Kandi and her team have been supporting UrbanBridgez.com since our launch with our ReWind feature (returning in 2011) & various interviews in recent years! So celebrating our 5th year anniversary we had to include her once again. Not because she’s a co-star on one of the top rated shows on Bravo & not because she’s one of the most talented artist in urban music today — We had to feature her because it wouldn’t be a true celebration without our girl Kandi!
Whether singing, songwriting, running her Atlanta-based clothing store T.A.G.S., raising her adorable daughter Riley, running her own production company or showcasing her life on the insanely popular Bravo reality show The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Kandi does it with trademark tenacity and an unstoppable grind.
With her new album ‘Kandi Koated,’ Kandi has taken the reins and delivered a cohesive album with everything you would expect from a singer who has helped create numerous songs that have served as the soundtrack to our lives.
Recently Kandi spoke with CJ from UrbanBridgez.com about her new album ‘Kandi Koated,’ songwriting, executive producing a new show for Bravo, why fans never got a video for ‘Fly Above,’ why she keeps working with Kim Zolciak in the studio & more!
UrbanBridgez.com: Since the album is out and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, what was the hardest part about recording Kandi Koated?
Kandi: I think the hardest thing was finding the time. This year I had to finish my album once I worked out my deal with Warner Brothers and you know I had to turn in more records. I was fitting the show and I wasn’t having time in the studio like I needed to. So I really didn’t get to finish until we stopped taping the show. Then I went into the studio and did a lot of my favorite songs on the album like Me & You with Ne-Yo, (well that was at the end of taping, they caught that at the end). Then “I Want You” and it was a few records on there I did and even the ones on the bonus version. I loved that song “I’m Happy” that I wanted to have on the main version of album and that was another thing trying to figure out what was going to end up on the album.
UrbanBridgez.com: Did you feel there was immense pressure for you to top your debut album released 10 years ago?
Kandi: Yeah. Uh, there’s pressure with hoping that everybody likes it (laughs). The thing is I know everyone is like it’s all about the first week sales. I went into this album knowing or expecting any big huge first week. That was not my plan or goal in the beginning [stages]. I knew that I was going have to really work to make this album successful. So I just did my best to put together an album that I had multiple singles because I didn’t want to have an album that was a quick burner. I don’t want it to be about the first single and that was it. I wanted to have a bunch of songs that could come back to back. In my opinion I knew I was going to have to work to gain my old fans back and gain new fans. The only way I could do that was by having a quality album. You know being on the show I know people are ready to judge or pick apart the project. I just wanted to give an album where people would be satisfied even if they didn’t like me.
UrbanBridgez.com: After watching the recent episode of the “Housewives” I have a greater appreciation for you. This is because you were recording a heartfelt song to your former fiancée. How hard was it for you to record “Haven’t Loved Right” while unleashing so many penned up emotions?
Kandi: It was hard because you have the camera right there in your face. I was already nervous because I wanted the song to turn out right. Mind you I re-recorded the song twice to get it perfect. I wrote that song prior to AJ’s passing and I wrote it right after we broke up I believe. It was mostly about how things weren’t coming together for me on the relationship front after we broke up. Being after he passed away I even more so felt that way. Now when I first wrote the song I wasn’t writing it for me but after he passed away it was the best song to describe how I felt so I decided to keep it for myself.
UrbanBridgez.com: So it has a sentimental value?
Kandi: Yeah. You know, as a writer I just be writing songs. Sometimes I don’t necessarily know when I first write that it’s going to be for my album. I just write it because I love writing songs.
UrbanBridgez.com: There’s a song titled “Lucky” on your album which was leaked out during the summer featuring Fantasia. What was the story behind this song and what do you think about people referring to this song as “the Home wrecker’s anthem”?
Kandi: (laughs) Okay! What happened was I did this song with KC and Malay the producers and my homegirl Jessica. We wrote the song back when we were working with Fantasia. I was working with Fantasia for her last album. No, No, No, we wrote the song before we got in the studio with Fantasia and we didn’t write it for her mind you. Now she heard the song and loved it! That wasn’t one of the songs we were trying to do for her, it was a song we were writing [at the time]. She wasn’t even in the relationship everyone is trying to refer to and I don’t even think she met the guy at the time she recorded the song. So I think somebody was trying to be messy and leak the song saying she did it for that relationship. You get what I’m saying?
UrbanBridgez.com: Oh yeah!
