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Not one to hold her tongue, Tamar Braxton has ironically emerged as the most talked about aspect of ‘Braxton Family Values’.
Indeed, her sassy, tell-it-like-it-is manner has seen the 34 year strike a chord with viewers of the hit WeTV reality series, which focuses on her life, as well as those of her sisters, Trina, Towanda, Traci – and the legendary Toni Braxton.
Keen as ever to break out from behind the shadows of her siblings, Tamar talks it up with That Grape Juice about many a topic including: the re-launch of her solo career, whether she feels her antics on the show will harm it, critique of her marriage, being inspired by Beyonce, season two of ‘Braxton Family Values’ and much more!
As ever, we ask the questions you really want answers to. Ms. Braxton, as you’ll see, answers and then some.
Tamar Braxton Shouts Out That Grape Juice
Hey Tamar! How are you?!
Sam! I’m great. Thank you.
Must start by congratulating you on the success of ‘Braxton Family Values’.
Did you anticipate the show would be as well received as it has been?
Honestly, no not this fast (laughs). I knew that there was something missing from reality TV that was really real and something that everybody can relate to and kind of apply to their normal lives. And I knew that there was a void for that, but I never knew that people would really love it as much, or (that it would) catch on as fast.
You’ve emerged as, hands down, the most talked about aspect of the show. Is what we see of you on the show the actual Tamar?
Well it’s the real me in the terms of how I am when I’m with my sisters. You know like you’re a certain way when you’re at work, you’re a certain way when your with your husband or wife, and then you’re a certain way when you with your family. That is the Tamar that is with her family.
Do you worry at all that your eccentricities may hamper your dreams of a music career? You know, we’re in an age where stars often aren’t in a position to ‘tell it like it is’. Especially when trying to make it big.
No, actually I don’t worry about that at all. As a matter of fact, I don’t even think about that. What’s important to me is the welfare of my family. Whether they’re happy, whether they’re well, or whether I have to tell them like it is for them to understand or look at something a different way. That’s just me. Guess if that dents my career then so be it. But I would rather have a healthy family and a healthy family relationship.
I hear you. Beyond the theatrics, not many people know that you’re actually a really gifted vocalist, who has actually been signed before. The show has touched upon some of your career woes. What exactly happened the last go round and how are you going to do things differently this time?
One of the reasons why I am so vocal is; I wasn’t really allowed to be. When I was doing the record with DreamWorks; I did songs that they wanted me to sing, I dressed how they wanted me to dress, I looked how they wanted me to look. And that’s why I’m so adamant about not doing it somebody else’s way. That’s I’m like I want to do the kind of music I want to do, I don’t want to sing a bunch of ballads, I don’t want to dress in ball gowns, I don’t want to be like Toni, because we are two totally different of people. I think the misconception is “oh she just wants to be like Toni, she’s jealous of Toni”. No that’s not it! But when you listen to the records that I did (with prior label) they are all ballads, they are all in the lane that Toni would go, in that sense. So I can see where the comparison would be, but I feel like we are two totally different artists.
One of the results of doing reality TV is that you open up the ‘private’ and make it ‘public’. Due to this, there are now folk questioning the legitimacy of your marriage (based on the arguments – most of which tend to centre on your career). What’s your response to that?
I say that they absolutely ridiculous.com! Vincent and I have been together for seven years. Just absolutely ridiculous and I’m definitely not the type of girl who will be with somebody if she didn’t care about them. That’s not my style at all; do you really think that I would be in the house with somebody I couldn’t stand? Are you kidding me? Like, for real…
You’ve made no secret about not wanting to be doing the “sho-wop wop” behind your sister Toni anymore. What kind of artist do you want to be?
I want to be exactly who I am. I believe that I have a lot of energy and I am aggressive, and sometimes sensitive (laughs!). I really am sometimes! Did you see the episode when I was crying my eyes out, because of my sister were stressing me out? I just want to be exactly who I am; I don’t feel like I had that opportunity. I feel like the music I like to sing would have the energy and compassion of Beyonce, and the radio friendly hooks of Rihanna. But not (a replica of) them. Does that make sense?
