Honey: Let’s jump right into the Real Housewives of Atlanta show. How did you first become apart of the show?
Kandi: I was supposed to be on that show with Tiny and Toya but things didn’t work out with the producer of the show, so a week after I found out I wasn’t going to be a part of their show, the people from [Bravo] reached out to me. I was like maybe it was meant for me to do this show instead. It just went from there.
Ok, cool. I was going to ask were you ever involved in that series (Tiny & Toya) and what was the reason behind your part getting scrapped and them introducing Toya?
Well it was four of us actually. At first it was a young lady name Joy, which is Lyfe Jennings ex-fiancé, Toya, Me and Tiny. Joy actually gets into it with a producer. I don’t know. I didn’t have any issues with them but I guess he felt like it would be better if it was just Tiny and Toya. I have no idea. We were putting that together for about two months or something. Tiny and I are friends and we have been friends for forever. I was like “Go ahead do your thing I will support what ever you do.” But the following week the people called me from the Housewives, so I was like everything happens for a reason.
While we are on the subject of Tiny and Toya, did you ever get a chance to watch it?
I did watch the first episode. Yesterday was Tiny’s birthday and I actually went to her birthday party and I got there late so I missed the second episode but I TiVo’d it so I’m going to watch it today.
What did you think about it?
I thought it was pretty good. I think it’s better than what people were expecting. I don’t know what people really thought it was going to be because everybody was hating in the beginning but I think it’s nice to get to know more about them personally. Obviously Toya is new to everybody but for Tiny, [viewers] are getting to know about her father and her mom and behind the scenes. It’s always cool just to see it.
Were you a fan of the Housewives show or franchise? Did you watch any of them before they offered you a spot on the show?
Yeah, I was a big fan of the Atlanta Housewives last year. I never missed it. I TiVo’d them. I loved the New Jersey ones. I watched all of their episodes. I was late catching on to the OC but when I did catch on to them I was like “Oh this is pretty cool.”
The OC is kind of wack.
I missed that whole last season, but whatever the season was before Atlanta started I watched it. And that’s when I was like “I have to see this Atlanta housewives.” But I never got into the New York housewives, although I heard they were supposed to be pretty good with this past season but I didn’t watch it.
I actually prefer the New York housewives over the OC Housewives.
Well you know what happened with me, I watched the first season. The first couple of episodes I was like ‘this is corny,’ and I think a lot of people said that but they stepped it up on the second season.
Bethenny Frankel of the New York franchise made a comment that The Real Housewives of Atlanta is just too ghetto.
Isn’t that the one that’s the single chick who has no man and now she’s popular because of the housewives and nobody never knew anything about her before?
Yeah, that’s her.
Right ok, I’m with you now.
So what do you think about that comment?
I don’t think that the girls are ghetto. I think that all of the Housewives franchise have their share of drama and it’s relative to wherever they’re from and how they carry on. Now they have a lot of cattiness going on in New York and a lot of cattiness going on with the OC. With ours we’re a little more about it, we’re not always talking so sometimes there’s a little action going on. So if that’s what she means by ghetto, then I guess. I don’t really care what she thinks. If it wasn’t for The Real Housewives of New York, who cares about her? Who said her opinion was important?
Before filming or being introduced as a cast member to the show, did you know any of the Housewives of the show?
I somewhat knew Lisa. She was cool with Tiny because of some movie they did together. When I did Tiny’s baby shower [for] Major, I invited Lisa. I got to know her then.
That’s cool. Did your perception of any of the Housewives change once your joined the show?
I think my perception changed about everybody. Watching it as a fan you think a certain way. I’m sure you’ve seen the commercials with me and Nene bumping heads. When I was watching the show last year I was a big fan of Nene. As far as the other girls, say for instance Sheree, I didn’t know Sheree personally. I had met her before a couple times in Atlanta because she had a store here and I just felt like she was kind of funny acting, and then on the show it didn’t help to watch her on the show and how they portray her on the show. But after I got to know her personally after we started doing the show together I was like really she’s not as bad as they try to make her out to be. So I definitely got a better view of her and I see her in a better light now. I actually like Kim; nobody else on the show likes Kim but me.
I saw photos of you two on V103 so I assumed that you are friends.
