ATLANTA — When Idris Elba agreed to direct K. Michelle’s TV musical, the R&B singer thought he was kidding.

“I’m really good friends with Idris, and when I told him about it, he said he wanted to do it. I thought he was joking at first,” Michelle said in a recent interview.

The rising singer is pairing with the Golden Globe winner for “Rebellious Soul: the Musical,” which premieres Tuesday on VH1. The 30-minute special features songs from Michelle’s album “Rebellious Soul,” which debuted at No. 2 and No. 1 on Billboard’s Top 200 albums and R&B/Hip-Hop albums charts last year.

“I told him about what I wanted to do, and he held his word,” she said. “He never did judge me. He’s a very down-to-earth person, so working with him was like working with one of my homeboys.”

The outspoken singer gained popularity in 2012 as a star of the VH1 reality show “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta.” Michelle said she learned a great deal from Elba, who also has produced for Jay Z.

“I learned a lot from just his drive, and just from him being professional when it comes to his business,” the 30-year-old said. “I completely look up to him.”

Michelle, who plans to release her sophomore album this year, said she’s matured after watching herself get into constant turmoil on “Love & Hip Hop.” She will debut a solo reality show called “K. Michelle: My Life” in the fall on VH1, which will showcase a different side of Michelle: motherhood.

— From news service reports