Me­gan Thee Stal­lion feels grate­ful

Orlando Sentinel - - PEOPLE & ARTS - By Gary Gerard Hamil­ton

Me­gan Thee Stal­lion’s sched­ule has be­come so fre­netic that she can spend days, or even longer, away from home, in a dif­fer­ent city ev­ery night. While the gru­el­ing sched­ule may wear down some, she’s not both­ered by it, and not be­cause she’s as strong as her name sug­gests.

“I won’t com­plain be­cause I re­mem­ber I used to be at home wishing I was leav­ing and go­ing to do shows,” said Me­gan, who was named one of AP’s 2019 Break­through En­ter­tain­ers of the Year. “I’m just grate­ful for ev­ery­thing that hap­pened this year and the op­por­tu­ni­ties that a lot of peo­ple have given me.”

The rap­per from Hous­ton burst onto the mu­sic scene this year with her al­bum, “Fever,” and in­stantly be­came a sen­sa­tion.

She racked up sin­gles such as “Big Ole Freak,” “Cash (ex­ple­tive)” with DaBaby, and her first No. 1 on Bill­board’s Rhyth­mic Songs chart, “Hot Girl Sum­mer.” The song, fea­tur­ing Nicki Mi­naj and Ty Dolla $ign, stemmed from a phrase Me­gan coined that be­came the hot phrase of the sea­son.

En­dorse­ments also blasted her way, in­clud­ing Coach, Puma and a man­age­ment deal with the Jay-Z-founded Roc Na­tion. She also won an MTV Video Mu­sic Award, and just this month re­ceived the Pow­er­house Award at Bill­board’s Women in Mu­sic Awards.

“Ev­ery day, they tell me, ‘Me­gan you’re do­ing a good job,’ ” the 24-year-old said, re­fer­ring to her team. “I’m like ‘Thank you,’ but I got to work harder. I know I’m not where I want to be at yet, so I’m still try­ing to grind.”

The year of peaks was not with­out val­leys, none lower than the loss of her mother in March. While she doesn’t talk about that in de­tail, Me­gan ac­knowl­edged: “This year has def­i­nitely been su­per crazy: a lot of ups, some downs.”

Some may con­sider her omis­sion from the re­cent slate of Grammy nom­i­nees an­other dis­ap­point­ment, but Me­gan brushes it off.

“You’re not rap­ping be­cause you want to win a Grammy,” she said. “You’re rap­ping be­cause you want to rap.”

Cur­rently en­rolled at Hous­ton’s Texas South­ern, a his­tor­i­cally black col­lege and univer­sity, Me­gan also has mar­ried overt, un­apolo­getic sex ap­peal with ed­u­ca­tion.

“I re­ally am kind of a lit­tle nerd, but I am very con­fi­dent in my­self and in my body,” she said, adding that she wasn’t try­ing to be a role model. “This is my reg­u­lar life. But I’m re­ally happy that it is in­spir­ing girls, and it is mak­ing peo­ple want to fur­ther their ed­u­ca­tion.”

Me­gan Thee Stal­lion also signed on to star in the new sea­son of NBC’s “Good Girls,” and says she’d even­tu­ally like to write her own hor­ror film. But her fo­cus is on her de­but al­bum, which she says will go be­yond the sex­ual im­agery for which she’s known.

“My al­bum, the songs that I’ve been record­ing for it so far, have been way more soft than my usual mu­sic — a lit­tle soft in my opinion,” she said. “It’s been a lit­tle more vulnerable. I feel like that’s what my fans want to know at this point, so I’m giv­ing y’all a lit­tle more in­sight on why I am the way I am.”

RICHARD SHOTWELL/IN­VI­SION

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