Written By Carmen Villafañe; Photography By Brooke Nipar (full gallery)
One day you're singing backup for Flo Rida, the next you get a phone call to belt out the hook of Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind" (you know, the Alicia Keys part) on his international tour—and then you parlay that into a solo deal on Jigga's Roc Nation imprint. Sounds nuts, but such is the charmed life of Bridget Kelly. The 24-year-old Manhattan native spent most of 2010 globetrotting with Hov, but now she's back in the U.S., prepping her debut. We recently got with B.K. for the "Hot Complex" feature in our December/January 2011 issue, which officially hit stands this week. Check out her extended gallery, or keep reading to hear her throughts on singing the latest NYC anthem, getting poked online, and what she'd do with cumbersome superpowers...
Complex: You're a native New Yorker, so what was it like for you singing "Empire State of Mind" in front of the world? That song's a new Big Apple anthem.
Bridget Kelly: It's still surreal for me. It started off as just an opportunity to sing in the background, then it catapulted me into multiple situations. That song changed my life.
Complex: What was your own NYC experience growing up?
Bridget Kelly: You're surrounded by so many different kinds of people. There's music in the street, and there's people banging on buckets in Union Square. Galleries all over and parks everywhere, it's amazing.
Complex: Do you social network?
Bridget Kelly: Yeah, Facebook people are finding me that I don't really know. People poke you on Facebook. I'm like, Why? [Laughs.] Why are you poking me?
Complex: OK, no poking. What was the last thing you tweeted?
Bridget Kelly: I think it was something I was thinking about for a song and I put it in a tweet. I said, "I'd be lying if I said I didn't love you. You'd be lying if you said it was a good idea."
Complex: Changing lanes just a bit: Say you have this really cool superpower, but sometimes it gets in the way. Would you rather keep it or go back to being a "normal" human being?
Bridget Kelly: Like sometimes you want to fly and sometimes you don't want to fly?
Complex: Sure, something like that.
Bridget Kelly: I'd keep it. I mean, if you have wings and you're flying, it's not going to be convenient if you have to share an elevator or sit in a car with someone. And you'll look crazy if you don't want people to know that you can fly but you have wings on in the car!