For Black Music Month, singer/songwriter Kandi speaks to Aries from UrbanBridgez about her upcoming release, the good and bad times in Xscape, joining the cast of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” her essential R&B albums and much more!
UrbanBridgez.com: Tell me about the new album you’re working on?
Kandi: Basically it’s a mixture of sounds I would say. It has very urban anthems. I always describe it to people who submit me music, that it has to sound like an anthem as soon as it comes on (laughs). You know what I mean, like certain tracks you hear. As soon as the track comes on it sounds like an anthem. Like uptempo or mid-tempo, those are the vibes I was kinda going for. It’s gonna be some nice ballads on the album as well. It’s alot of real personal subject matter, especially on a few of the songs.
UrbanBridgez.com: Who did you work with this time around?
Kandi: So far Drama Boy, he’s done a couple. Jazze Pha, Black Elvis, let me see…Malay, more new people this time around.
UrbanBridgez.com: What’s the official first single?
Kandi: Right now it’s most likely gonna be this song called “Trade Him In,” featuring Gucci Mane. (listen below)
UrbanBridgez.com: What’s the latest with Peach Candy?
Kandi: We’re still planning to do it. Rasheeda is going to put her solo album out first. I’m going to put out my new solo album. Then we’re going to come back together and finish it up. Then release the Peach Candy album. We got a lot of songs already, we’re gonna add some new stuff as well.
UrbanBridgez.com: You’re such an incredible songwriter, who are some artists you’re working with for their projects?
Kandi: I was working with Fantasia, the songs I did with her turned out really good. I’m not sure though which songs are going to make the album, but I hope (laughs). I worked with a new artist by the name of Bryan Ellis signed to Sony Music. Gucci Mane, I’m on three songs for his new album. It’s this guy named Big Bank Black, another rap artist and I’m on his song “Try it Out.” It’s really big in the clubs down here, so you’ll most likely be hearing it soon.
UrbanBridgez.com: What are your long term goals with Kandi Koated Entertainment?
Kandi: I really, really want to develop a couple of new artists. Then put them out through my company. As well as some producers and writers and help take them to a new level.
UrbanBridgez.com: Will you and Tiny work together on any future projects?
Kandi: Yes, she has two girl groups that she is working on right now and I’m actually suppose to help her with them.
UrbanBridgez.com: I talked with Coko recently and she said they (SWV), didn’t really realize how big they were until recently.
Kandi: Really? Wow, I use to love them!
UrbanBridgez.com: Did you ever think Xscape would be as big as they were when you all started out?
Kandi: I think we did (laughs). Let me speak for myself, I think I had unrealistic expectations back then. You know what I’m saying. First of all I was in High School when we came out. Now in my mind, TLC had already came out and blew up! ABC, Kris Kross, it was just alot of groups & artists that had came out from Atlanta and was doing their thing. So in my mind, I was like okay all we gotta do is get a deal and we’re gonna be huge (laughs). So when it happened, we were blessed and we got our deal. Our first single went to #1 and our first album ended up going platinum. So it was just kind of like what I thought would happen. Only because at that time I didn’t realize how hard it was to do that. It just had seemed like everybody in Atlanta was doing it, you get what I’m saying?
UrbanBridgez.com: Yeah, I know exactly what you’re saying.
Kandi: Yeah, it just seemed like everybody in Atlanta was doing their thing. So the hard part was getting the deal and once you got the deal – everybody blow up (laughs).
UrbanBridgez.com: What’s your best memory of your time in Xscape?
Kandi: My best memory, let’s see… I think the first time we heard our song on the top 8 at 8, here in Atlanta (laughs). We got super excited, like wow! Just because it was on the top 8 at 8 in Atlanta, we just thought oh yea we done made it (laughs). We thought we was doing it big for real! So that was one. And when we was on our first tour with Salt-N-Pepa and R. Kelly, that was really exciting! That was really exciting to me because Salt-N-Pepa was my all time favorite girl group, even though they’re rappers. But as a kid, man I knew every word to all of their songs (laughs). So yeah to be on tour with them and they were so nice and we use to all have so much fun. We would do things like shoot water guns behind set. It was just too fun!
UrbanBridgez.com: Off the top of your head, what are your top 3 favorite songs you’ve recorded with Xscape and/or solo?
Kandi: Okay, my top favorite songs… “My Little Secret,” would have to be one. “Who Can I Run To,” I always loved that one. And “Easier,” because that was about my brother.
