Music News

"Housewives" star Kandi reboots singing career

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - Kandi Burruss, former Xscape member and co-writer of such hits as TLC’s “No Scrubs” and Destiny’s Child’s “Bills, Bills, Bills,” has returned to the charts with the digital single “Leave U.”

Debuting at No. 89 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, the October 5 release is the lead single from the singer-songwriter’s second solo album, “Kandi Koated” (Kandi Koated/Asylum/Warner Bros.), due December 14.

During the past several years, Kandi -- who goes by the single-name moniker -- attempted to release a follow-up to her pop-leaning Columbia solo debut, 2000’s “Hey Kandi ...” But the project was put on hold. Then, just as she decided to record her own independent album, Kandi was asked to join the 2009 second-season cast of Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Atlanta.” That same year, she released the digital EP “Fly Above,” catching the attention of Asylum/Warner Bros.

“The show definitely helped as far as being in a position to do a solo album; it’s a big infomercial,” Kandi says with a laugh. “Having not done an album in so long and wondering who’s going to be interested in what you’re doing can be discouraging. But you never know what’s going to fall into your lap.”

Comprising midtempos and ballads influenced by the timeless R&B that was Xscape’s hallmark, “Kandi Koated” revolves around the concept of life’s relationships. In addition to Jazze Pha, who produced “Leave U,” the album features production by Ne-Yo (“Me and You,” which interpolates OutKast’s “Elevators”), Bryan-Michael Cox (“Give It to You”) and the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League (“I Want You”). Fellow Xscape alumna Tameka “Tiny” Cottle is featured on “Superwoman.”

“It’s for every woman who is doing whatever she has to do to take care of her kids,” Kandi says of that song. “It’s also a little taste of Xscape from a long time ago.”

Notching its first No. 1 R&B (and No. 2 pop) hit in 1993 with “Just Kickin’ It,” the group -- also featuring sisters LaTocha and Tamika Scott -- scored several more hits, including “Understanding” and “Who Can I Run To?” Before disbanding, Xscape released three top 10, multiplatinum-selling R&B albums, ending with 1998’s “Traces of My Lipstick.” After co-writing “No Scrubs” with Cottle, Kandi has penned songs for Pink, Usher and Mariah Carey.

The Grammy Award-winning artist will be promoting her new single and album during Fantasia’s Back to Me tour. The 30-city trek, whose lineup includes Eric Benet, begins November 4 in Richmond, Va., and ends January 1, 2011, in St. Louis. While on the road, Kandi -- celebrating the one-year anniversary of her Atlanta boutique, TAGS -- will continue hosting her Ustream TV show, “Kandi Koated Nights,” and writing her weekly blog for Interactive One’s Hello Beautiful website.

“The goal with ‘Kandi Koated’ was to make an album that people will play all the way through,” Kandi says. “As a songwriter, I don’t want to hear people say there are only one or two hot songs and everything else is just ‘eh.’ I’ve waited so long to come back that I had to give people an album worth my coming back. Otherwise, what would be the point?”