Yeah, we’re cool. We actually did the radio show because it was an event, signing autographs Saturday and Sheree didn’t get to make it to the morning show. Kim is one of those people that will reach out to you, check on you, see how you’re doing. She’s one of those people that’s very fun, very caring personality, like little simple stuff that you will never see on the show. She remembers everybody’s name that’s behind the scenes taping the show. To me that says a lot about a person.
What’s the drama between you and Nene? Did you guys immediately get off on the wrong foot?
No, the blow up was not immediate. In the beginning she was cool and I thought she was funny. But I definitely noticed that she would be making little comments here and there but I was like ‘hold up is she trying to come for me.’ I didn’t want to go too hard on her in the beginning because I was thinking ’ok well I’m just getting to know her, maybe she’s just being funny.’ I know they show us in the commercial when we’re at the nail salon and she saying something like “you think I’m proper or something” because to me sometimes she does come off a little phony. To me, she did me dirty over and over again, so finally toward the end when the blow up happened, it wasn’t even what she said to me. It was how she was talking to me. She definitely has a bully type of personality and you see that on how she acted in the past.
With the whole Kim situation?
Yeah, she talks crazy to Kim on the regular and they actually got into it. They had an altercation but you won’t be able to see all that because the cameras weren’t ready when it went down.
Damn you, Bravo.
You’ll hear us talking about it. I’m not passive like that. You’re not going to talk to me crazy. It’s going to go to the next level if you continue to be talking to me like that. That’s why I went there, and to be honest with you I never had plans of showing out or acting crazy on the show, that was never my intention but at the same time I’m not going to let you play me in front of all these people. Are you out of your mind? It’s not like we’re holding grudges but we’re not trying to be friends either. We have to be cordial and work together because we have press to do and stuff like that but your not just going to catch us hanging out, just me and her.
You mentioned that you enjoyed watching Nene on the first season of The Real Housewives of Atlanta. How does it feel to be a fan hers and it all change once you joined the show?
I just thought that was kind of crazy. I knew that she had a larger than life personality, and I loved that watching it. But when it’s directed at you, you’re not feeling it. It totally changes the whole thing. I started seeing things behind the scenes that I was just like ‘Whoa that isn’t what I thought it would be in person.’ She’s cool. I think she purposely stirs it up for the cameras too.
So let me ask you what’s your story on the show? Do we see you recording your album?
There’s multiple things going on with me on the show. You’ll definitely see me recording my album and putting that together. I’m newly engaged so you’ll see us trying to come up with plans for the wedding, but then you’ll see the battle that going on between him and my mom because my mom is not feeling it. That’s definitely going to be interesting — and the fact that he has a lot of kids, so that’s part of my story too. Also I do help Kim out, so you’ll see that. You know, just me handling business being a businesswoman. You’ll see me trying to decide on whether I’m going to try to do my album through a major label or if it’s going to be independent.
In the first season Kim received a lot of backlash for wanting to release an album when the tapes showed she couldn’t sing, I know that’s your home girl but…
No, I watched the show I know what you mean. I seen the show last year. Definitely when I watched it I was like she can’t be for real.
That’s what a lot of people thought. So how are you helping her? As far as her singing career?
Yeah, she came to me when I first met her on the show and talked to me about possibly working with her. Now in the beginning my credibility was on the line too. But at the same time I was like first of all you have to let me change up your sound. This whole country thing… There’s a lot of people in the music business who are not the strongest singers but if you get them with the right producers, the right writers, you can make something happen, you still can make a hit.
So how is it coming out? Is it something that you’re scrapping or do you plan to roll with it?
We played a couple of her song on the air and a few people with positive things to say and a lot of people were hitting me up on twitter saying that they really like the song and it was good that I helped her.
Ok that’s cool and this is a track that you wrote for her?
Well basically I took the idea of the record she had last year “Tardy for the Party,” and totally flipped it, the only thing that’s the same is the title because the rest is totally different, the music is totally changed, it’s not even country anymore to be honest with you.
Since you’re writing for her, can we expect a duet from you two?
