UB Interview: Brandy Speaks on Two Eleven, Haters, Motherhood & More
Brandy is a superstar, point.blank.period! Ranked by the RIAA as one of the best-selling female artists in music history, Brandy has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide, while receiving a plethora of awards, including a Grammy, American Music Award, two Soul Train Music Awards, two NAACP Image Awards, three Billboard Awards, four MTV Awards, six Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards, two Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Awards and three BMI Awards.
Brandy debuted with her self-titled debut album at the age of fifteen and went on to record a series of hit albums that established her as one of the successful R&B/Pop female vocalists to emerge in a generation. Last year Brandy joined the cast member on BET‘s top-rated series “The Game,” receiving rave reviews for her role of Chardonnay and will be appearing in Tyler Perry‘s upcoming Lionsgate release, “The Marriage Counselor” being released March 29th, 2013.
Brandy is currently in preparation to release her most important album to date “Two Eleven” on October 16th via Chameleon/RCA Records. Already the album has previewed two singles “Put It Down” featuring Chris Brown and the recently released “Wildest Dreams.” Some of the producers and songwriters for the set include Sean Garrett, Bangladesh, Frank Ocean, Mario Winans, Hit-Boy, Ester Dean and Harmon.
Recently Brandy spoke with Aries from UrbanBridgez.com about Two Eleven, Whitney Houston‘s influence, the most emotional song she’s ever recorded, influencing a new generation of artists, Haters, Moesha, Motherhood and alot more!
UrbanBridgez.com: You’ve done alot of great interviews recently in preparation for Two Eleven, with Vaughn (Brandy Blog), Silent (True Exclusives), Kemp (Kempire Radio) and just recently with your B Source (Brandy Source) family, which I really enjoyed the chat vibe.
UrbanBridgez.com: No problem! What’s the best part for you doing press for this project?
Brandy: I think the best part for me is to really be able to promote a song that I believe in. Some of the records in the past I didn’t believe in, in certain eras that represented me in music wasn’t my favorite stuff to do. So to promote a song that I believe in and an album that I’m totally confident in. I feel like my fans will fall in love with it, that’s been the best part because it just feels like how it did when I was doing the first three albums.
UrbanBridgez.com: Wildest Dreams just dropped and the feedback is crazy good!
Brandy: Do you like it?
UrbanBridgez.com: I love, love, love it!
Brandy: Good, thank you! I’m so glad.
UrbanBridgez.com: Put It Down is steady rising up the charts, radio and video views, it comes off as you guys have a set strategy for this project, what can we expect next to pop off before the actual release like as far as appearances & hopefully a video for Wildest Dreams?
Brandy: Well we just want to go full swing ahead with of course to promote Put It Down. Hopefully some more performances, I haven’t did a 106 & Park performance yet. So I look forward to that working out on the schedule. With Wildest Dreams just dropping, I’m just happy that we have another song and look before the album. The video for that is coming next and it’s released on iTunes on the (August) 28th so we’re looking forward to shooting the video for that. I’ve been reading alot of tweets and people want me to dance in the video and the braids. So we’re just trying to get everybody’s ideas and incorporate them in the movement. I honestly feel like the Starz are really involved. I really feel like that, Ryan will tell you. When I see someone tweet something or see something that has to do with anything that they want, I’ll bring it back to the team. Like well they want it faster, so we have to try to find a way to get it to them faster. So it’s great and hopefully everything will continue to line up. And honestly it’s not really a strategy, we’re just kind of following the guidance that lives in all of our guts and we’ve been following that. I think the record label definitely has a plan. But we just follow that spiritual guidance that’s within all of us.
UrbanBridgez.com: One of the song titles has me very intrigued White Flag, what’s the theme of that record?
Brandy: White Flag is about my struggle. It’s about just everything that I’ve been through and basically surrendering. You know sometimes you get so tired and so worn out that you don’t even wanna fight anymore. I’ve come to that point in my life before where I didn’t give up. But I basically surrendered and put everything to the hands of the universe and just said I can’t fight these battles myself anymore. So that’s what White Flag is about, so White Flag means surrender.
UrbanBridgez.com: Really good, can’t wait to hear it! With Whitney being partially the inspiration for the album title and such a close friend to you, what song if any on the album when you listen to you think of her, either by the vocals, lyrics or whatever it may be?
Brandy: So many of my vocals, from riffs to phrasing — I try to emulate her here and there. Of course I try to stay true to myself. But naturally because she was really the only person that I listened to non stop growing up. So naturally there are her reflections on some of the things I do on the songs. But just my behavior and my dedication to my music and really just my commitment is my tribute to Whitney. Because that’s what I promised her that I would do and I promised her that I would stay true to myself. So that’s my whole life and behavior and how I am with my career, is my tribute to her. For some reason I just feel like…I don’t want to say she passed the torch, because clearly my voice isn’t as strong as Whitney’s and only she could do what she could do. But to pass on my birthday I feel like she passed something to me to continue to do because she’s not here anymore. So I just want to do that, whatever that thing is. I know I can’t come close to her, so I’m not saying that at all but I’m going to try my hardest to live out something that she would do if she was still here. And I say that in the most humble way, please don’t take it like oh I’m going to fill Whitney’s shoes, that’s not what I’m saying (laughs).
