Former Brownstone member Kina's first solo outing, "Girl in the Gutter," burst on the scene in the summer of 2000 to critical kudos and lots of music-video airplay. Kina's rock/pop style has been compared to Tina Turner, Macy Gray, Dionne Farris, Alanis Morissette, Des'ree, one-time Labelle member Nona Hendryx, and Rufus & Chaka Khan. The video for her single "Girl in the Gutter" was quickly added to the play lists of music-oriented cable channels MTV, VH1, and The Box.
Born Kina Cosper on January 25 in Detroit, MI, she lists Lenny Kravitz, Smokey Robinson, the Rolling Stones, and Aretha Franklin among her influences. In 1995, Kina joined Brownstone who were signed to Michael Jackson's Epic Records-distributed label, MJJ Music. The group enjoyed its biggest success with the million-selling Grammy-nominated single, "If You Love Me," and the Billboard hit "Grapevine." They also won the coveted spot as the opening act for Boyz II Men's 1995 U.S. tour.
During November 1997, Kina amicably parted ways with Brownstone to follow her own artistic vision. A former manager introduced her to singer/songwriter/producer London Jones (House Party 2 soundtrack and on his own MCA LP, For You). The duo clicked creatively and began working on her solo debut. In the interim, Kina got a record deal with Dreamworks Records distributed through Universal Music. After catching her performance at the Mint Club in L.A., manager Benny Medina came on board as her manager. Her debut CD, Kina, was issued on July 18, 2000. The sultry singer co-executive produced her album with industry vet Lenny Waronker.
Anger was the spark that fueled Kina writing "Girl in the Gutter" with Jones; it definitely has an "I'm gonna show you!" theme running through the lyrics that tells the tale of a rising underdog. Other highlights are "I Love You," "Have a Cry," "Loser," and her self-produced "Hurt So Bad." Around the time of the release of Kina, the singer had a scheduled appearance on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno. ~ Ed Hogan