No, it’s not a duet. I did do some backgrounds on her song. I do backgrounds on a lot of the songs I write for other people so it’s nothing special. Please understand this song is all about Kim. It’s not me at all really. I mean as far as the writing and the co-production goes I had my boy Don Vito basically re-produce the record and help me take it to the next level. It’s a dance record now.
You’re currently engaged. Tell me little bit about your fiancé, AJ.
He’s cool. He’s AJ. Everybody wants to talk about the fact that he has six kids.
Who doesn’t have six kids these days, Kandi?
They just went hard on the blogs. I felt sorry for him at first, but he’s cool now. He does have dealings in the music industry but that’s not his main job. He’s had a production company and he’s had artist signed to different labels before and stuff like that, but he does have businesses outside of music and he’s really just a working man. So he’s real cool, he’s good to my daughter, my mother cant stand him and it honestly has put tension on the relationship. My drama has been ongoing since the show stopped taping, so you know we’re just trying to work things out.
Describe your relationship with your mother.
My mother and I are extremely close. My brother passed away when I was in high school so I think after that she just latched on to me really tight so she’s overly protective of me. Sometimes she gets to involved my relationships and it does cause a problem but…
Is AJ comfortable taping for the show?
He was ok with the idea when it first came to me but after I signed the paperwork and it hit the blogs and everybody kind of tore him up on the blogs he was like ‘I wish you would’ve never signed on,’ and then it just went haywire. I mean he was cool.
How do you handle all the negative things that they say about you and you man on the blogs? It’s mainly Sandra Rose if you ask me.
Oh, what? Sandra Rose went hard on us. And I just thought it was so crazy because I always thought I was cool with her, I’ve known her before she started the blog and never had any issues but it just seems like all of a sudden she’s just so against me or against AJ, I just thought that was crazy. But I used it for my album. There’s this song I did with Jazze Pha called “It must be good,” because I was reading some of the comments that people were saying on the blogs and it was like ‘He has six kids. He’s a scrub. He’s this; he’s that. The sex must be good for her to want to stay with him,’ so I was like ‘That’s a good concept, it must be good.’ So in the song I named every thing that people were saying about him and the hook is saying “It must be good.” That’s all I do, I take stuff that happens in my life and I make records out of it. I think I going to call my album B.L.O.G.
What does each letter stand for?
To me when I first came up with it, it was Bitches Love Online Gossip, but I don’t know if that’s too harsh for people.
So are you ever defeated by the things they say?
That first day or two I was like man, nobody wants to go somewhere and have them asking me about this mess, but then I get over stuff real quick. I chose to be a part of the show so I have to be willing to deal with what comes with it.
Lets’ talk about the album now. Who are you working with on the project?
Rick Ross is on the album. Gucci mane is on the album. Rasheeda is on the album. Tiny is going to be on the album. And there’s going to be a lot of anthems on the album. Drama Boy did a few of the tracks, Jazze Pha, Black Elvis who did “Ego” for Beyoncé. The song that me and Tiny wrote a long time a go, we’re revamping it. It’s called “Superwoman.” It’s basically a single mom’s anthem. I did a song called “Leroy Jones.” It’s about my step dad, but it’s basically saying I want a man like Leroy Jones that can love my child like his own. It’s a lot of personal stuff, but at the same time it’s going to be a lot of hot club records and stuff like that. I’m working with Fantasia on her new album that she’s working on hopefully, and I worked with T-Pain’s group Sophia Fresh.
When you write a song, how do you decide if you want to keep it for yourself or if you’ll sell it to another artist? Does the money decide that for you?
Sometimes I do things that I feel like only I could’ve done this record. I will give up a record if it’s the right artist and I think that it’s going to really be favorable financially and as far as building my reputation as a writer. You can’t keep every hot record for yourself.
So what’s the direction of the album?
It’s urban cross over. I’ll definitely say it has some rap tracks that I sing over and it’s a lot of bump. There is going to be a couple of ballads. There’s not going to be to many fast song on there, definitely not that.
You mentioned your daughter earlier so how many children do you have.
One. Her name is Riley. She’s six but she’ll be seven next month.
Who’s your baby daddy? Do we know him?
I don’t really talk about him much. He doesn’t really talk about me neither. It’s Block from Block Entertainment.
