AOL: I read somewhere that you'd just gotten out of a relationship when you started working on the album. Did you pull from that experience?
MICHELLE: Yes. This album was two years in the making, and I would say in the beginning of the album I knew the relationship was kind of going downhill, so all those songs became about that, which is cool 'cause we should write about where we are. At the end of 2007, I was done with the record. I let my mother listen to it. We were driving up to the city of Chicago. I was like, "Here's the album." By the time that was done, she was just looking out the windshield then she looked at me and said, "It's alright." I was like, "I'd jump out this car and just roll in the corn fields of Illinois, you just hurt my feelings." But I thank God for mother. Mother knows best. She was like "Baby, if you want this album to sell and if you say you wanna go into this genre of music, you gotta do something that's gonna excite people." She added, "First of all, you have nothing on this album for people to dance to."And she was right. I purposely said I'm not gonna do up-tempo's 'cause I don't want to dance. So I purposely did grooves and mid-tempo's, and I still feel like a lot of those songs are great songs, which hopefully I can release next year. But when she said that, I felt like she gave me permission, and it just opened me up in ways that I never imagined.
AOL: If you can emulate one person's career, dead or alive, who would it be?
MICHELLE: My idol -- and I'm not ashamed to say who influences me, I give credit where credit is due: Whitney Houston. Phenomenal voice, phenomenal woman. Her album, 'I'm Your Baby Tonight' was the very first album I ever bought with my money. So, all the success that she had rain some of that down on me.