“Keke Palmer’s ‘Big Boss’ Gets Personal”
cookies palmers Is in their “Big Boss” era.
The actress and new mom released her latest album on Friday, along with the accompanying visuals, which she wrote and directed.
“Big Boss” gives an insight into Palmer’s experiences navigating a male-dominated music industry that pushed her to sacrifice more parts of herself than she was comfortable with. In the 10In her album, the 29-year-old explores her faith and the pressure of growing up with “books and buses”. She gives fans a glimpse of the personal struggles she’s had to overcome over her 20-year career.
Palmer, an independent artist, said she feels “amazing” that this project is her directorial debut.
“It’s a huge thing for me in a number of ways to be directing and writing for the first time and also to actually be able to tell my story,” she told HuffPost. Additionally, she reveled in the fact that she “had the final say.”
She continued, “I didn’t cave in on any aspect of the compilation. I really had a clear and level mind about what I wanted for this and I executed it in a way I’ve never done before. I think it’s easy to just get distracted and just give up. And this time I didn’t.”
The Robbins-American native from Illinois released her first album “So Uncool” on Atlantic Records in 2007. She has since released several more projects, including a 2020 two-part EP titled Virgo Tendencies.
In Big Boss, produced by Tricky Stewart, Palmer shines as she combines her two worlds of acting and singing in the film that chronicles her journey as a child star. Signed to three different labels at different times in the past, she worked on Big Boss for over a year and filmed the visuals before meeting her partner.
She said doing it on her own terms was therapeutic. Though she didn’t elaborate, Palmer does recall situations in the music business where she didn’t feel right about pursuing music in the past. (One situation she’s been vocal about, however, was when she Defendant Trey Songz of “sexual intimidation” in which he tricked her into making a music video against her will.) She said certain encounters made her feel down, adding that her growth, spirituality, and leaning into their “big boss energy” has taken them far.
“A lot of this happened when I was 19, 20, 21, 22 years old. This is a collection of experiences I’ve had over this period of my life,” Palmer explained. She remembered feeling emotionally alone. Time and therapy helped her understand what she had to go through to find healing.
“I think a lot of it was like forgiving yourself. It’s not that I’ve done anything to be ashamed of, but it’s like betrayal. It’s only in hindsight that you realize how that affects you,” she said. “I think I’ve had a lot of moments where I unknowingly cheated on myself and the effects of that stayed with me. Processing a lot of that and having compassion for myself has also helped me grow and move on.”
Palmer highlights her former child stars in the visual album, including Skai Jackson, who plays young Palmer, Robert Ri’card and Kyle Massey, both of whom play creepy music producers. Palmer’s parents also appear in the pictures. Her mother, Sharon Palmer, has a particularly poignant scene in which she has a candid conversation with her daughter in the car about the burden she carries at work. She said that her parents and some introspection allowed her to set better work boundaries while staying true to her own uniqueness.
Musically, Palmer didn’t have a specific sound or inspiration that she was striving for. On Big Boss, she did what she felt was right and convenient, working closely with Stewart. Palmer struts her vocals on upbeat bops like “Right Now,” “Frfr,” and “Waiting,” and digs deep on “Lights Out” and “Standards.”
Palmer said “Big Boss” is her “setting the tone, writing the checks and walking to the beat of my own drum.” After listening to the album, she hopes others will be inspired to do the same.
“To get to this point, I didn’t just get here and I didn’t always know what I know now. I’ve had to go through things,” Palmer said. “When you’re going through things and things aren’t going the way you want, then know there’s something on the other side and you’re going to pull through. You can do it and you can get the last laugh.”
The release of her album isn’t the only thing Palmer has to look forward to. Palmer is celebrating her first Mother’s Day two months after giving birth to her son Leodis Andrellton Jackson. She called her son “the greatest blessing I could have ever dreamed of.”
“I love being a mom,” she said. “My son gives me so much joy and so much power, and it just makes me feel like I can really do the impossible.” I just feel like it’s really magical to be able to experience that. I’ve always wanted children. I’ve always wanted to be a mom and now the time has come and I just feel, honey, I’m in the role. It’s me. I’m going full throttle, darling.”