Remember TLC’s “No Scrubs” and Destiny’s Child’s “Bills, Bills, Bills.” There is one major secret in common behind these female anthems; Kandi Burruss. The former lead singer for Xscape took a back seat from the spotlight after Xscape dissolved in the late 90’s to concentrate on her skills as a hit songwriter. After helping artist like NSYNC, Mariah Carey and Alicia Keys excel to the top of the charts, Kandi began taking steps to becoming a solo superstar. In 2000 she signed with Columbia Records. For Kandi’s upcoming album she has teamed up with Upfront Records, the label that made Akon a success.
Singersroom: With songs like “Don’t Think I’m Not” and “No Scrubs,” what do you demand from the man in your life?
Kandi: I demand Honesty. Well, honesty is the first of all those things. When I feel like they [Men] violated my trust, that is a problem; a major Problem. I demand quality time and respect and he must be lots of fun. You know! I don’t think I have a lot of demands but honesty is a major thing for me.
Singersroom: What are some of the qualifications? How do you expect him to carry his self?
Kandi: I like a dude who is a nice dressed man. I like a dude who is really into his appearance. I don’t really go for looks all the time but if a dude dresses really nice or if he gets a nice haircut, a lineup, or if he has a beard and his beard is trimmed perfectly, I think that is so sexy.
Singersroom: Yeah, you like a well groomed man?
Kandi: Yeah, a well groomed guy with nice shoes. Not like overly neat and look corny or something but you know, what ever his style is, it just gotta be clean looking.
Singersroom: Yeah, no Metro-sexuals?
Kandi: No No No (laughter), I don’t like all that sh*t but if he’s going be like a thuggish type of dressed dude or what ever, I still like his clothes ironed. I hate dudes that be walking around like they just took a balled up shirt and put it on. I don’t like that.
Singersroom: You have written for Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Alicia Keys, and Boys II Men. You’ve also been recognized for the ASCAP Rhythm and Soul Music Award. Do you feel like you will get that same recognition as a solo artist?
Kandi: As a solo artist, um no not yet. I don’t know if I necessarily earned it yet as a solo artist. Back when I was in the group, I had major success as a songwriter but I still think that I have to deal with some more proving of myself as a solo artist. You know! I don’t think that it should just be automatic. I don’t automatically expect people to be like she is so great by herself. I know people want me to show improvement and I am willing to do that.
Singersroom: Do you think this album will catapult you to superstar status?
Kandi: I think that it can, definitely. So far we are not finish with the album but I definitely feel like if anything else, my writing game is going to give me more respect. Lyrically I feel like it is definitely going to allow people to get to know me more because I am, I guess you can say I kind of approached my songwriting the way a rapper does. I feel like the difference when a rapper writes a song, they give you a piece of their life. Like they tell you their stories, you know, what ever has been going on in their life. Whereas, a lot of R&B songs can just be general songs about love or whatever but on this album, I kind of give a lot of detail information about certain situations. I have a song about being a single mother and it is just telling you my story as far as me being a mother, my mother is a single mother and just different stuff that I have been going through. How I feel about it. You know just detailed information. I also did a song with Eight Ball called “Can’t Rain Forever,” which is just me telling you how I feel, like me grinding all the time but people just constantly hate on me. I give you detail information of my thoughts
on this album and I feel like it will gain me more respect in that event. People will be like “she speaking some real sh*t.”
Singersroom: Can we expect another Xscape album? What are the other members up to?
Kandi: I mean to be honest with you, I will say no. And the reason why I say no is, well first of all they were suppose to try to do another Xscape album last year, I guess, and I wasn’t apart of it and they got another member and then they broke up again. And I just felt like as a group we never had our business together and if your business isn’t right, a group can’t get anything accomplished. So, I would have to say no. like when you keep getting together, breaking up, getting together, breaking up, it don’t sound like progress at all.
Singersroom: Do you keep in touch with any of them? Like do you know what they are up to?
Kandi: Oh yeah, me and Tiny talk all the time, like every other day. We talk on a regular basis.
Singersroom: You seem to speak especially to the ladies, what advice would you give to young ladies that listen to a lot of Hip Hop and R&B where these songs talk about sex and so fourth?
Kandi: Well first of all I would say be your own person. I hate when people try to emulate everything they see on T.V. You know, like that is not you. Don’t try to be what you see somebody else doing just because that’s what they do. Be your own self, that’s first and foremost. And you know, always, always, always respect yourself. Be about your business. To me a lot of girls are so into chasing some dude, trying get the dude to do stuff for them or whatever that they forget to handle their own business. You know what I mean; they’re not working on themselves. So I’ll say there is nothing wrong with liking what you see on television but don’t just try to emulate everything you see. It’s cool being a sexy woman, its cool having a sex appeal about yourself but it shouldn’t be all that you’re about. You should be able to have a lot going on for yourself, and not try to emulate these women shaking their thang. Thinking like that is what guys want. Guys get that everyday, all day. You got to have something else going for yourself for them to really take you seriously or make you stand out from the rest. So that’s my opinion.
Singersroom: So how would you say the music industry has changed your life because I know it can be crazy for a female?
