Kandi Burruss: The ‘Kandi Koated’ Interview
“I’m giving you a little taste of me,” says of her hotly anticipated sophomore album, ‘Kandi Koated,’ coming out December 14th…
“When I think of candy coated, I think of adding a little sugar to something and making it better.” And that’s exactly what Kandi does with everything she touches.
Whether singing, songwriting, running her Atlanta-based clothing store T.A.G.S., raising her daughter Riley, running her own production company or showcasing her life on Bravo’s ‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta‘, Kandi does it with trademark tenacity and an unstoppable grind.
“Whatever I think of and decide on, I do it,” she says with a charming confidence. Her quiet storm-like drive propelled Kandi from a member of the 1990′s supergroup Xscape (their entire catalogue is platinum) to an extremely respected songwriter on the speed dial of every record label executive.
“After Xscape broke up, I promised myself that I would never be in a situation again to where I was financially dependent on one thing or other people’s actions. That’s when Tiny (Tameka Cottle) and I started writing songs for our own album,” Kandi says. “One of them was ‘No Scrubs.’
After landing on L.A. Reid’s desk, the song became one of TLC’s biggest hits, earning a Grammy Award for Best R&B performance for a Duo or Group with Vocal and a nomination for Record of the Year.
“Executives from the labels started calling me on a first-name basis. It went from just being, ‘She’s in a hot group’ to ‘Let’s sit down and talk business.”
Kandi went on to write the #1 ‘Bills, Bills, Bills” and “Bug A Boo” for Destiny’s Child and several other hits for, *NSYNC, , Boyz II Men, and Whitney Houston. Riding the success of her songwriting career, Kandi released her debut album, ‘Hey Kandi’ in 2001, yielding a Billboard ‘Top 25′ pop hit, ‘Don’t Think I’m Not.’
Kandi’s songwriting skills have made history twice. She’s the first African American female to win the prestigious ‘Songwriter of the Year’ award, and the first woman ever to win ASCAP’s Rhythm & Soul Music Award.
“When I started writing songs, I knew I wanted to take it to another level,” Kandi remembers. “I always wanted to also be a business woman because being creative is not enough to keep your life flourishing.”
Her passion for life and business led to reality television. Originally a member of the cast of the show that eventually aired as ‘Tiny & Toya,’ Kandi was dropped, only to gain a starring role on ‘’ (the #1 show on cable for women 18-49).
“Everything happens for a reason and the show has been great for me,” Kandi says. “But, in the beginning, I had my doubts.”
The blogosphere instantly ripped into Kandi’s relationship with the now deceased AJ Jewell. The pressure was unbearable for the couple, whom were engaged. Kandi toyed with not returning to the show.
“I had a cool life before, so I quickly asked myself, ‘Why am I doing this?’ I’m not attention-driven. The things I do, I do because they’re fun. But, I realized I have the opportunity to show an example of a woman being an attentive mother and taking care and control of her own life and career.”
With ‘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 top hits.
“The album is about love and relationships. It’s about meeting someone. Falling for them. Falling out with them. Breaking up with them. Thinking about them. Getting back together. Moving on. It’s all there,” Kandi says of the project, which she almost completely wrote (with the exception of ‘Me and You,’ written and produced by Ne-Yo’ and sampling the Outkast classic, ‘Elevators.’)
“I knew I had to come back strong. I waited way too many years to return with something wack,” Kandi says. “I love this album. It’s not stuck in a box.”
- To learn more about Kandi Burruss, visit KandiOnline.com or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
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