade from Graham’s self-produced old-school beats and TLC-reminiscent vocals to the Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds feature – the only guest appearance on the album. While trap and electro-pop styles flood music charts today, Graham opts against riding the wave for her forthcoming project. “I’m somebody who doesn’t believe in conforming to maybe whatever is on the radio,” she tells Billboard. “I’m still somebody that listens to a lot of James Brown, a lot of The O'Jays, a lot of TLC...in that era, producers had more musicianship.”

Babyface’s mellow tenor and influence was interspersed throughout Graham’s debut album, Roxbury Drive, and served as a mentor to the actress/singer on her upcoming release meticulously reviewing her deep cuts. The “1991” singer also caught the attention of legendary musician Prince, who she said helped “honed me in as a songwriter” and guided her into a new sound for her forthcoming album. “Prince was saying why I wasn’t doing more of that Giorgio Moroder, Donna Summer funk style record and he goes, ‘this is the direction you need to be going in.'”

“All Your Love” comes as the first single off the upcoming Jeeve Ducornet-produced album and was hand-picked by producer, music industry titan and Graham’s longtime friend Randy Jackson. Laced with a driving funk bassline and an uptempo disco beat, the single captures the essence of the album which Graham tells Billboard is called Love Music, Funk Magic, slated to be released on February 24, 2017.

A bevy of her upcoming projects find the singer journeying back into past decades as she stars in the Tammi Terrell biopic about the career of 1960s Motown Records artist and the highly-anticipated Tupac film All Eyez On Me, where Graham takes on the role of Pac’s best friend Jada Pinkett-Smith. “It was really important to me that I capture the essence of their friendship versus doing a caricature or an impression of her," the actress says. The multi-talented artist also notes that she's working on an animated film and hopes to take her musical projects on the road for a tour. As Graham moves beyond her Diaries character and looks towards a busy 2017, all "eyez" are certainly on her.

Listen to Graham's new single "All Your Love" and the behind-the-scenes video for the song below.