MTV NEWS: Is this new record going to be a drastic change from what people know of Brandy?
BRANDY: No, I don’t think it’s going to be a big, huge, drastic change. I’m just a little bit more mature than I was when I first came out — of course I would be. I’m talking about different things. I’m not talking about, “Baby you’re so fine,” and ”I Wanna Be Down” I’m talking about things like, ”The Boy Is Mine” , period, leave him alone, that’s just the way it’s going to be. Like I have a song called “Never Say Never,” and it’s about if we never say never we can be together forever. It’s just talking about more things that are on a different level.
MTV NEWS: It seems like the lyrics are a little more self-assured or sassier.
BRANDY: Yeah, it’s really sassy. Like that Monica song I did, so sassy! I never sang so sassy in my life, never! You should have seen me in the studio, I was rolling my eyes, I was really sassy. I don’t know what got me to that point, but I was there. It’s a lot sassier than the first album.
MTV NEWS: Does it ever become tense having your mom involved in your business?
BRANDY: Sometimes it can be like, “Mom, I’m 19. I don’t need you to tell me this anymore.” But she’s like, “I don’t care how grown up you get, you’re living in my house.” She’s sassy. I guess that’s where I get it from. She doesn’t care. My mom’s the kind of person who isn’t going to let me get hurt or burned by anybody, not even myself, and no matter what I say, no matter how much I try to argue with her, she doesn’t care, it doesn’t matter to her what I think.
MTV NEWS: And your dad is musical, too, right?
BRANDY: He is, he’s my vocal teacher. He teaches me how to sing and how to sing over hoarseness. I’m really hoarse right now, but I still have to go to the studio, and I
know how to sing over hoarseness. He’s taught me the whole range thing, he’s helped me a lot. I used to be in his choirs when I was a young girl.
MTV NEWS: Do you think that’s what got you into music?
BRANDY: Yeah, definitely. My dad sang a lot in church and I watched the way people responded to my him. All the ladies in the church just fainted and I’m like, “It ain’t that serious.” But I watched it and said, “God, I want to be just like my dad, my daddy and Whitney Houston.”
MTV NEWS: How do you sing over hoarseness?
BRANDY: I use it, I use my hoarseness, I use the raspiness, and, and I scream, I know how to scream, I know how to belt over the hoarseness. I have a thing called a falsetto, it’s like a false voice. You can use it and people will never know. Ask Mariah [Carey], Mariah taught me that. Yeah, like when you want to be really soft, or you sing high but you want to be soft about it and you don’t want to belt, you can use the falsetto.
MTV NEWS: Are you interested in doing movies?
BRANDY: I really really really really want to be a movie star. That’s another goal of mine. I’m battling my record company, because they’re like, “You can’t do a movie in ‘98, you can’t, you have to promote the album.” But I’m like so into movies right now, because that’s another challenge. I don’t have to be Moesha, I don’t have to be anybody, I can be a totally different person in movies. I do have some negotiations happening for movies and people are approaching me. After “Cinderella,” people have been calling me and I’m like, “OK, cool, I can line this movie up for the year 2000 or 2001.” I’m just really ready to do movies. I love “Titanic,” I want to be in part two. I don’t think there’s going to be one, but I like that movie a lot, it was my favorite movie. I liked “The Game” and “Devil’s Advocate,” too.
MTV NEWS: What is the biggest challenge you’re facing right now in your career?
BRANDY: Being a 19-year-old, that’s the biggest challenge. Meaning, having a normal life. Sometimes, I just want a normal life, I want to wake up and not do anything, and that’s so hard. I’m trying tobe 19 in my work and sometimes that can be really hard, so that’s a huge challenge. Everything else is cool, but that is really hard. Like, I think I’m getting a new car for my birthday. I’m not going to have time to drive it, only to the studio — so that’s the only time I’m going to be able to enjoy something that I’ve gotten. So it’s kind of hard being 19, but I wouldn’t trade it — my career — for the world.
MTV NEWS: I heard you say that you don’t want to tour anymore.
BRANDY: I don’t know. My mom has this thing that touring is for guys. I don’t know why she feels that way, but she’s gotten it into my head, and I kind of just want to do little dates. I don’t know, just little little places that are more intimate, where people can just enjoy it. Not some big Brandy weekend, she’s coming to L.A. Not a big tour. I don’t know why I don’t want to do that. I don’t know if tours is me or not, I kind of have stage fright right now anyway, so I don’t know if it’s for me.