Shifting gears a little bit, lets talk about Xscape. Will we see a reunion anytime soon?
What did you ladies break up?
The real reason why we broke up — because I heard one of my group members tried to put some bullshit out on me — is because one of our group members Tasha, the oldest, wanted to go solo. While we were in negotiating for our third album, she let them know they had to agree to let her do a solo project. We weren’t getting along that great anyway but that really just added extra tension because the whole time we were recording the third album we knew that she was going to be breaking off to do her solo thing.
Since the dawn of girl groups, it seems like there hasn’t been a girl group that’s gone with out breaking up. What does it take for female groups to have longevity and last as a girl group?
I don’t know. I have my theories on why girl groups can’t stay together. I think it’s definitely outside influences that play a big part into it. A lot of times if men are involved, egos, dreams on going solo, insecurities… It’s a lot.
Obviously you’re still cool with Tiny from Xscape. Are you cool with the other girls in the group?
No. I haven’t talked to them in God knows how long.
During the album making process do you try not to listen to people who are in the same lane as you, just so that their sound doesn’t rub off on you and what you bring to the table is authentic and strictly who you are?
I personally think that my lyrics may be a little bit more edgier than most, because I don’t really be caring about what I say. But I did say I was going to keep this album clean and not curse. I try to make my songs a lot more personal, like what a rapper would do in the verses.
So who inspired you growing up?
Growing up I used to love Stephanie Mills and I used to love En Vogue. When our group first started out, one of the things that made Jermaine want to sign us is that we did an En Vogue a cappella to a beat box on BET’s Teen Summit.
That’s cool, so what are you listening to now?
Lately, I’ve been listening mostly to my self and most of the stuff that I’ve been writing. I like to listen to the radio a lot to know what’s going on, what’s being played. I do like Drake. I downloaded his mix tape. I listen to a lot of tracks because I’m writing all the time.
So is there anyone you would like to have on your album that isn’t on there yet?
If anything I probably would like to get a song that’s produced by Jermaine. But I don’t want to get too many guest appearances. So far having Rick Ross, Gucci Mane, Rasheeda on the album, and Tiny, that’s four features right there. I don’t want too many.
So who haven’t worked with yet that you would like to?
I always wanted to work with Janet Jackson. I almost had the opportunity once but it didn’t come through. I really want to do some country music for some people, like Shania Twain and Faith Hill.
So why didn’t you take that route with Kim?
Kim loves music, but she’s not the strongest vocalist. Most country artists are a little bit stronger vocally than other genres of music. They don’t do a lot of auto-tune. It’s pretty simple. I felt like she would be better off if she was in a lane where it’s not so much where people can criticize her vocals all the time. Where it was more about the record and just more fun.
So you mentioned auto-tune, with Jay-Z dropping “D.O.A.” What’s your take on auto-tune?
I can care less. Now sometimes I definitely feel like too many people are trying to do the same thing
That’s cool. So is there anything else in life that you want to conquer that you haven’t done yet?
I’ve always wanted to act. Growing up I wanted to act more than I wanted to sing, but singing took off quicker. And then there’s this book thing that I’m doing.
Yeah, it’s not a tell all or anything like that. And I’ve always wanted to do Broadway.
That would be nice to see.
Yeah, that was like a dream. When the group first came out I use to be in the Youth Ensemble of Atlanta and we used to do a lot of musicals and stuff like that and that was like my thing.
What actresses do you look up to?
Honestly, and I know this is going to sound crazy because she doesn’t do a lot of movies but I really love Oprah. I love how she juggles her career, to me she’s just as good as an actress as she is as a businesswoman and everything that she’s doing. So I would have to say because I have so many things going on that I want to be just as strong as an actress or people to be touched by my role. Everybody can go back and quote he in The Color Purple, that means that she really did that, she played that role. So that’s why I have to say I look up to her.
What girl group out right now do you think is killing it as the new “it” girl group?
We already mentioned Sophia Fresh and I got to give it to them. They’re some good performers, vocally they’re great, and they just got a nice look too, so I think they’re unique. I think definitely with the label getting behind them, I think they can take it to another level and they really want it bad. Some people get deals and they think they’re already there but they’re still sweet, they have great personalities. I really hope that they make it and do well.