|Next Project:||Human (11/11)|
|Twitter:||Brandy on Twitter|
Brandy has sold more than 25 million albums worldwide and as a result has taken home over 100 awards and honors. Yet the acclaimed singer and her pop hits have remarkably been absent from the charts for this entire half-decade. Now, more than four years since the release of her last project, “Aphrodisiac,” the 29-year-old is on the comeback trail with the impending release of her fifth studio album, “Human.”
Reunited with longtime executive producer, Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins, who is responsible for her most successful album, “Never Say Never,” Brandy has unleashed the project’s lead single, “Right Here (Departed).” Already beginning to impact at radio stations across multiple formats, the song’s success will ultimately determine the resonance of the entire comeback project, which is currently scheduled for release on November 11.
In an exclusive interview with DJBooth’s DJ “Z,” Brandy steps inside the booth to talk about which human elements are showcased on the new album, why her work with Darkchild produces such special results, what the future of her acting career beholds, and how she plans to fulfill a certain responsibility to her fans.
Listen to the Interview
Brandy Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on everybody? It’s your boy “Z,” doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth is a multi-platinum-selling, Grammy-winning R&B singer who will make her official return to the musical limelight this November. Please welcome the very talented Brandy.
Brandy: Hello, Z. You good?
DJ Booth: Oh, I’m great – how are you on this wonderful Friday afternoon?
Brandy: I’m great, I’m in Miami, working very hard, and just happy to be talking to you.
DJ Booth: I heard you were in the studio all night long – that’s why you needed a few extra hours of sleep – so I’m glad you got that in before the interview; I’d hate to know that you were struggling to stay awake while I was talking to you.
Brandy: Not at all. I’m excited, I can’t really get much sleep. I’m just excited about everything, and when you’re this excited, you just can’t get enough sleep, can’t eat enough food, you know? I’m just happy to be back.
DJ Booth: Well, everyone I know is very happy to have you back. The title of the new album is Human, so does this mean that everyone who picks up a copy of this album is going to feel a common connection to it? ‘Cause we are all human.
Brandy: At the end of the day, that’s what we all are. No matter what we are, we’re all the same at the end of the day. I love that, and I think that the fans will be able to relate to that and really connect to it. The music is just something that everybody can feel – I made this music for everybody.
DJ Booth: What would you say, Brandy, are the most predominant human elements on the album – happiness, sadness, anger, jealousy?
Brandy: I think it’s all [of those]. Mainly dealing with love, and talking about love in different ways. And happiness is a good thing. There’s definitely a lot of feel-good records on the album, a lot of records that deal with breakups, and overcoming things, and inspirational messages as well. So, like I said, it’s very versatile, and I made this album for everybody.
DJ Booth: Brandy, over the last four years, your music has been M.I.A. on the charts, the radio, the television, even the Internet. So, big question here: do you consider this a comeback album?
Brandy: Yes, I do. I definitely feel like it’s a comeback and a reintroduction to the world. I’ve been gone for a while. It’s good to grow and evolve, and be able to have something to give; it’s a beautiful thing.
DJ Booth: In a previous interview that you did with MTV, you were reported as saying, “I just wanted to make a universal album, and we accomplished that.” How does an artist go about creating a universal album? How did you do it?
Brandy: Well, I got with some of the best producers in the game, like Rodney Jerkins – our chemistry is really unbelievable, it’s just a blessing to be back in the studio with him. I just work with different writers who have worked with, like, Fergie, and artists like that, that have reached so many different people in this world, so I want to get with those people who could do the same for me, so it worked out.
DJ Booth: I just spoke to Kerry “Krucial” Brothers a few weeks ago, and he said he actually was poised to do some work with you, and he was very excited about that.
Brandy: Yes, I love him. His music is incredible, he inspires me. We didn’t really get a chance to get in, but I know that whatever we do is going to be hot.
DJ Booth: You mentioned your work with Darkchild, and I want to focus on that for a second. Describe your musical relationship with Rodney.
Brandy: Well, we always call it a “marriage.” We bring out the best in each other, and we both want the same things. As far as his beats, like, I sing effortlessly over his beats, and it just seems like he takes it to the next level when he works with me, and I have to do the same. Like I said, it’s a marriage, and I’m so glad to be working with him again. I didn’t think it would ever happen again.
DJ Booth: On your last album, Afrodisiac, you and Rodney did not collaborate together – what was the reason behind that?
Brandy: I just think we were in different places at the time. And Timbaland is another favorite producer of mine. He also has that chemistry with me, and I wanted to work with him, and give that a shot, and I think we made really great music. I just can’t wait to work with him in the future.
DJ Booth: In the current musical landscape, there are very few artists who I can think of off the top of the dome who have penned their own successful R&B/pop records over the last few years. How much of this album did you actually sit down and write?
Brandy: I wrote a lot on this album, and I was shocked, because the people that brought it out of me were, like, Natasha Bedingfield and Toby Gad. They really believed that I had potential to write, and I wrote the title track, “Human,” and I collaborated with Natasha on a record called “Fall.” And every song I had a lot to do with, it was inspired by my own experiences, and just things that I’ve seen in life, so I feel very involved on the writing tip, on this album.