MTV NEWS: Why do you have stage fright now?
BRANDY: I don’t know what happened. I went through a lot with appearing at places. At one point in my career, I guess people felt like I sold out, so certain places that I would go to, people wouldn’t receive me well. I was really scared to go out ‘cause I didn’t know if they would boo or yell or scream, I was just really scared. I overcame it eventually, but it was really hard for me. You would hear haters in the audience, I guess from jealousy. I don’t know what it was but that made me very shy, so I don’t like appearing places. I don’t like the whole performing thing anymore. It’s just not me anymore. I’m going to have to perform, but I have to get back into it, I have to dance more and get back into it.
MTV NEWS: So you’re still getting over your fear of performing?
BRANDY: Yeah, I’m really working through it, I’m really shy about that. I went to a Kurt Franklin concert and he called me on-stage and I cried on-stage. That wasn’t good because I’m not supposed to be like that, I’m supposed to take the mic and just go all crazy. But I cried and said, “Please don’t pull me up here,” and I said “Can I please go back to my seat?” It’s really scary out there.
MTV NEWS: Is it true that you didn’t like the name “Moesha”?
BRANDY: Yes, I hated the name! I said, “Why? Can’t it be Tiffany or Amber or August or something other than Moesha?” I hated that name, but then I thought girls that live in LA have those names, the Shanikwas, the Biancas, and the Tioccias and all kinds of stuff. It’s a real name that people have. Some people’s name is Miesha but mine’s Moesha. You can do more things with that name, like mo’ money, mo’ respect, mo’ anything, so they have a lot of fun with the promos with the Moesha name. I’ve grown to like it, I have.
MTV NEWS: Are you sick of playing Moesha?
BRANDY: You know what it is, it’s not that I’m sick of playing Moesha, it’s just that I miss my music, I miss music. I miss being Brandy.
MTV NEWS: What are your hopes for this album?
BRANDY: I try not to have hopes about it because I don’t want to be disappointed. I just want to do the best work that I possibly can, hand it over to my record company, and they have all the hopes. My dream is definitely to continue to be successful in the music industry, but I’m lettin them [the record company] do all that other stuff, taking it to number one, and all the rest of the stuff, so I try not to think about that. I also feel like in the movie I just did, “Cinderella” , I got the chance to get back into the studio and sing again along with the acting, so that was kind of cool. Now I’m really back into focusing on the music.
MTV NEWS: Your mom was telling me that at one point you were actually thinking of giving up singing and just concentrating on acting. Can you tell me what was going on?
BRANDY: I don’t know. It’s a lot of things… I think the music industry has changed so much… I don’t know how to look at my first video… There was so much happening… And I’d rather go out with the first album, bang, and not have to come back and not be able to do the same thing again. With this album, I was going through a lot of changes in picking who I wanted to work with, and it seemed like everyone was so busy working on their stuff and working on everybody else, and I just I didn’t want to do it, my energy level for it, the songs that were coming into me, they were just not right. I just didn’t know. So the safest way for me to start recording was just to act, so that’s what I wanted to do. It’s kind of sad to say that because singing is my first love, but I kind of felt like I didn’t want to do it anymore. Yeah, I just wanted to give up on the recording thing.
MTV NEWS: What turned it around?
BRANDY: Rodney Jerkins, Sean Daniels, and Jaffey Tahata, my friends — they really turned it around. When I met Rodney, his tracks were so mean, so unbelievable, and the writing that Sean and Jaffey did, they came to the table and they really brought a lot of the fill ins that I had inside of me out. They changed my whole perspective on the music thing. When I started to work with them, I wanted to go to the studio every day. I wanted to sing every day. I didn’t want to act anymore after that. I had a wonderful time, they’ve done most of my music, and I’m really happy with my music right now. I thought I just was not going to sing again, that I was just going to be Las Vegas person that sings in the little lounges, but I’m OK now.
MTV NEWS: And Rodney’s a young guy, right?
BRANDY: Rodney’s 19, they’re all young. And they’re just as hungry as I am. They want the success and they want people to feel their music just as much as I do, so the collaboration was really there. I clicked with Rodney because I was ready to do an album, I was ready to get in the studio and do the work.
