Keyshia Cole’s career on fast track

Keyshia Cole likes Atlanta for a few reasons: the trees, the weather and the pace.

“It’s one of those places you can go, where when you’re at home, it feels like home,” said Cole, the R&B star who plays the Fox Theatre on Thursday night. “It’s not like L.A., where you come home and everything’s moving so fast.”

It stands to reason that Cole doesn’t mind slowing down when she can, given that her career is hurtling forward.

Cole is touring on her third album in four years, “A Different Me.” The first two albums sold more than 1 million copies each, and the third also will likely achieve platinum. Manager Manny Halley said Cole is about 70 percent finished on her fourth album, which will be released in December along with a live music compilation.

After three seasons of her highly rated documentary-style “Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is” reality show on BET, a biographical movie about the 27-year-old is also in the works. Add in her efforts to dabble in the pop market, and she has plenty on her plate.

“I haven’t really come to a halt yet,” said Cole, who lives in Alpharetta. “I have yet to know what I’m going to do with my life.”

Atlantans Keri Hilson, the Dream and Bobby Valentino are touring with Cole, whose shows have received positive reviews thus far on the 23-city tour.

“I’m excited about it,” Cole said during a recent teleconference. “It’s my next step up, my first theater run.”

It’s all part of a plan that calls for Cole to co-headline an arena tour next, Halley said. That would be followed by an arena tour as the main act.

“We’ll just keep coming with new albums, coming with fresh new music,” Halley said.

Cole’s fans have seen her music progress in theme, from the pain of relationships gone sour in “The Way It Is” to the lighter tracks on “A Different Me.” The album’s latest single, “This Is Us,” will be released in about three weeks, Halley said. The song has a pop sound that is a departure from Cole’s first hit single in 2005, the defiant “I Should Have Cheated.”

While Cole intends to stay with R&B, she said, “we’re trying to go more into [the pop] direction. We’ll see how it works out.”

Cole sounded similarly unsure about an upcoming spinoff of her reality TV show, one of BET’s most successful original series ever. The spinoff will center on Cole’s alcoholic sister, Neffe, and her recovering drug addict mother, Frankie. The pair’s squabbling was a staple on the show.

“I don’t like negativity,” Cole said. “I don’t like any of that. So we’ll see.”

Manager Halley said the limited scope of the show led to the plan to tell Cole’s life story in a movie. He said he is looking for a screenwriter to work with Cole.

From her difficult childhood in Oakland, Calif., to the climb to the top, there will be plenty to tell.

Said Cole: “I’ve evolved as a person throughout everything in my life.”