From birth, Kristinia DeBarge has always been a part of the music world. As a child, she grew up listening to James DeBarge, her father, who performed as a member of the hit-making family group, DeBarge.
In spite of Kristinia's attachment to the DeBarge legacy, she still had to forge her own path. Due to a generational gap, Kristinia's musical style was rooted in pop, which was a stark departure from her family's classic R&B records. Fortunately, Kristinia was introduced to Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, who assisted the young singer in polishing her sound and blending the two genres together.
Upon the release of Exposed, Kristinia DeBarge managed to squeeze some time out of her busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry — reflecting on her songwriting experience with Babyface, the inspiration behind Exposed, and her upcoming tour with Britney Spears.
In a recent interview with Seventeen magazine, you noted that you write in a diary. For how long have you written entries? And what song on Exposed do you feel was torn right out of your diary?
I've been doing this since I was 14. I have about six or seven of them now. And I plan on writing a book eventually with them, kind of like a memoir of Kristinia. [laughing] But… I would have to say the two songs that I wrote that would be torn right out of my diary are "It's Gotta Be Love" and "Cried Me a River." "It's Gotta Be Love" is a song that's pretty much about a girl who's in love and she is very much into the relationship and she can't get enough of him. She always wants to be around him and she gets butterflies around him. It's kind of like that first-love type of song, except it's deeper than that. Then there's "Cried Me a River," which is about a girl who's really sad over a breakup but she's not anymore. She's just talking, pretty much expressing herself to that person, "I cried me a river, I cried me a stream, I cried me an ocean. I'm all cried out and there's nothing you can do about it. You'll never be with me ever again. There was so much pain I would never want to feel that way again."
I guess you could say your first album is like your musical diary. Is that the inspiration behind Exposed, the album's title?
Well, I feel like you're going to see a lot of different sides of Kristinia, and it's me introducing myself to the world and exposing myself. So you're going to get to see the vulnerable side, the fun part of me, the sad part of me, the passionate part of me, the empowerment side of me. You're definitely going to see all different sides of Kristinia! [laughing] I hope everyone really enjoys my album because I put so much work and passion into it. I feel like a lot of my songs humanize me and people will be able to relate to them. Let's say you're an older woman, you may or may not be going through what I'm going through but you'll look back and go, "I remember when I had been through that first love and I went through some heartache. I had butterflies in my stomach when I would wait for him to call me." Just all those fun, exciting things about love... [laughing]