UrbanBridgez.com: Well you’re definitely headed in the right direction with this project.
Brandy: Thank you!
UrbanBridgez.com: You’ve stated that Chris Brown and possibly Frank Ocean are the only features on the album. Are there still plans to get in and possibly record with Drake in the near future?
Brandy: Oh my god this business is crazy, sometimes schedules don’t work out sometimes. I don’t know if this Drake thing is going to happen. I really want to work with him and I really want to work with 40 (Noah”40″ Shebib) and it’s not that it won’t happen, I just don’t think it’s going to happen for this project. You know whatever is meant to be will be and if it doesn’t happen for this project I know we will get in the studio one day. I’m telling you, I can just hear myself singing a Drake melody. Sometimes I just wanna be the female Drake, you know! That’s how incredible his melodies are, so yes absolutely in the future!
UrbanBridgez.com: You’ve already worked with everybody, as far as artists & producers, who’s left on your wish list to work with in the future if given the opportunity, outside of Drake (both laugh)?
Brandy: I would love to work with Beyonce’ one day. Even if I don’t get a chance to sing on a song with her, I would just love to see her work in the studio. She’s one of my favorites and also Sade. Sade is an amazing, amazing artist! One of those artists you wish you could sound like and I try to emulate her alot in my lower tones. You know with the rasp and the scratchy tones. I try to get my Sade on here and there. I also really love Enya, she just puts me into a trance! Her backgrounds and harmonies are unbelievable, she’s incredible. I would love to work with her one day as well. It’s alot of people, but those are my three favorite women right now.
UrbanBridgez.com: What’s the most emotional song you’ve ever recorded?
Brandy: Most emotional, oh my god I got so many emotional songs (laughs). My whole life before I even knew what love was (laughs). This is a hard one, I might need you to help me a little bit with that. I’m trying to think. You know what — I would have to say one of the most emotional songs I’ve ever done is not even on an album. It’s called Freedom, it was very emotional for me because that was the time I was going through the whole accident experience. I was very sad and I didn’t know how to feel at that time. That song came to me through Frank Ocean and TK, his writing partner at the time. I just wanted to be free from the slander, I wanted to be free blame, I wanted to just be happy again. Apart of me at that time didn’t even feel like I deserved to be or whatever because I was apart of something that was so tragic. It was a crazy time, that was one of the songs I was able to go in the studio and really release. Freedom means so many things, I know in the song the lyrics describe it to be freedom in terms of just being free. But it meant alot of different freedoms for me at that time. But I sang my heart out on so many songs, Never-SAY-Never was about a breakup. So that whole album was just…but Freedom is a very special song for a very interesting growing time for me.
UrbanBridgez.com: If for whatever reason, the stars didn’t align up and you were not an entertainer, what career path would you have taken?
Brandy: I would of been a kick ass Lawyer! Oh my god, I would of won all my cases. Specially like an negotiator, I would definitely want to represent the innocent and really try to win the case for them. If I didn’t do that, because I’m not good at studying, I’ve never been good at that. Sorry young fans, stay in school! I love doing hair and I love doing make-up, so I definitely would have like my own Salon. I would sell hair and have celebrity clients as well as normal clients. I love hair and make-up and making people feel beautiful. Like I do Shay’s make-up all the time and everytime I finish doing her make-up or doing her hair she just makes me feel like I created her. That feels good, so I would definitely do that. I love doing Sy’Rai’s hair, I straightened her hair today for the first day of school. She always says you’re my personal hairstylist mommy (both laugh). It’s fun.
UrbanBridgez.com: You might of just answered this next question, but what’s something about you, that you do or like that will surprise people?
Brandy: Let’s see, the Starz already know about the Warcraft, I don’t know I’m so boring like I don’t have a whole bunch of stuff that I do. You know what I mean, that where you would be shocked. You know what I like and this is not even anything that’s like exciting. I love to throw get togethers, I like to party and sometimes I drink (laughs). Because I like to get my little cocktail thing on, but everybody does that here and there but that’s not exciting. I’m definitely looney when I get a little alcohol in my system, my personality goes through the roof. Everybody is laughing, I become a comedian. So yeah…
UrbanBridgez.com: On YouTube everybody from Teyana Taylor, Ciara & Keke Palmer and others have sung your songs, how do you feel about being an icon for a generation?
Brandy: It’s amazing because all of those girls I love! So for them to love me and give me props and pay homage to me and to say I inspire them…that means alot because everybody doesn’t do that. Everybdy doesn’t take the time to do that and I know I did that to the people that influenced me and encouraged me. So for them to say that about me is amazing. But it’s kind of weird because when I was growing up and dreaming about being a singer, I never thought people would feel about me the way I have felt about certain people that have influenced me. So that’s a blessing, I never thought that. That’s why when people come up to me and they cry, I look at them like why it’s me. I get it, but I don’t get it which is a good thing. I think not getting it, keeps my grounded, keeps me humble and striving to continue to inspire people.
