What happens when two superb talents collide? The end result is pure magic. Well, not necessarily in the case of R. Kelly and Jay-Z, but when the brilliant minds of multi-platinum singer-songwriter, Kandi Burruss, and the self-proclaimed “Georgia Peach,” female MC Rasheeda, first came together — history was destined to be made. The newfound musical duo, who call themselves, appropriately enough, Peach Candy, have set their respective solo careers aside, and recently joined forces for their, still untitled, soon-to-be-released D-Lo / Don Vito / Kandi Koated Entertainment debut. BallerStatus.com recently caught up with the singing half of the group, Miss Kandi, via AT&T…
BallerStatus.com: First things first, conceptually how did this whole Peach Candy collective come to fruition?
Kandi Burruss: Rasheeda was working on her album and I wrote a hook for it for a song called “Neva Wanna Leave.” It turned out hot, so I asked her to get on a song I was doing for my project. After that, Don Vito, who’s producing most of our stuff, suggested that we keep recording together because it was different and hot.
BallerStatus.com: Now, understandably so, the group’s moniker is derived from both of your names combined together, but do tell me exactly why you decided to call yourselves Peach Candy?
Kandi Burruss: That was Rasheeda’s idea. We didn’t know if we should just use, just, Kandi & Rasheeda, or come up with a group name for real. She said it one day and everyone liked it. We decided to spell Candy the regular way instead of how my name is actually spelled, because it just looked better that way when we wrote it on paper.
BallerStatus.com: Define for us the style of music that Peach Candy is bringing to the industry’s table, and how does it either differ and/or compare to what you all had already been doing as soloists?
Kandi Burruss: Well, it’s definitely hip-hop, very hook driven with strong concepts, very hot beats and fun lyrics. Personally, it’s very different from what I’ve done in the past because I finally get the freedom of a rapper. Meaning that in R&B music, you can say what you want, but it’s normally a little more toned down. Plus, the subjects in R&B are normally about relationships and a little bit about life in general. Rap records, they get to talk about those things, plus they can talk about stuff that makes no sense or be real cocky on a record and talk a whole lot of sh**, and no one is tripping. I think as a writer, when I wrote for myself and when I wrote for other people, I’ve always been able to come up with great concepts. But, now, I can take it to another level because I don’t have to hold back at all. Also, doing this record with Rasheeda has made me have to think more cleverly on the verses. Rappers always have to put catchphrases and flip up the flow during the verse to keep it interesting. R&B normally has a set melody for both verses that you only change a little bit. I’m not singing as hard on this album as I would on a solo R&B album, so far anyway. It’s somewhere in the middle of rapping and singing, I guess — it’s different in a lot of ways. I still like to say real sh**, but make people laugh at the same time.
BallerStatus.com: Have you titled your forthcoming Peach Candy debut yet?
Kandi Burruss: We haven’t figured out what to call it yet.
BallerStatus.com: In terms of production, who did you work with?
Kandi Burruss: Don Vito so far has done all the beats. We’re going to do some songs with a few other producers, but we haven’t yet. We’ve already recorded like maybe 15 songs to Don Vito’s tracks though.
BallerStatus.com: Any highlights, and/or special guest appearances, favorite tracks, etc., that you all would like to point out at this particular time?
Kandi Burruss: So far we got [Lil] Scrappy on “Rain at Home,” and Jazze Pha is on “Too Sexy.” To be honest, our favorites change all the time. At first we were all crazy over “Liked Him, Loved Him,” but now we all changed. Rasheeda was in love with “Too Sexy,” but now I think her favorite is “I Wish I Never.” I’m into “Man Up” and “Crazy,” but we both love “Rain At Home.” To be honest, we love all the songs we recorded but two, and they probably won’t make the album. Our goal is to have one of those classic albums where every song gives people something to talk about. Oh, and I can’t forget (our first single) “BAM.”
BallerStatus.com: When you sit down to pen your lyrics, where do you draw your inspiration(s) from? And, do you usually write by yourselves or collectively? How does a Peach Candy track even come together?
Kandi Burruss: Well, we definitely draw from personal experiences. We normally always write together. We never take the beat home and come back with the verse written. I think it comes out hotter when we are in the room together. It’s like we push each other to write better.
BallerStatus.com: Now there have been talks of your sophomore solo album for sometime now… How come that project has sort of taken a backseat to this Peach Candy release?
Kandi Burruss: Well, basically things were moving slower than I would have liked with the situation I was in, and in the meantime, Rasheeda and I linked up and just started working. It wasn’t planned, but I just got really excited about what she and I were doing because it is so different.
BallerStatus.com: Are you still gearing up for your second solo project? If so, what can you divulge or reveal about it thus far?
Kandi Burruss: To be honest with you, the solo recording has come to a complete stand still. I have some really good songs, too. Sometimes I think about just giving them away on the internet or selling them to another artist. I will do another one, but it looks like it will be after this Peach Candy record.
