In House With Brandy: ‘Two Eleven’ Creator on Catty Women, Another Chris Brown Collab & Marriage
"We know that females are catty. We get jealous of each other very fast," Brandy said during her In House visit with The BoomBox. She's speaking on her most recent duet with Monica, "It All Belongs to Me." The song's theme is reminiscent of the original Brandy-Monica collaboration, 1998's "The Boy Is Mine." Of course, while we're on the subject of catty women, we have to bring up the fact that Brandy is starring in the new Tyler Perry movie, "The Marriage Counselor," with her ex-friend Kim Kardashian. The relationship turned sour around the time the entertainer's brother Ray J started dating the reality TV star but today, Brandy has nothing but positive words to say about her.
The film isn't the only project the 33-year-old singer-actress has in the works. Brandy's sixth studio album, Two Eleven, featuring collaborations with Frank Ocean, Ester Dean, Rico Love and Bangladesh, drops later this year. And if you like her current single, the Chris Brown-assisted "Put It Down," stay tuned for another C-Breezy collaboration. She even reveals the song's title.
Brandy dished on the new album and movie and opened up about raising a daughter, settling down with her man and how losing her idol and friend Whitney Houston has given her life a renewed sense of purpose. Read the Q&A and click through our exclusive photo shoot with the songstress below!
Before you and Monica joined forces and released "The Boy Is Mine" in 1998, the media had created this fictional rivalry between you two. Why do you think that is?
Well I think this whole entire business has been about competition for a long time. It still goes on today, and being two females around the same age -- that was [the media's] way of making us competitive. On top of that we were doing a song that was about a catfight about a boy. People see things and buy into it and it becomes this thing. It was crazy because people had already started to put us against each other and we hadn't even met yet.
Why do you think that happens so often with women in the industry, as opposed to men?
We know that females are catty. We get jealous of each other very fast. We're competitive. That's just how women are, but I try to not get into that. I just try to stay in my own lane, in my own zone, and just feel inspired by other women who are doing their thing. It's kind of insecure to be jealous of someone else. I'm competitive with myself, and as long as I stay true to me, then I don't have to worry about anyone else. No one else can be me, and I can't be anyone else.
Why did you and Monica decide to get back together 14 years later and record another duet, "It All Belongs to Me"?
I think our fans have really been pressuring us to get back in the studio. I've seen so many tweets about us getting back in the studio and Monica had this song that she was going to do on her own and she called me up and said, "Hey, do you want to do the duet now?" And I said, "Of course." It was a great song, Rico Love produced it and we went to Miami to record it.
It's funny how both of your duets together have this possession theme and are about marking your territory.
[Laughs] My dad said the same thing! He said, "First it was the boy is mine, now the stuff is mine!"
There have been reports that you and Monica are planning a co-headlining tour together.
We're talking, but there's nothing definite yet. Honestly, I'm so focused on Two Eleven and really coming out with a project that I feel like my fans have been waiting for for a long time. I just want to make sure they get what they deserve. So that's where my focus is, and if it leads to working with Monica again in the future, fine, if not, my music is what I'm here for. It's my purpose.
See Photos of Brandy's In House Visit With The BoomBox
How do you feel about the shift in R&B, as more and more of the genre's artists put out pop, house and dance-leaning music?
I think art is art. Music is music. We put things into categories, but if it makes you feel good, then you should support it. I think it's great to be a versatile artist. I love that. Two Eleven is true to me. There's something for everybody on this album. Music is free, there are no rules.
Can you confirm any of the rumors about the big-name collaborations on the album?
There's a rumor about Chris Brown and he did write a great song for the album, he and his artist Seven. My brother Ray J heard it last night and he called me and said, "B, you are back with this song!" and he just went on and on. Chris Brown wrote such a beautiful song and it was so me that it was as if I had wrote it myself. It's called "Slower."
What is the significance of the album title?
"Two eleven" [Feb. 11] is the day I was born, and I was working with a lot of titles in the beginning like rebirth, reinvention, resurrection -- all of these things to try and describe me as an evolved artist. Two Eleven represents that and it's also a dedication to me losing my idol, but gaining her as an angel on that day. With Whitney [Houston] passing on that day, it just really made me feel that from here on I have to live my life with purpose, and it just brought so much significance to Feb. 11.
You were very close with Whitney. How do you feel about the talks about a biopic about her life and the rumors about who might portray her if the film were to come into fruition?
Honestly, I think it's a little bit too soon to do a biopic of her life. Everybody needs to chill out right now. It's way too soon to really tell the true story, but I was very close to Whitney, and it was always my dream to play her. While she was alive in the physical, I talked to her about it all the time. "Nobody else can play you but me! I gotta do it! Can you just sign off?" I would tell her that all the time and she would just laugh and say, "Girl, I'm too young to have a movie about me yet!" So that was our little joke, but if it's meant to be, it will happen. If not, when it does happen I feel like it's going to be great and people are going to be inspired, and I'm going to be first in line to buy a ticket and go see it.
You're in Tyler Perry's new movie "The Marriage Counselor," as is your former friend Kim Kardashian. Your friendship kind of deteriorated after she started dating your brother Ray J, so what was it like making a movie with her now?
We were friends, yes, but I didn't work with her! It was a bummer because I was hoping to see her and rekindle our friendship, but we didn't have any scenes together. But that wasn't on purpose! I read the script before I was hired for the movie and I could see her character and my character didn't have any scenes together. But I'm sure she did great, and I'll see her at the premiere and say hi.
Tell us about your character in the film.
Well, it's my first movie since I was 17, so it was time. My character is Melinda, and she's running from a very troubled past. This girl is traumatized and you'll find out why. And she starts to confront different things that have happened in her life. It's a great movie about being married to the right person and how people go through different things in relationships from domestic violence to people not communicating.
Speaking of "The Marriage Counselor," is marriage on the horizon for you?
Yes! It's on the radar for me and I told him [my boyfriend, an A&R named Ryan], "Babe, I want to get married but I think it's hot in my interviews if I say you're my boyfriend still!" I like the way that sounds! I want a ring and everything, but it just sounds younger to call him my boyfriend. He didn't like that [laughs], but I'm totally ready. I want to get married. I know I'm 33, but I like the feeling of forever young. My daughter keeps me young, she keeps me current.
How has raising a daughter changed your approach to men and relationships?
Being a mother changes your entire perspective in life, because you have to lead by example. I just want to be the type of woman that I want my daughter to grow up to be like. When you start dating someone and you start to get serious about them, you have to look at the person that they are not only for you, but for the example that they're going to set for your child. And my boyfriend is so great with her. She's so cute with him.
Watch Brandy's "It All Belongs to Me" Video Feat. Monica