Kandi: It was not about that at all. It had nothing to do with that. Me and my friends were together just coming up with hot ideas and the track was hot. I was like D…D….Damn (laughs)! Sometimes you can just be vibing with your friends, you know? I guess it is about cheating but I did a prelude to the song because I wanted people to know different ways of cheating come about now! In my case when I think of the song I think about how you can be dating someone in a relationship. When you break up and start dating other people you kind of miss the sex of that person so you want to try it again. You’re saying they’re “lucky” cause you know he was you’re dude first. I think it’s kind of silly to judge a person off of a song. A song is just made for fun.
UrbanBridgez.com: What are your plans to keep the momentum of Kandi Koated going 2011?
Kandi: I have a million and one things going on (laughs)! First of all let me say that the same way I’m behind the scenes in music is the way I’m going to be in television. So I have a TV show that I’m doing with some friends I’m executive producing. I’m already in negotiations with the network [Bravo] on a show that I can’t say what it is yet because I haven’t signed the paperwork yet. Be looking out for me to be executive producing shows. Kandi Koated Nights, the UStream show that I do, there have been some opportunities brought to me possibly doing that as a radio show. We’re producing more artists. I’m going to develop Lawrence (Sheree Whitfield’s hairstylist) and girl group for my company Kandi Koated Entertainment. I want to take them to the next level and continue to push my own album. I want to keep building myself as a mogul. I look up to Queen Latifah, I look up to Oprah. They have so many different things going on and they are successful in so many areas. I just want to be one of those people who can create a lot of opportunities and jobs for people. As I woman I want to take things to the next level.
UrbanBridgez.com: Why did you change the album’s title from B.L.O.G. (B*tches Love Online Gossip) to Kandi Koated? I love the way that acronym.
Kandi: Thank you. I appreciate that! What happened was the time me and AJ were dating we would see a lot of different things wrote about us on the blogs. There were a few songs I wrote that were inspired by things people were saying on the blogs. I thought they were hot! When AJ passed like first of all AJ was having issues with what people were saying about him on the blogs. He hated it, it was a problem. So when he passed it didn’t feel right to me to make that title of my album. I wanted to see something positive because that was something he hated so much. The way he was looked at [on the blogs] I just said I wasn’t going to give any energy or life to that. I actually had wrote a song about everything people said about me and him, it was kind of dope; how some of the stuff could have been true and some of it wasn’t along with clearing up things and we were shouting out all of the bloggers. I just totally canceled it.
UrbanBridgez.com: That’s totally understandable. Since you have so much love from the song “Fly Above”, how come you didn’t shoot a video for this song?
Kandi: (laughs) You know that’s funny! Someone else said that to me and I was like that song been out so long. We would like to do a video now but so many people are asking I might end up doing one. It’s a very motivational song and I didn’t realize how many people knew it until I went on tour with Fantasia. When I tell you every city I’ve gone to people are on their seats singing every word. When I put it out on iTunes I wasn’t signed to Warner Brothers then and I didn’t have a company working it at radio. So I didn’t realize how big the song was.
UrbanBridgez.com: Now you know I have to go there. Why in the world did you waste so much time with Kim Zolciak in the studio?
Kandi: The first season I did it because I always like the underdogs. I knew from watching the show from the first year people dogged her out all the time. I was like you know what I’m just going to show you it can be done. I just hate when people try to tell people what they can’t do. Even in my own experience I’ve had people tell me “ain’t nobody checking for another album by you”. They’ll have a lot of stuff to say! For me I was just trying to help the underdog win. This year I was just trying to be nice as a friend and helping her out. I knew she needed more than one song and I knew we were going to do a promo tour together. So I was just trying to give her another song. I’m done; you don’t have to worry about that anymore (laughs).
UrbanBridgez.com: One thing I have to compliment you on is your nature to fess up about the many “she said” moments on the show. Why do you think so many of the ladies back peddle so much denying about the things they say on the show?
Kandi: I don’t know. I don’t understand that. People do that in real life, so maybe that’s how they roll. Me personally, I’ve always been a person that speaks before they think. I just say it is what it is, I said it, I meant it and it’s done (laughs). Sometimes you can say things about a person and later regret it and be like I really like them but I just feel you just should tell the person sorry ….I hate that I did it but let’s get past it. I would want someone to do the same thing to me. As long I don’t lie about you or make something up about you that aren’t true I would apologize if I hurt your feelings.
UrbanBridgez.com: Thank you so much Kandi for your time and I really appreciate it! Happy Holidays!
Kandi: Happy Holidays to you too!