Kristinia DeBarge Gets Candid About “Pink Love” Single, ‘Growing Up Hip Hop’ & Working With Babyface
After already making her own mark within the music industry, Kristinia DeBarge is bringing the heat, yet again, with her new single “Pink Love”—a new introduction for fans to get acquainted with this new, edgier, sensual Kristinia. It serves as a true testament that she is no longer the teenage girl with bubblegum charm and lyrics, more so, an adult who embraces the full essence of who she is as a woman—curves, talent and intelligence, which all equates to the total package of the superstar that she is.
“I’m going in a sexier and fun direction now. My sound is more mature. It’s a song about being a lover and carefree. I’m excited to show my fans this side of myself. It is who I am,” Kristinia DeBarge explained in our recent interview.
The world already knows that name—DeBarge. Whether you grew up listening to the family’s discography of cherished hits that still leave imprints in our hearts, or if you’re a millennial, you know a DeBarge record before the first lyric is even sung. Knowing her musical lineage, it’s hard to believe that Kristinia Jamie DeBarge at one point in time tried to conceal her love of music and kept her ambitions of becoming a singer from her father James. “I hid that from my dad because he wanted me to have a normal life. He didn’t want me to be a singer because there are a lot of sharks in the industry and you need to have a thick, protective skin and a strong foundation,” said Kristinia. Eventually he relented after recording a duet with her, staying in the studio until 4:00 am when she was 12 years old. Quickly came the realization that this was her dream and it was going to come to fruition.
By age 14, she had already experienced a taste of success by participating in American Juniors, a youth version of the hit phenomenon American Idol and soon after she met award winning singer, songwriter and producer Kenneth ‘Babyface’ Edmonds. Between the ages of 14 and 21, Kristinia was mentored and further developed her voice and writing abilities. “Working with him was absolutely amazing. He is a huge believer in me and taught me to always stay true to myself. It was never the feeling of ‘shut up and listen’, but he allowed me to have and utilize my voice. I was always a part of the creative process,” Kristinia gushed with pride.
Coming onto the music scene in 2009, her debut album Exposed garnered a placement on Billboard’s Top 200 chart at number 23. The project birthed the hit singles “Goodbye”, “Sabotage” and “Future Love”, and paved the way for Kristinia to build a fan base and walk through countless doors of opportunity. “Goodbye” would go on to sell over 2 million copies, marking double platinum status, while the music video landed a MTV Video Music Award nod. Just shortly after that accomplishment, Kristinia opened up for pop sensation Britney Spears during her tour ‘The Circus Starring: Britney Spears”. A slew of blessings followed that included a NAACP Image Award nomination for ‘Outstanding Artist’ as well as various acting projects such as the 2012 feature film Christmas In Compton and The Mint, released in 2015.
Reality television came calling in early 2016 when Kristinia became one of the cast members of the hit WE TV network show ‘Growing Up Hip Hop’, which also features Romeo Miller (son of Master P), Egypt Criss (daughter of Sandra ‘Pepa’ Denton of group Salt-N-Pepa), Boogie Dash (son of Damon Dash) TJ Mizell (son of late Jam Master Jay) and Angela Simmons (daughter of Joseph ‘Rev. Run’ Simmons). The show highlights the lives of the children of hip hop legends in the game and gives an in depth look into how each cast member makes their own mark in the music/pop culture industry. Each week you can see Kristinia work hard at her craft as she lays the finishing touches on her third studio album with producer Adonis Shropshire, and you also see the personal struggles. “It is a great platform to showcase my music,” Kristinia says.
It is no secret that within her familial structure, drug addiction rears its ugly head, however, it is handled with strength, perseverance and tenacity. “My dad is in rehab now and I’ve come to realize that nobody can want the help for him, but him. I’ve been separating myself and giving him tough love. I now keep him at arm’s length and just continue to pray for him daily. It is better that we don’t interact right now. He’ll reach out to me when he is ready,” said Kristinia. And she continues to move and push forward, even though statements get made that are entirely false. On a recent episode, Kristinia was gossiped about in reference to her having a personal relationship with Adonis, her producer. And it was insinuated that the only way for her to obtain success is by having sexual relationships within the industry. “I’ve never needed to do that. All of it is totally fabricated. Lies. This is exactly why you have to be a strong person in this business. Everyone is always scrutinizing you, telling you what you should do, how skinny you should be. You really have to love what you do. There is a lot of good and bad that comes along with it. So I just pray for those people and keep it moving,” said Kristinia.
And indeed she does. When not in the studio or filming the show, Kristinia spends time with her dog Gizmo and her friends and family. You can tell from her personality that she was raised around nothing but love and she admits that she is closest with her uncle El DeBarge. “They all love them some Kristinia! I have a very fun and hilarious family and they all are very proud of me. They are very protective of my light. They tell me to protect my light and that I’m very special. My uncles, aunt Bunny, grandmother and cousins–they all have very big hearts and I enjoy them to the fullest,” she laughed.
She even reflects on her uncle Bobby and will never forget the talented light that lived within him. “I remember laying on his chest at age two. He had one of the best voices I’ve ever heard in my life. I think had he lived, he would be bigger than Michael Jackson and Prince. He was very loving and caring,” she continued.
Having a big heart herself, Kristinia wants to give back. After being bullied while growing up, she was inspired to write her own children’s book ‘How Joe the Monkey Got Its Tail’. She is in the process of getting it published and starting her own foundation, The Purple Piano Foundation. Portions of the book sales will go into art departments in schools that are in need of supplies, teachers, instruments and the like. “I remember crying a lot when going through that. People need to remember that everyone is not as strong. Everyone cannot handle that type of treatment. That person is a human being and has feelings, emotions. It’s sad because young people have even taken their own lives because of bullying. Bullying actually comes in many different forms,” said Kristinia. This is her way of lending a helping hand.
“Pink Love” is available for purchase now. Watch the visual for “Pink Love” below:
Photo Credit: Von Jackson
Catch Kristinia DeBarge on ‘Growing Up Hip Hop’ on WE TV Thursdays at 9:00pm CST/10:00pm EST