Hailing from the late 90’s pop-R&B group Blaque, Brandi D. is ready to take on the music industry as a solo artist. Filled with anxious excitement, she recently spoke with Singersroom to discuss what caused Blaque to separate, helpful advice Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes gave her, her re-emergence onto the music scene, plus some words of inspiration to fans. With a humble heart and a big voice, Brandi D. is determined to shake off the past and regain her seat amongst music’s top-ranking performers. “I believe in my music and I believe in my talent,” she tells Singersroom. With confidence on her side, she is here to prove to the world that she can succeed as a solo artist. Are you ready?
Singersroom: What differences are you encountering being a solo artist that you had not experienced being part of a group?
Brandi D: Well I mean the whole game is completely different from when Blaque first started out. The whole Internet presence and creating a new fan base with this social media thing is just so much different from when we started out. Even with our last project the Internet didn’t really a big presence. Now having to learn how to promote myself and gain fans via Internet is a challenge for me because I didn’t come up in that. So I’d say learning that is the biggest challenge so far.
Singersroom: Now you’re going by Brandi D. why the name change?
Brandi D: The D is for my middle name Danielle. There is already a solo artist named Brandy who is amazing but we just didn’t want the confusion. Even though I’m Brandi with an “I” and she’s Brandy with a “Y”, we still wanted to have something that set us apart so we just decided to add the D at the end.
Singersroom: As you’re looking to release your first solo project, what emotions are you feeling?
Brandi D: Oh my God! I am so nervous about it â I’m feeling everything! I’m excited, nervous, I’m anxious. I can’t wait for everyone to hear the music. At the same time I’m use to having my girls next to me, I’m use to making decisions with my girls. Now it’s kind of all on me. People are looking to me to make the best project I can make and that’s a big deal. I have been really blessed to have these great producers and writers who believe in this project. So I’m excited but it’s a nervous excitement.
Singersroom: With this new album, it’s almost as if you are re-introducing yourself to music lovers. What can fans expect from you this time around?
Brandi D: Of course I’ve come from a pop group. Blaque was a pop-R&B group so that’s what I feel. The music will definitely have a pop edge but I’m going a little more R&B than Blaque did. So I would just say it’s more pop-R&B than what Blaque was.
Singersroom: I hear that you have been recording in Left-Eye’s studio that her brother manages. What lessons did she teach you that remain in the forefront of your mind today?
Brandi D: It’s really just a blessing to still have a piece of her and be able to record in the studio that she recorded her last album in and she built it from the ground up. It’s a blessing to be able to have that but you know Lisa’s thing was just to have fun with it and if you’re not having fun then there’s no point in doing it. So that’s what I keep in my mind. If I’m having fun and we’re making music then it’s a great thing and what she would have wanted.
Singersroom: How did the death of Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes impact the dynamic of the group?
Brandi D: So much. You just never know how one person can be so big in your life. You just never know. You expect people to be there and what most don’t really realize is how she was our dynamic. When Lisa passed it tore up the inside of Blaque. Thankfully we were able to move on and get in a new situation with Electra. We did ‘I’m Good’ which was on the soundtrack to Honey, so we were able to pick ourselves back up but it just really really hit us hard.
Singersroom: For those who may not be all too familiar with the entire story, what exactly happened with Blaque?
Brandi D: The great thing about Blaque is that we left on a high note. It’s not like we put out a record and it just flopped. We decided as three individuals that maybe we need to step away from each other and figure some things out. I was 14 when I signed with the girls â we were so young. We had a great experience, great songs, hit movie. We were also able to travel the world but we were kids. Now Shamari got married, Natina is a mother, I’m focusing on this. So we just said let’s step away from this and figure out who we are as individuals and maybe we’ll come back together as a group down the line. At the time we just needed to separate, grow-up, find ourselves and move on from there.
Singersroom: During your hiatus, did you find yourself constantly in the studio working on music or did you enjoy the time away from the limelight?
Brandi D: I kind of tried to enjoy the time away but this business with pull you back in [Laughs]. Once you’re in, you’re in and you can’t step away from it. I tried to do the normal life thing but I just decided I’m just not normal [Laughs] and not set out for that lifestyle so I had to get back and throw myself into my music. I’m more comfortable being able to do what I love.
Singersroom: How have you matured career-wise from when you were a teenager in the group?
Brandi D: The thing about the group was we had to make decisions. There was no one there to say anything. Yea, Lisa was there as far as the creative process but on the business end they kind of left that up to us. So naturally there were growing pains with that because we were teenagers making grown women decisions. It made us grow up a lot faster than the average teenager, which helps me now knowing that I have to make hard decisions but I’m making them on my own which is the only difference. It’s a gift and a curse because when you’re 14 or 15-years-old you’re thinking well maybe my parents or someone older should be making these decisions. Regardless, I’m kind of glad I had that experience back then because now I know how to handle certain business aspects.
Singersroom: What advice would you give to those who are aspiring to be in this industry who have seen your journey and see the hardships you have endured throughout your career?
Brandi D: Never give up. I know it’s clichÃ© [Laughs] but it’s true. If you really want it then you can’t give up on it. Keep in mind that nobody is going to work harder for you than yourself and that’s what I’m learning. If I really want this then I’m going to have to work hard and not give up. If you keep striving for it then you’re going to get it. You have to believe in the dream that you have. If you dream it then you can do it and I do â I believe in my music and I believe in my talent.
—— By: Interview By Aleta Watson