DJ Booth: Evolving from your previous works, do you feel a better sense of accomplishment, if you will, because you were more involved with the songwriting process, as opposed to getting a song previously written by somebody else and then just going into a studio and singing?
Brandy: All of the albums that I’ve done, I’ve been involved in all the writing. I just never really wrote before, but, you know, everybody that I’d worked with had been inspired by me. And that’s a beautiful thing, because it makes them more honest, it makes them more truthful. If I’m not going to be the one writing it, at least I can be inspired by it, and they can be inspired by me to write such a great song. But it’s definitely different when you write it yourself.
DJ Booth: Human will be released on Epic Records. It’s your first album with the company; your four previous albums were all released under the Atlantic umbrella. What do you feel you learned in the course of your 10 years and four albums with Atlantic, which helped you decide on Epic as your current label home?
Brandy: I just wanted to get with a label that believed in me the way that Atlantic did when I first started. And with Epic, it was fate how we all met; like, my brother ran into Charlie Walk at a store, and from then we had a meeting, and met Brandon Creed, my A&R, and just connected as soon as we met. It just really seemed like he believed, and everybody that I met at the label, they really believed and wanted to give me a chance and introduce me back to this industry, and I’m so blessed to be working with people like that, because sometimes artists don’t get that lucky – you know, they get with people they have to prove and force to believe in them, and I didn’t have to do that with Epic. It felt like I was just at home when I went there.
DJ Booth: Brandy, based on your mass achievements in this industry – you’ve sold 25 million-plus albums worldwide – how much, if any consideration did you give to going independent?
Brandy: I thought about that, definitely, because my brother has had some great success with being independent, but I just felt like I needed that machine and that push, because I wanna reach as many people as I can reach. I wanna touch a lot of people with my music, and I don’t think [independently] I could do that.
DJ Booth: You mentioned reach, and, really, no one knows more about reach than yourself – you’ve reached out both musically and on television. What are the chances that we see Brandy star in a brand new network televised sitcom sometime in the near future?
Brandy: Well, I have meetings right now set up to do other sitcoms, and maybe a talk show in the future. That’s something that is a second level – my music is definitely first, but I love to act and be different characters, and act silly, and smile, and make people laugh, and that’s definitely in my future and in my plans for sure.
DJ Booth: Okay, well I never got a chance to audition to be a part of Moesha, so if you do get a new TV show, hook [me] up, okay?
Brandy: I will, ‘cause I love the way you’re talkin’ to me right now – it’s so energetic, and I love your questions, man. You’re talented, for sure.
DJ Booth: I appreciate that. Actors, they want to record music, musicians, they want to act; many have tried to do both, but few, I feel, have succeeded like yourself. Who do you think is the best example of a crossover success story?
Brandy: One of my mentors is Will Smith; he’s been able to bless this music game, and definitely get out there and give us inspirational movies. I think he’s probably one of the only ones. Definitely Jennifer Hudson with the Oscar and the music – I mean, that’s just unbelievable. Beyonce’s doin’ a great job. I just can’t wait to get back into that, because when I was a kid nobody said that that was something that could be done, but, when you take a risk, and take a chance, and explore all of your talents, you’re able to do things that people say you can’t do. I just wanna get back into that, and continue to do what I’m supposed to do – that’s my responsibility.
DJ Booth: Brandy, what you’ve accomplished before your 30th birthday, is what most musicians hope to accomplish in an entire career. Do you ever think to yourself, “I’ve done enough; I don’t need to work anymore?”
Brandy: I don’t think about it like that, because I love to sing and I love to act. I don’t know how to do anything else! This is what I was born to do, this is my purpose, and I feel like I would be unfulfilled if I didn’t do it. And then, maybe get married and have a family, you know?
DJ Booth: And have talented little children who act and sing also, who you’ll breed to be the next Brandy.
Brandy: Yes, and I already have a child that’s getting into that, too, so to have more, and to be married, and to sing all over the world, tour, that’s gonna be amazing, and I think about that all the time.
DJ Booth: When you look at all that you have accomplished over the last 15 years, what does that tell you about the next 15?
Brandy: That I have an opportunity to do it again, and I have an opportunity to touch people the way they deserve to be touched: with real music, with real films, with works that inspire people. And that is my responsibility.
DJ Booth: Well, you have a lot of great things going on for you right now: a single at radio, an album on the horizon. Give everyone a website or a MySpace page, so they can find out more, of course, about the exciting new album you have in store, Human.
Brandy: It’s myspace.com/foreverbrandy. And what’s so interesting about MySpace is I’m able to chat with all of my fans personally. There’s nobody else chatting for me, it’s me and my fans, one on one, and I do videos letting them know what I’m up to. I call my fans “stars,” because without them I wouldn’t be able to shine.
DJ Booth: Brandy, I knew that you were an active participant on MySpace before you said all that. You know why? Because you knew your actual MySpace address. So many artists I talk to, they’re clueless – they go, “Hold on,” and you can hear them asking their publicist or their label manager, “What’s my MySpace, again?”
Brandy: You can’t blame ‘em, but I really love my fans.
DJ Booth: Well, I appreciate your time greatly, for joining me inside the DJ Booth, and I wish you nothing but the best of luck with your new project.
Brandy: Thank you so much, you too, I will definitely talk to you again.