Kandi: Really, to be honest with you the music industry is all I know. I mean we signed our deal when I was still in high school. All my adult life I have been in this industry, so as far as changing my life, it’s all I know. I don’t have anything else to compare it to but the music industry is kind of crazy. I feel like a lot of people in the industry believe everything is based off of a hype all the time. When your hot people are always up in your face but when your going through a dry spell it’s just like oh okay. Then it is like nobody is checking for you anymore. You know what I am saying, so the industry is pretty cool but the one thing that I do love about being in the industry is being able to live my dreams, being able to accomplish things and set goals for myself and see myself actually doing some of that. Like in high school when my teacher would say “what do you want to do with your life?” or whatever and I’ll say “be a singer” and she would say “yeah right.” Like as if that was unreachable, like that couldn’t happen for me. Now it’s like I am living it, I am doing it and I am able and I continue to do it. It’s crazy because some people I came into the industry with that was bigger and more successful than say our group, they’re not even in the industry anymore. So I am just blessed to be able to have longevity in it. I feel good everyday knowing that I am consistently working, regardless of whether people see me in front of the camera or if I am behind the camera I am still doing it and doing it successfully. You know I feel like that is a big accomplishment for me.
Singersroom: What’s your favorite artist out there right now?
Kandi: Umm, my favorite artist out right now! Well of course I mean I always have to give respect to Beyonce. I love her drive and how she basically is always trying to top herself. I really like that about her. I always have respect for the songwriters. I mean singer, songwriters, like Ne-Yo. Like my favorite album so far, it came out the end of last year was Charlie Wilson’s CD. And I know he is like and old school artist but that album is jamming. R. Kelly wrote a mess of that album and to me as a songwriter I love R. Kelly. So that album is really off the chain. I’m trying to think, there is somebody else I am really feeling right now, but my mind is going blank.
Singersroom: How about any rappers?
Kandi: Umm rappers! You know what, it is kind of funny because people always hating on the down south rappers but that’s all I listen to. Guess it’s because I was born and raised here in Atlanta, so it’s dominating on the radio here for southern artist. But I like E-40 and I’m feeling T.I. I got the most respect for Ludacris, I think lyrically he’s killing everybody. I love Lil’ Wayne as well. My favorite single was that Chamillionaire single. Yea, that song was jamming, it was hot.
Singersroom: I hear little kids singing that and it trips me out.
Kandi: Yea, I mean the funny thing is I have a little girl that’s three. She be saying stuff sometimes, I be like how do you know that! And she be doing the little snap dance and all that and I be like damn these people really creating a movement. I have respect for that; anytime somebody can start a whole movement or a whole trend, you know.
Singersroom: What does Kandi do for fun?
Kandi: I’m like a Six Flags fanatic, I love going to the Fair, like every time the Fair comes to town. You know like those outdoor Fairs, I am there. Like the little Carnivals and stuff like that. I love doing stuff like that, like going to White Water Park. My friends call me “fun girl” because everything is like let’s go bowling, let’s go do this, let’s go do that. I like to do activities with a small group of people. I don’t really like being out in the club and stuff like that. I will go to the club but I am more interested in gathering a small group of friends to just kick it and play spades. I like to gamble, you know what I mean, I do stuff like that.
Singersroom: So you are definitely not a homebody?
Kandi: No, not necessarily, well you know, I chill. I love watching movies and I read books a lot. I can be by myself and I am cool. I am not one of those types of
People who need attention all the time, but I spend a lot of time with my family and stuff. I have a really big family, and all my family is from here [Atlanta]. So me, my momma and my aunt, we always get together all the time and we be doing stuff. And so you know I like family fun or a small group of friend’s activities. Like for years I had a small group of friends, we called the movie club. Every Friday we were going out. For like four, five years straight, I think. We were going to the movies and dinner every single Friday for like four years. We just fell off in the last few months.
Singersroom: So what’s your favorite candy?
Kandi: To be honest with you I don’t even eat candy. The only candy I like is Kit Kat. So I guess that would have to be my favorite.
Singersroom: They named you Kandi and you don’t like candy.
Kandi: Yeah, I never have (laughter). People always say that too. You don’t eat candy and your name Kandi.
Singersroom: So what is your favorite movie soundtrack and why?
Kandi: My favorite movie soundtrackâ¦That Boomerang soundtrack was off the chain. Remember when Toni Braxton first came out with “Love should have brought you home last night.” That “Menace II Society” was a good one and of course the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack with all those female artist. They were pretty much singing their whole hearts out. Those were the top three, I think, which one would you say?
Singersroom: I liked ‘Waiting to Exhale’, that was cool. I like that song with CeCe Winans and Whitney. That song was hot.
Singersroom: What would you say is next for Kandi; singles, movies?
Kandi: Actually I am supposed to be in a movie. We are trying to work it out now, it’s not official yet. I am trying to do it all. Right now I’m still writing with other producers to do songs for other artist. That is a major thing for me because songwriting is something I don’t ever want to stop doing. I want to write hit records for people when I get old. That is like something I can always do and still see hits forever and ever. I don’t have to always be in front of the camera and as far as my project; I’m finishing this album up. We’re sending out a couple of buzz records just to let people know that the album is in the works and that I am doing my thing again. I know the song they’re sending to the street DJ’s is the song I did with Lil’ Scrappy called ‘Keep It Gangsta.’ Then I know I am on Triville’s record and I think they’re putting that single out next. Let me see, what else is next! Well obviously, my daughter, you know putting her in all her activities this year. She’s going to be four and I want to put her in piano and other little extra-curricular stuff. So that’s definitely some of the things people won’t see, that’s important to me.
Singersroom: What’s your daughter’s name?
Kandi: Her name is Riley; she is going to be 4 on August 22nd.
Singersroom: When is your birthday?
Kandi: May 17th
—— By: Interview By Sterling Clinton