Interview & Review

By Marcus A. Williams Special to the AFRO

(December 11, 2008) -Fresh off of a three hour flight from Nashville, Tenn. to Boston, Mass., former pop / R&B superstar Brandy is prepping for yet another promo concert for her comeback album Human.

A hectic night of traveling, interviews and concerts has been the story of Brandy’s life since she first appeared on the music scene with hits like “I Wanna Be Down” and “Best Friend” in 1994.
But four years ago it all came to a screeching halt as the former teen idol’s career and life spiraled out of control.

After cutting ties with Atlantic Records, the label that launched her career, ending an engagement with New York Knicks swingman Quentin Richardson and being involved in a fatal car crash in December 2006, rock-bottom seemed like the only destination for this fading pop princess.

However, the songbird says all she needed was a rejuvenation period.

“During my four years off I didn’t know what I wanted to do really, I was unsure of whether or not my connection with music was even solid enough to return. I just took the time to create a foundation within myself, spend time with my daughter and just do what I wanted to do,” says Brandy. “In that time I found a lot of different talents, I didn’t know I could write poetry or take really cool pictures – I needed that time to discover certain things about myself.”

The now 29-year-old Brandy, whom many argue is one of the best vocalists and overall talents of her generation, now questions whether the industry’s connection with music is strong enough for quality, gimmick-free songs.

“I know a lot of people warned me about how much ‘the business has changed’ but I am real and I am true to music and I feel like there is a place for me, and I owe it to the people who love me and love my music to share my gift,” says Brandy. “The interesting thing is I can be just as commercial as anybody else – not so much of a gimmick but I can be commercial too, man.”

This time around Brandy has stiff competition from heavy-hitters like Beyonce, Brittney Spears and industry newcomer Taylor Swift. So, with the help of her new label, Epic Records, she has cranked her “commercial” side into high gear.

“I am performing a lot this time around. I think performing your songs live is what people really want, it makes people like your songs more and want to see what else you have on your album,” says Brandy. “I think giving your all on stage is really important.”

Performing is an understatement, over the last few months Brandy has been amazing audiences from coast-to-coast, like she did on the “Tyra Banks Show” where she dropped down to her knees and sung to her heart’s content as she performed her lead single, “Right Here (Departed)”.

But fair warning, before pressing “play” on the CD player or Ipod, be prepared to go through 15 tracks of self reflection. A box of tissues and a candle or two might come in handy as well.

“I think there are songs that people my age can relate to and there are songs for young girls with self-esteem issues to connect with as well,” says Brandy. “The album is about being a human being. We’re going to go up and you’re going to go down, but we all are created from the same hand. There is purity in all of us and as long as we keep that in mind we will be OK.”

Standout cuts on the album are, “Camouflage,” where she boasts about not changing who she is or giving half of herself and “Fall,” where the artist shares her innermost insecurities about life and love. The title track “Human,” a powerful, tear-jerking ballad about forgiveness and personal flaws, is also a winner. Human, Brandy’s fifth studio album, also includes a raw a cappella salutation to fans.

“These flaws I’ve got, they’re apart of who I am – take me or not, ‘cause I finally understand. I’m so done trying to be everything you want – I had to stop ‘cause baby it ain’t worth it if I gotta camouflage,” sings Brandy on Human.

One Response to “ Interview & Review”
  1. mil says:

    Great article! I loved it.

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