MTV NEWS: Who are some of the other people who are going to jump on board and be a part of this album?
BRANDY: Of course Puff Daddy, Wyclef, and this new producer, his name is Silky. He’s a really talented producer. Who else…? Oh my God, I have so many… David Foster — oh my God, he’s like amazing — and he likes to come into the studio at 1 and leave at 6 so, I like David. He and Babyface collaborated on a song for me. And that’s basically all. I can’t wait to work with Wyclef, I hear that his track is so hot, so I’m ready to go in there and sing it, master it, get it done, and put it on the album. I can’t wait to work with Wyclef.
MTV NEWS: And you must be excited to work with Puffy as well.
BRANDY: Yeah. I worked with Puffy right in the beginning of the album, but my schedule got kind of busy, and he’s really big right now, so our schedules got kind of hectic. So I think when he gets back from Europe, I’m going to go back in the studio with him. I’m really excited to work with Puffy. I’m more nervous than excited because I’m like the biggest Puffy fan. The last time I worked with Puffy, I couldn’t even sing right. My record company said, “We don’t like this, you’re not singing right” because I was so nervous and so in awe of Puffy that he had to leave the studio. So I don’t know, it’s weird.
MTV NEWS: So you decided to give it another try with Puffy?
BRANDY: Yeah, I decided to give it another try with Puffy because I’ve had a lot of practice with Rodney Jerkins. I’ve done enough songs to get me in there and do great songs with Puffy. I can’t wait.
MTV NEWS: You said you’re a fan of Celine Dion, who has also worked with David Foster. What do you like about her?
BRANDY: Celine? She’s just classy, she’s a very classy young lady, she hasn’t disappointed me in anything that she’s done. She sings with so much feeling and she’s a whole package. She’s beautiful, and when she performs, you can really feel her. I also like Jewel. Jewel is one of my labelmates and she’s fantastic, too. I think she sings beautifully. There’s no crazy stuff, it’s just singing. I really like the piece she did on the MTV Video Music Awards, when she just sang with the guitar. That was really cool. I liked that.
MTV NEWS: When you do a song, do you have the tendency to go back and change things a lot or want to fix things, or are you very instinctual on knowing what’s right?
BRANDY: Well, I’m this type of person. I’ll do a song, and then go in my car and listen to someone’s CD. If that CD sounds better than what I just did, I’ll have to go do it again. Like, I listened to No. 4 on Mariah’s album, I said, “Oh my God, I have to do the slow song again, it has to be just like this, it has to be this type of quality.” So I’m kind of hard on myself when I go and listen to other people.
MTV NEWS: What kind of song are you doing with David Foster?
BRANDY: I did two, my two very first pop ballads. They’re so huge, they’re like these big ol’ songs, with cymbals and drums. I was so scared to do them because I didn’t know if I could pull it off, but David really helped me, he really showed me the insides of doing a pop ballad.
MTV NEWS: When do you think the album is going to come out? And will there be a tour that follows?
BRANDY: January, the single, March, the album. I’m trying to hurry up and come out before Boyz II Men and all them go on tour because I want to go on tour with them.
MTV NEWS: Are you writing at all?
BRANDY: I do write. I’ve been writing a lot, actually, not really anything that’s on the album yet, but I’m writing a little bit, I’m putting in my ideas and stuff. Most people say that you have to go through things to write and stuff, but I can just watch TV and write about that, so I’m kind of cool with that.
MTV NEWS: Do you find that, creatively, singing and acting come from the same place for you?
BRANDY: Singing comes more natural for me. With acting, I feed off of other people. If I didn’t have a great cast to work with. If they weren’t experienced, I don’t know what I would do. It may come off like I can act and all that type of stuff but I don’t know. The critics say I’m a good actress, but I’m still insecure about my acting a little bit. But that’s why I like doing it, because it’s a challenge.
MTV NEWS: What’s the next step in the process of this album for you, after you finish recording your vocals?
BRANDY: It’s definitely the photo shoots, like ten different photographers, choosing the best people, and the video. There are so many great directors out there right now. I want it to be an MTV World Premiere video, that’s how big I want it to be. I’m saying the hope thing again, but one of my dreams is to have a huge video.