When it comes to the entire Real Housewives franchise, there's only one REAL singer: Kandi Burress, a former member of Jermaine Dupri-produced '90s girl group, Xscape (one of my favorites! Remember this one?)
I recently caught up with the sassy single mother, 34, to talk about her second solo CD, Kandi Koated (out now) -- plus, behind-the-scenes dish such as her real thoughts on "Tardy For The Party," the surprise dance hit she penned for co-star Kim Zolciak!
UsMagazine.com: I've been listening to Kandi Koated a little bit and love it. It has a lot of the old Xscape sound to it.
Kandi Burress: That was on purpose.
US: It's a little different than "Fly Above," which was on the EP. So what did you try to do differently with this from the EP?
KB: I wanted it to be a real hot R&B album -- no borderline pop, borderline this, borderline that. So what I thought about was my favorite time in R&B, which of course was the Xscape era. I really wanted to give people all new songs, and songs that I kept, like "Fly Above," because I feel like it's such an uplifting, inspirational record.
US: And "I Just Know," right?
KB: Yes. "I Just Know" is such a beautiful ballad, and also one of the songs that was inspired by my relationship with AJ when we were together, so I decided to use it.
US: Right, that song came after the whole AJ tragedy, but how did that shape this? There's a lot of hopeful songs about love, too.
KB: This album, isn't just about my relationship with him -- it's about finding love, having love, losing love, and getting it back again. I wrote that song right after AJ and I broke up before he passed. But it was after he passed that I really felt the lyrics even more.
US: Which leads me to ask: Are you seeing anyone now, or what's going on? Have you found someone?
KB: Yeah, I'm dating.
US: Just dating around or is there one person?
KB: One person right now, but it's not an official relationship.
US: Anybody famous?
KB: Not at all. (Laughs)
US: Recently on the show you were preparing this tour with Kim. Did that tour ever happen?
KB: Yes, it did. We did three cities: Charlotte, Miami, and Orlando.
US: And what was that like?
KB: The performances were cool. Being on the tour bus together 24/7 was interesting. (Laughs)
US: Why, what happened? Were there wigs everywhere?
KB: Well, there's just a lot of energy with her and NeNe. NeNe ended up joining us from Orlando to Miami, and then all hell broke loose. I can't tell you any more than that.
US: A lot of people say that you're the brains behind the whole Kim phenomenon, and that she's not serious. What do you think? And also, do you think it tarnishes your reputation? She's not the greatest singer, let's admit it.
KB: Honestly, she may not be the greatest singer, but everybody loved the song "Tardy for the Party." So that has to say something good on my part. Now, as far as Kim is concerned, I think that she's just having fun. In her mind I feel that she really does feel that she's a singer.
US: Do you think that she takes herself seriously?
KB: No, that's what I'm saying, I think she just does it for fun. It's fun for her.
US: And you're having fun with it too, obviously.
KB: I just feel like I'm done with that, like I've done two songs with her and I'm good.
US: When she's singing, and you're in the studio with her, is it hard not to laugh?
KB: I don't know what I'm thinking, honestly. Sometimes I may get a little frustrated because of how long it takes. I try to be patient, but I'm really not that great with my patience. Sometimes I think I just get frustrated.
US: Do you think you're going to continue doing the series?
KB: I am just going to take it one year at a time. So far, I do believe that I will do one more year, but for me it's just like, 'What will be my motivation?' They don't pay enough so my motivation is not really that high. (Laughs)
US: Why does Phaedra still not own up to the fact that she got pregnant before she got married?
KB: She doesn't say that to anybody! (Laughs) To be honest with you, I just let it go because for me it wasn't that serious anyway. If she doesn't want to discuss it and whatever reason she wants to give, that's her business.
US: By the way, we wanted to know how did you patch things up with NeNe?
KB: I'm one of those types of people who just sits back to see how someone is going to act towards me. She started being cool and cordial, so I was cool and cordial.
US: How'd you think her plastic surgery came out that she had on the show?
KB: It took me a minute to get used to it, but it's cool. She likes it, I love it. If that's what she wants to do, then so be it.
US: Have you ever seen Kim's nursing license?
KB: No, I never asked her. She did show us her pager.
US: Oh, she did? Good. And you're excited for her having a baby too, right?
KB: Oh, most definitely.
US: Were you surprised?
KB: When I first found out about it, yeah. I was definitely surprised that she wanted to have a baby with him so soon. They haven't been dating that long, but it is what it is. When you're having sex, it's a possibility.
US: Is it hard for you dating now, with the show and the notoriety from your music career? How do you find a date? You can't just go to Match.com!
KB: Even since I was a teenager, it's always weird meeting people because they always feel like they know me or know who I am before they actually know me. That annoys the shit outta me. I want to be able to meet somebody on a clean slate.
US: Was it hard to jump back into it after the whole AJ thing?
KB: Well, we had broken up a few months before his passing, and he and I both were dating other people. After he passed, I stopped hanging out with the one person I was seeing. I really haven't been dating. I probably went out with two people since.