Keke Palmer is going back to her roots. The multi-talented actress is venturing back into the world of music with a new EP entitled Lauren. The five-song collection is designed to introduce fans to the woman behind the glamorous facade.
“[Lauren is] my birth name, Keke is a nickname,” the Scream Queens actress tells PEOPLE. “After creating the EP, I came to the conclusion that [Lauren] would be the best title for it. This is about a girl that you don’t know outside of the perfection of my fame and my popularity. This is a girl from Chicago, this is the foundation of who Keke is. So I wanted to introduce you to her.”
Palmer released her debut album, So Uncool, in 2007 and proceeded to drop singles on and off for the next 9 years before turning her attention to a larger musical effort. She admits that recording was “therapeutic” and helped her express her innermost emotions.
“I’m definitely excited about it, because I’m at a point now where I’m so free in myself and who I am in the world. I don’t really have any fears about anything in terms of who I am.”
Palmer’s experiences as a millennial black woman in today’s charged political climate proved to be a major spark for her creativity. Incorporating social awareness into her music is a skill she borrowed from her main musical influence, the late R&B singer Aaliyah.
“She brought such a vibe, and added so much culture to her work,” Palmer says. “That definitely inspired me to always keep my generation a part of what everything that I’m doing. That’s what she did and I think that’s what made me love her so much.”
Most importantly, she wants everyone to know that the freedom of artistic expression is available to all. “I want my supporters to see what I do and know that they can do it, too. There’s always that inclusive part of it — and I definitely learned that from being a fan of Aaliyah.”