By Tamara Jenkins
Grammy award winning singer and song writer Kandi Burruss got her first taste of success in the music world as a member of the 90’s R&B girl group Xscape. She later prove her skills behind the scenes by writing hits for Destiny’s Child (“Bills, Bills, Bills” and “Bug A Boo“), Pink, Usher, Boyz II Men and Whitney Houston to name a few.
Recently, Burruss has reemerged into the spotlight as a cast member of the Bravo channel’s hit reality show Real Housewives of Atlanta and just released her sophomore CD, Kandi Koated.
To celebrate the release of Kandi Koated, a CD release party was held on December 16th at District in Chicago and UnRated Urban Magazine got a chance to talk to Burruss about the CD and her current and future plans.
UUM: This CD is filled with mid-tempo songs and ballads; no club songs. Why did you decide to go this route?
Kandi: I was trying to do an album that reminded me of the Xscape albums and we were really known for a lot of slow and mid-tempo records, we didn’t really have a lot of fast songs and repeating that era because that was my favorite time in R&B.
I wanted a real classy album, songs you could play 15 years from now, and sometimes up-tempo records can be trendy and I really wanted songs that would be classic.
UUM: How did you hook up with Ne-Yo and what was it like to work with him on “Me and You”?
Kandi: The guy who A&R’ed my project was like I want you to get with Ne-Yo and I was like huh? Because in my mind I’m thinking, Ne-Yo does what I do so how is that going to work? I didn’t know how two strong writers would collaborate but it turned out to be an excellent thing.
When I got to the session Ne-Yo was real cool, it was a mutual respect. So I enjoyed it. First we wrote one song together and then when we decided to do another song I was like ummm….you know what, if I’m going to pay for a Ne-Yo record, let me just let Ne-Yo do his thing.
So I kind of just sat back and let him take control on” Me and You” and I just gave my input here and there but it was all him really.
UUM: The song “Leroy Jones”, was inspired and written for your stepfather, how did it come about, when did you write it and why did you feel like it was such an important song to put out there? What does your mom think about it?
Kandi: I wrote it like a year and a half ago. She (my mom) loved it. Surprisingly, because my mom is very territorial so she’ll be like how come you didn’t write a song about me? That’s what I thought she was going say. But I guess “Super Woman” is a big up to all the single moms out there and I do talk about my mom in “Super Woman” so “Leroy Jones” you know you gotta do something for those men out there because I believe a man or even a woman, you know I’ve done it too that can take on somebody else’s child and love them like their your own. I think that takes a lot of love and I feel like those people need to be lifted up and be praised.
UUM: Your daughter, Riley, is on the CD. Whose idea was that? Do you think she will pursue a career in music? If she does, will you encourage it? Does Willow Smith have some competition?
Kandi: She kept bugging me. She was like mom please let me be on the album, and I was like ok. So as I kept recording she was like I thought you said I was going to be on your album?
So I was like ok I gotta find something to do with my daughter and I thought it would be great to do an interlude before “Leroy Jones”, so we came up with it and she recorded her part really fast, it didn’t take any time, it was like two seconds.
I definitely think my daughter is going following in my footsteps; I mean, that’s just my opinion. She’s already writing songs and I don’t make her, she does it on her own. She comes up with kids songs. She has a definite melody and the hook is defined so I hear her potential and she can sing to be an 8 year old. I want her to be better than me, I want her to play instruments and do all that so I want to try to give her all the tools to be the best if that’s what she wants to do. I’m not going to force her but if she wants to, I’m going to support her.
UUM: On the show, you are working with Lawrence Washington, is there anyone else you’re working with right now?
Kandi: My background singers, there’s four of them and I really want to see girl groups come back. So I think I’m going to talk them (background singers) into letting me do an album with them. I would love to. They are very talented so I could see them being hot. And I always wanted to write country songs so I would love to collaborate with a country artist.
UUM: So you’re not just solely dedicated to your own personal projects?
Kandi: I was this year because I had a timeline and between doing the show (Real Housewives of Atlanta) it was making it hard for me to just totally focus so when I did have time, I had to just focus on me, I couldn’t focus on everyone else.
UUM: You’re currently on tour with Fantasia and Eric Benet
Kandi: We’re on break right now until December 27th and then we go back on the road.
UUM: How’s the tour going?
Kandi: Great. Now, to be honest with you, I feel like a new artist all over again. I’m in grind mode and you know how you feel when you really, really want something really, really bad…so it’s like you’re just going extra hard. So I have that new artist mentality. But when I get on the stage people show me love like I never left.
UUM: After the Tour with Fantasia ends, are you going on a solo tour?
Kandi: I would like to, my manager is working on some things. So we will see I don’t think it will be by myself I would still be with some other people.
UUM: Will Kim Zolciak be one of those people?
Kandi: Naw, me and her did a tour, you’ll see it on TV and that’s all we need to do. We good.
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