Miss Kandi Burruss, the Real Housewives of Atlanta star, and former Xscape member is no stranger to the music and entertainment industry.
The songwriter behind TLC’s “No Scrubs”, and Destiny’s Child’s “Bug A Boo” , “Bills, Bills, Bills” was the first African American to win ASCAP’s songwriter of the year award back in 2000. Now, the singer turned reality tv star decided to tackle a Gospel tune (in which sparked a world of controversy) and called on Gospel force Marvin Sapp to help her out.
The Gospel Guru recently caught up with the stunning star, who dished on the success of her Gospel record, the controversy surrounding it, and much more…
The Gospel Guru: First, let me say congrats on the success of your single “Stay Prayed Up”! Were you at all surprised?
Kandi: Um. Well I prayed for it, I hoped for it…lol. I mean I don’t know if I thought it would happen that quickly, but it’s something you hope for…You hope that people will like the music. So I was surprised that it happened so quickly, but I hoped for it.
The Gospel Guru: It’s no secret that you sparked controversy and received a lot of controversy from doing this gospel record, how are you dealing with that?
Kandi: Well, at first I was a little…I don’t know…I think I was expecting the criticism but when It came so strong I didn’t expect it to come like that! Basically when I first told my friends that I was gonna do a gospel song they all kinda laughed and chuckled to themselves. But then when they heard the song, and saw how it was more of a testimony of me and what I was going through, and what gets me past the hard times and dealing with stuff they were like ok I get it now. Prior to hearing it people close to me where like nobody’s gonna want to hear that from you. But for me it was more of the thing of… I felt like ok back in the 90’s a lot of people who had an R&B album had a gospel song on it. Our first Xscape album had “Is My Living In Vain” on it. I wasn’t expecting people to come sooo hard…people on twitter can say whatever. It’s not like how it used to be when I first came into the industry…now people have direct contact to you. Some of the things people said I was like whoah they kinda hit below the belt a little bit. But it is what it is.
The Gospel Guru: Do you have plans to do an entire gospel project?
Kandi: No, I was just planning to have the one song on the album that I was currently working on. I don’t think people are ready for something like that from someone like myself. What I find is they were fine and accepting of the fact that I talk about sex, and have Kandi Koated nights, but when I say that I pray all of a sudden everybody is offended. So I don’t think people would be so open to that unless I was to totally change my life around over night. And I think that for most people like myself, just everyday people… you know I’m definitely not the holier than thou type, I’m more of…what my Grandma used to call “worldly”…lol. So that’s not gonna happen overnight ,unless I start lying about who I am. I would never lie about who I am–I’m very honest, open, upfront and I think that’s part of the problem. In the church sometimes people don’t say nothing about you having sex as long as you don’t let everybody know you having sex. So it’s like if everything is hush hush then it’s ok, but as soon as it comes out it’s oooh you’re…whatever.
The Gospel Guru: What gospel artists did you listen to growing up?
Kandi: Um, growing up I didn’t listen to a lot of gospel growing up, to be honest with you. Because the church I went to it was more so hymns…we didn’t do a lot of gospel unless it was a big program that Sunday. But growing up I was exposed to The Clark Sisters early, I had their album I remember replaying it over and over again. It was a few other artists…a family member of mine had dreams of being a gospel artists and she had some of her own original songs that I had learned as a kid. I remember when I was really little I was singing her songs around my Grandmother one day, and my grandmother was like you need to be the one trying to sing instead of her…lol. I was probably 8 or 9 then, It was funny.
The Gospel Guru: You’ve already had the pleasure of working with Marvin Sapp, who are some other gospel artists that you’d like to collaborate with?
Kandi: Well, I would love to write for a lot of people… I love Mary Mary. Our group and their group started on Columbia Records around the same time, we were there a little bit earlier than them but we were still there when they started and I remember they were always cool. I would love to work with them because I love their voices… Um. Yolanda Adams of course… people like that. I’m more into contemporary gospel than traditional.
The Gospel Guru: You’re one of the few in the music and entertainment industry that has truly experienced longevity. What advice would you give to an aspiring artist or aspiring entrepreneur?
Kandi: I’ll say that you have to wear many different hats. For me, I think the thing that helps me last is that I’m ok with not always being in the front as far as being behind the mic. I’m ok with playing behind the scenes, writing songs, or producing..etc. So I think that as long as you stay in the game you’re aways able to make more things happen and you gain more respect from your peers. When people just only focus on being an artist sometimes…they’re a couple that continue to prevail, but a lot of times they eventually die out. You can do so many different things… For instance somebody may not like my voice, but they love the songs I write for other people or they may like the show that I’m on…etc. When they start respecting you for the other thing that they like they pay attention to other stuff you’re doing as well. So I think that helps me stay out there because I wear a lot of different hats.
Click the above artwork to purchase Kandi‘s new single “Stay Prayed Up” ft. Marvin Sapp.