Speaking of Toni, she’s had a difficult few years on the charts. Why do you think that is and what do you think she could do to make a comeback?
I think that a lot of difficulties came when she was trying to hide her sickness. You know she would do a record and not be able to support it because she’s ill. So I just think that moving forward everybody understands and knows she has Lupus and she can’t tour like she used to, she can’t go abroad and tour, go to different cites and things such as that. My main focus for Toni, I couldn’t care less about a chart, I couldn’t care less about a record, I want her to be well. And, moving forward, the only thing I want for Toni is to be healthy.
Although you don’t look a day over 21, you’re actually 34. Do you feel the industry has an age bias and if so is that something you worry about?
I believe I’m pretty much the only person who is honest about their age (laughs!) I said it, I did! I think that back in the day when everybody got into the industry that was the thing, “you need to lie, you need to say you were younger”. I never lied about my age, ever. For what?! I am who I am. You either like me or you don’t. I think that back in the day it made sense to do so, because I guess people care. I don’t think people care anymore. I think people care about a great record a great sound, and having something to identify themselves with.
We interviewed Toni about a year ago, and she mentioned the show was to debut on Bravo. Obviously it ended up on WeTV. What was the situation with that?
Well you know, not just saying ‘Bravo’, there was several companies that we were going to go with. And we were very adamant about not changing who we are, some networks wanted us to go and fight and physically fight and that’s something my sisters and I don’t do. We don’t get on each other. We argue, yes. But we don’t take it a step further; and we were not willing to negotiate making drama for entertainment purposes. (Rather) we wanted our show to be pretty much 100% reality and we didn’t want to compromise that. So we went to ‘We’, who understood exactly, they loved who we are and that’s how the marriage happened.
Congratulations on the recent renewal of the show. What can we expect from the next season?
I don’t know. We haven’t started taping; we start next week (laughs). This is that Toni is moving to LA, and I’m very excited about that (because I live there). All the girls are still in Atlanta and Toni is – right now as we speak – trying to talk the girls into moving to LA. Toni doesn’t say that a lot, but that’s really how she feels, she wants everybody in the same circle. So we’ll see about that.
If there is one thing you’d keep the same and one thing you’d change about your sisters what would they be and why?
Ok let me start with Trina go from the youngest to the oldest.
Trina: The one thing I would keep the same about her is her humour. She is so funny to me and the one thing I would change about Trina is her fear of flying.
Is that metaphorically or literally?
Fear of flying meaning, I don’t want to say leaving her husband (laughs!) I want to say, fear of being alone.
Towanda: One thing I wouldn’t change about her is how organised and how strong she is as a person. The one thing I would change about her is her feeling she has to have everything together.
Traci: Uh oh! One thing I would keep the same? Let me see. Traci is real, I wouldn’t change her realness. But I would change Traci’s thought process about moving on forward and the future. She has a lot of issues with the past and I just want her leave the past in the past.
Toni: What would I change about Toni? Wow. Stop being so bossy! I know that’s funny coming from me (laughs). But she actually is the true boss, really. Another thing I would change about Toni is for her to stop being ashamed about her illness. It is what it is, a lot of people support you and they love you, including me. That’s it.
Random question; Beyonce, Rihanna and Lady GaGa all walk into a room, who do you a) ask to collaborate with, b) gossip with and c) ignore?
Ignore, probably Rihanna because she’s the youngest, and that’s just what generally happens with the youngest.
Who would I gossip with; Gaga because I know her and she’s super funny.
And collaborate with probably be Beyonce. I think we are kind of similar in some ways.
Finally, sum up Tamar in three words…
Wow I’ve never been asked this before. Good question. Let me see (laughs). I’m a 100% real, talented would be two, and kind, yes I’m kind! (Laughs)
Tamar Braxton, thank you for your time.
No, thank you. I really enjoyed it!
‘Braxton Family Values’ continues every Tuesday at 10.pm on WeTV