BallerStatus.com: Let’s discuss longevity, what has been, and will continue to be, the key to your success?
Kandi Burruss: Personally, I would definitely say that being able to reinvent myself is what keeps me going. At first it was “Kandi, who? That girl from Xscape.” Then, I started writing and it was, “Kandi Burruss, who? That girl that be writing them songs.” Last year, it was “Kandi Girl, who? That girl on the E-40 song.” Now it’s gonna be, “Kandi, the girl from Peach Candy.” The real person is Kandi, a businesswoman that can flip my style up and be in front of the camera, or behind the scenes, whichever, doesn’t matter to me as long as I’m able to have a career I love and provide for my family. That’s what I love about Rasheeda is that we both have that in common. We are both businesswomen who are on a constant grind, and we don’t care what people gotta say about us. Tough skin and the motivation to succeed is what sustain us.
BallerStatus.com: Do the two of you have any other future aspirations?
Kandi Burruss: Fa sho. Rasheeda is heavy in the real estate game. I got a few properties, too, but I’m not in it like her. Don’t let all her bubble gum sh** talking fool you. She’s very smart. I really want to open up my own kids’ funplex similar to Chuck E. Cheese. I can’t tell you the name or details yet, ’cause I don’t want nobody to jack my idea. We also want our own TV show, and various other projects we plan to put together.
BallerStatus.com: On a serious note, would it be fair to say that you all are happy with the current state of urban music?
Kandi Burruss: I am. I feel like music is forever changing. Right now people are saying ‘hip-hop is dead’ or whatever. I don’t feel that way. Right now the South has taken over hip-hop for the most part, and I’m from the South. I love it. Maybe a lot of the records from the South aren’t lyrically challenging enough for some people, but they make you wanna dance, and ain’t that what music is supposed to do? Make people dance and make you feel good.
BallerStatus.com: What would people be most surprised to know about the two of you?
Kandi Burruss: Probably that we are real family oriented type people. I like sitting over my aunt’s house all day playing cards and eating with my family. Rasheeda likes to cook. I do too, but I fell off for the past year. I haven’t been cooking like I used to.
BallerStatus.com: Besides playing cards and eating with family, what other activities do you all enjoy doing in your off or spare time?
Kandi Burruss: Spending time with our kids, (and) working on outside business. I love going to the movies. We always go out to eat, too.
BallerStatus.com: To date what has been your biggest career highlight(s)?
(Kandi politely asks me to hold on for a momen…)
Kandi Burruss: I just called Rasheeda and asked her, and she said her biggest highlight was when she had the no. 1 single in the country [with] “Do It,” and she performed it in front of like 20,000 [people] and the whole crowd was showing her love. For me, it’s hard to say just one. I can narrow it down to two though: winning a Grammy was a big moment for me, and also, getting songwriter of the year from the ASCAP Rhythm and Soul Awards was real big, too. I was the first female to get that award, so it made it extra special.
BallerStatus.com: Looking ahead, say, 5, or even 10 years from now, where do you see yourselves?
Kandi Burruss: Being extremely successful. Rasheeda wants to become a household name in the entertainment industry and a real estate mogul. As for me, I would like to win songwriter of the year again, get more into movies and television, just all around stacking more paper. Hell, in ten years, I would hope I’m married by then with a bigger family.
BallerStatus.com: As for the immediate future what’s next for you all?
Kandi Burruss: Right now we’re doing shows and putting the finishing touches on the album.
BallerStatus.com: Rasheeda has a brand new solo album, Dat Type of Gurl, out now. What is going with that release?
Kandi Burruss: The album is in stores now. She’s about to drop the next single off the album, “Type Of Girl.” It’s an independent album, so it doesn’t have the same promotions of an album with major distribution, but she’s happy with the way it’s going.
BallerStatus.com: Kandi, is there anything else that you are working on, outside of, say, this Peach Candy and/or your next solo CD?
Kandi Burruss: Well, I’m still writing for other artists. So, I have a few songs coming out that I co-wrote, and a few rap records that I’m singing on that’s coming out. The solo record is on hold for now.
BallerStatus.com: Finally, there have been talks for a long time now about a possible Xscape reunion. Will we, the masses, ever get that anxiously awaited Xscape record?
Kandi Burruss: Nah, that’s not in the plan for me.
BallerStatus.com: Do you all even stay in touch these days? If so, when was the last time you and your former group-mates actually spoke?
Kandi Burruss: I keep in touch with Tiny all the time. I don’t hear from Tamika and Tocha that often. I talked to Tiny a couple days ago. Tocha and Tamika I spoke to on the text. I think they are coming to my daughter’s party Saturday.
BallerStatus.com: Any parting words?
Kandi Burruss: Please listen out for the single “BAM,” and check out our Myspace at Myspace.com/PeachCandyGA, and spread the word.