UrbanBridgez.com: Who are you feeling at the moment as far as girl groups (Rich Girl, Elektrik Red, etc.)?
Kandi: I don’t know yet (laughs). I mean they’ve only put out one song a piece and I’ve met Rich Girl. They’re very beautiful, talented girls. But I need to hear some more. You know what! I really like T-Pain‘s girl group, Sophia Fresh. I think they’re very cool. I worked with Sophia Fresh and I worked with Rich Girl. Rich Girl is very cool, they’re dope. But there is something about Sophia Fresh, I think they have alot of potential, if the label gets behind them right. Like I’ve heard alot more of their songs and it’s just different. I mean they’re like a new TLC or whatever, but there is something about them I’m really feeling.
UrbanBridgez.com: What’s been your biggest obstacle you’ve had to face in the music industry, while in Xscape or Solo?
Kandi: Let’s see, when we was in the group it was just very challenging. We wasn’t really getting along alot, specially after we put out the second album. We was really having alot of drama and stuff and going into the third album, we knew one of our members was suppose to be going solo. So that made everything even more stressful while recording that album. So just knowing that my group was falling apart and trying to figure out what the hell am I about to do now if this group falls apart (laughs). What’s my plan, so that was very stressful! So I don’t know, I’ve been in the industry so long, now I’ve had alot of stressful moments where I was just like what am I gonna do.
UrbanBridgez.com: You’re entering the reality TV world soon, what made you wanna sign on for “The Real Housewives of Atlanta?”
Kandi: Well initially I was suppose to be doing that show with Tiny and Toya. It was supposed to be me, Tiny, Toya and another young lady by the name of Joy. So basically I was already in the mindstate of doing a reality show. So I guess the producer of the show, just wanted it to be Tiny and Toya or whatever. So I was like alright, but of course after you sit there and I think we were working on it for like a month. We’re all excited about doing this reality show together and then it fell apart, well on my end. Then the following week, the people from the “Housewives” reached out to me to set up a meeting. And I just thought it was crazy, like maybe it was meant to be.
Kandi: You know what I mean, so it wasn’t a thing where I searched out the “Housewives” people. One of my friends I think it was Derek J, when they were asking around who they thought would be a good fit. He was one of the hair people on the show. The producers were asking who should we talk to and I think he suggested my name. They said some other people suggested my name also, even though they didn’t tell me who it was. But yeah Derek J was like they need someone on the show who is successful in their own right. But I was like, I’m not even married yet. I didn’t think they would even want me (laughs). So when he asked me and was like I’m going to tell them to call you. I was like I don’t know about that one. Plus I was doing the thing with Tiny, but that fell apart and the next week the “Housewives” people called. I was like well maybe it was meant for me to be on a reality show. I’m scared because we don’t get to see how they edit it, we don’t see it until everybody else does.
UrbanBridgez.com: Oh wow, I didn’t know that.
Kandi: See, exactly! So I’m scared (laughs). I’m like how are they gonna have me look, I don’t want them making me look crazy (laughs). But it should be fun, it’s gonna be a great season because alot of stuff went on during the taping.
UrbanBridgez.com: What are three essential R&B albums you think everybody should have?
Kandi: Jill Scott‘s first album, I know I played that to death (laughs)! I use to love that album, let’s see… The Keith Sweat album where it was only 6 or 7 songs on it.
UrbanBridgez.com: Yeah the first album “Make it Last Forever,” and yeah it was only 8 songs on it (laughs).
Kandi: Yeah with “How Deep is Your Love” on it and everybody had it (laughs). That is an ultimate must have! And I have to give it up to our (Xscape) second album “Off The Hook” to me that was my favorite one. So those would be my three, all though I gotta say the “Waiting To Exhale” soundtrack, I use to love that. I could name a couple more (laughs). But yeah definitely those for sure!
UrbanBridgez.com: Any last words for your fans?
Kandi: I wanna say, first of all thanks for supporting me this long. Please look out for the new album, it’s definitely gonna have alot of records on there. And also alot of songs where you can actually watch the show (The Real Housewives of Atlanta) & when you hear the songs. You’re gonna be like oh she must be talking about that or something you will see on the show. And follow me @KandiConnection on Twitter if you wanna find out what else is going on. I really wanna say, thank you to everybody for supporting me for this long, because to be honest. It’s kind of unheard of for somebody to still be relevant, after 16 years. It’s been a long time, half of my life actually. I’ve been doing this (laughs). Which is kind of crazy. So thank you!
Listen to “Trade Him Him” feat. Gucci Mane