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Interview:
R. Kelly's feeling fine headed into the new year
 

By GARY GRAFF
21st Century Media/Digital Media First, @GraffonMu

» See more SOUND CHECK

R. Kelly has been nothing if not prolific during his first decade of recording -- a dozen of his own albums plus two with Jay Z, another with Public Announcement and extensive work on the "Sparkle" film soundtrack. But he's also paid a price for that non-stop level of work.

The R&B star had emergency throat surgery during July of 2011 to drain an abscess in a tonsil. It forced him to cancel a festival appearance in Jamaica, but he was back on the road, but Kelly quickly rebounded and has released two more albums -- 2012's "Write Me Back" and this month's "Black Panties" -- since.

"I feel really good about my throat," says Kelly, 46. "I've been through a lot with it, but I feel really good now. I've been singing in the studio a lot, hitting it real hard, and I feel really good about it."

Kelly hasn't been limited to his own work, either. He also hit the charts with Lady Gaga ("Do What U Want") and Justin Bieber ("PYD"), along with Twista and Rich Gang. He also enjoyed success with "To the World," a collaboration with Kanye West from the "Cruel Summer" compilation for West's G.O.O.D. Music label.

"Kanye sent me a track he was working on, I sent it back, he sent it back to me, I sent it back to him...until we had something," Kelly says. "It felt good to both of us and, y'know, he trusts my talent and I trust his talent, and that's just the way it goes, man.

"I knew Kanye before he was known; he would come to my studio and we've been i the studio together and the clubs together and we pretty much know each other. We just never got a chance to hook up like this. I'm just very honored to be on his track working with him, 'cause we've been trying to hook it up for awhile."

New Year's Eve Countdown with the King, featuring R. Kelly and Doug E. Fresh, takes place at 9 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 31, at the Masonic Temple, 500 Temple St., Detroit. Tickets are $100-$175. Call 313-832-70oo or visit www.ticketmaster.com.

Web Site: www.ticketmaster.com

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