UrbanBridgez.com: Don’t lose that!
Brandy: Oh I won’t! I’m too old to lose it now, it’s kind of embedded in me (laughs).
UrbanBridgez.com: Speaking of Keke I spoke with her last year and she couldn’t stop raving about you! She stated she would love to do a record with you even though she feels you will blow her out the water.
Brandy: No way (would blow her out the water)!
UrbanBridgez.com: I know you two are close, can we expect a future collab?
Brandy: It’s so funny you ask me that today, I wished her an early happy birthday on the radio. She was on a radio station in Chicago and I surprised her and called her and she was so overwhelmed, so happy that I called. I was like yassss! But I was telling my guy the other day, I was like babe I got to find out how I can work with Keke. What can I do, should we do a TV show together, a song. So I definitely want to collaborate with her in the near future, like really near. She’s so great and she reminds me so much of me. It’s like looking in a mirror when I watch her. She’s so classy and such a role model. She’s real, it doesn’t seem like she’s trying to be too perfect like I was trying to be when I was younger. It’s more like, she’s still being herself all the way. She’s just classy and she’s on the right path.
UrbanBridgez.com: Like anybody accomplished and in the public eye, you have your share of haters!
Brandy: Oh yeah!
UrbanBridgez.com: They say use them as your motivators, how do your haters motivate you?
Brandy: I try not to pay attention to the haters because I understand what hate really is. I’m trying to win, just so I can show them — sometimes I have moments like that, but I feel bad for them. I really, really do. Because if they really got to know the people that they hate, they would feel really stupid. Like if they really got to know me and hung out with me for 5 minutes. First of all they would forget that I ever sang a song, they would probably think that I was like the best friend that they’ve never had. They would forget how much they hate me in 5 minutes, they would feel stupid. And probably be so apologetic. It’s crazy, but that’s just the way it is. But the hatred doesn’t have anything to do with me, it has to do with something about how they feel about them. Sometimes people hate themselves so much and because they’ve done so much hating on their self they need someone else to put that energy out on. They can continue to hate on me, I’m going to continue to do what I do and do it with love and strive to be the best me that I can be. Really soak in all the love that is out there for me and that is really what motivates me more than the hate is the love out there for me. Those Starz really keep me shining seriously! The Starz are the bomb.
UrbanBridgez.com: Everytime a Moesha marathon is on GMC it’s trending on Twitter, thinking back did you ever imagine the show would be so legendary so to speak?
Brandy: I had no clue, I knew I loved Moesha and I loved all her friends. I knew the show related to every teenage girl out there. I didn’t know it was going to be the way it was, I didn’t know that I would get the chance to work with Maya Angelou and Jamie Foxx to Nia Long was going to come on the show. I mean everybody just came in and out on that show. It was just really a blessing to work with alot of people that are huge today and that it has inspired so many people today. For it to still be around and people to still get excited about it is great. Now Sy’Rai is interested in watching it, she just told me today mom I wish Moesha was on today on the Disney channel. I said I know and she said she wants to see the Moesha meets Brandy episode, but I can’t find it! I can not find it.
UrbanBridgez.com: I have it on VHS.
Brandy: Send it to me! I need that for Sy’Rai!
UrbanBridgez.com: I can do that, it’s VHS now.
Brandy: That’s fine, we still got a VCR (laughs).
UrbanBridgez.com: What’s the best part about motherhood to you?
Brandy: Being able to get better and better and better! It starts with you and you have to really want to be a good parent. You really want to lead by example, so she keeps me on my toes. I just learn so much from her, like she’s so forgiving. Children are really forgiving like if you make a mistake, they love you unconditionally. She loves me if I look crazy, she loves me if I don’t ever sing again in my whole life. She loves me for me, is what I’m trying to say. We just have a good time, we’re very affectionate and we have a great relationship. The communication is amazing, so all of that is good. it just keeps you on your toes, I really want to be a great example to her. That keeps me being a great example to other little girls who are watching me too.
UrbanBridgez.com: Before we wrap up, what is something you want to share or leave with the Starz who have been supporting/promoting you hardcore in preparation for Two Eleven?
Brandy: It’s our time and we’re going to continue to strive, continue to be a unit! This is our time, claiming it, keep praying and supporting. Just know that I love the Starz as much as you love me! I really do, like I’m watching you guys, I listen to everything you guys say, I read everything you guys say and you guys are my babies. You guys are my extended family. Really and I mean that from the bottom of my heart.
UrbanBridgez.com: I’ve been meaning to tell you this. But I just want to say I really feel blessed to have been in the house when you performed in the Whitney tribute (BET Awards 2012) and to say I was proud is an understatement! To see you on that stage with so much confidence and honoring Whitney at the same time making your official return was amazing! You’re back, I just hope they’re ready!
Brandy: Thank you! I’m so happy you were there to experience that!