Seven long years have separated fans of the R&B veteran from her last album, ‘Two Eleven,’ but their patience has been rewarded with the launch of her latest single, ‘Baby Mama.’
The Hit-Boy-produced bop, which boasts fellow GRAMMY winner Chance the Rapper as its co-star, has already lit up R&B sales and streaming tallies merely hours after its premiere on May 1. Fitting fanfare for the R&B siren who recently told That Grape Juice the jam is just one of many housed on her yet-titled seventh studio album, due later this year.
That Grape Juice (Rashad): So girl, look. Let’s talk about ‘Baby Mama,’ which has snatched every wig I have ever owned. Do you hear me?
Brandy: Do you like it?
That Grape Juice: Love it.
Brandy: That is so good.
That Grape Juice: The video is everything. So just tell us about you. First off, tell us how the collab with Chance the Rapper came to be.
Brandy: Well, Chance wanted to sample something from ‘I Wanna Be Down’ and he FaceTimed me. I’m not sure how he got my information but he FaceTimed me. I was so excited to talk to him because I’m such a big fan and of course cleared what he wanted to do and I let him know that I had this, this song called Baby Mama that I really would love for him to be a part of, ‘cause Chance is a mother lover, he’s all about his family, his daughter, and I just thought that it would just be cool for him to jump on it, because it’s such an upbeat fun song. And he got on it and killed it. Okay, he did his thing on it. I was so impressed with what he was able to say and his lyrics were just phenomenal.
That Grape Juice: Absolutely. And even conceptually, though, like before you had decided, to add Chance, was this always the first single?
Brandy: I didn’t think of it like that. I was just trying to like get as many songs done as possible. And I just felt that this song was just, it was special, like, I love the message. I was like “this is my big one.” And of course, it is the one now.
That Grape Juice: While recording the album, tell us the direction you were heading? Like, did you have a theme in mind? Or were you just working, working, working and piecing together?
Brandy: Yeah, I tried to stay away from what I thought I should be. I kind of just let that creative spirit just guide me in what I should do. So I just kept recording and kept recording until I felt like I had a body of work that I could be proud of. I felt like I needed a body of work that what people could listen to the album all the way through like they had been able to do in the past. So I just gave myself enough time to get myself to that point.
That Grape Juice: And, we always like to know, like on the on the behind the scenes action, who are some people we should expect on the album?
Brandy: Of course, DJ Camper. I worked with this new producer, his name is [Yxshua]. He’s really talented. I worked with Cory Rooney and Hit-Boy and myself. I did a lot of producing on this album, writing and it was such a joy to wear all those hats on this album.
That Grape Juice: And this is the first time you’ve been that extensively involved, right?
Brandy: Oh, yes.
That Grape Juice: And how was that process for you?
Brandy: It was interesting. I was a little bit nervous at first, but I found myself being so creative like extra creative, more so than I’ve ever been. So I just wanted to give myself a chance to express that and not be afraid of it. So I just dove right into it.
That Grape Juice: And we absolutely cannot wait to hear what you cooked up.
Brandy: Thank you.
That Grape Juice: Okay so back to the front side though, beyond Chance to Rapper, can you tell us who else we should expect collabos from.
Brandy: I’m collaborating with my daughter. Her name is Sy’rai, and I’ve worked with Daniel Caesar on the record ‘Love Again,’ which is definitely going to be a part of the album. But that’s it. I didn’t do a lot of collaborations.
That Grape Juice: That’s right. We need you to be Brandy! Speaking of, I’m not going to even lie. Side note, I love ‘At Your Best.’
Brandy: Thank you.
That Grape Juice: She did her thing on that, so I was so proud to listen to this, especially the end, I’m like, yeah, that’s Brandy’s daughter for real, for real.
Brandy: Thank you.
That Grape Juice: No problem.
Brandy: Thank you.
That Grape Juice: I know you’re going to get this question a million times…the hiatus since ‘Two Eleven.’ In your own words, what’s kind of kept you away from us?
Brandy: Well, I had to pull myself out of a situation that I think was best for me musically. And so I had to get myself into a better headspace in terms of my connection with music, and then also a better home. So I was able to team up with eOne and I was able to, create my own label, and have them partner with me. And I feel so much better, the space that I’m in with music. And I just found a great team of people to help me get my dreams out there. I mean I’m here now.
That Grape Juice: And I think about that because I was reading that independent was the route you’re taking with this effort.
That Grape Juice: Tell us some of the main differences between the major and the independent route.
Brandy: I feel like when you’re independent, you have a lot more control, you have a lot more say in what you do and you’re able to be more creative and artistic and I just I like the independent route better. And I have to see with this new project to see how good it goes but so far, it’s been going really good.
That Grape Juice: That is awesome. Now, Brandy, you’ve interviewed with us many times in the past. We have a segment of our interview called Five from Fans. Well, we’ve collected five questions from the Star specifically for you. So are you ready for these?
That Grape Juice: Number one, you have spoken multiple times about the ‘Moesha’ reboot, where are we with that?
Brandy: I’m still in talks about it. Everything is kind of put on pause with what’s going on in the world, but definitely still in the works with that.
That Grape Juice: Awesome. Number two: we have your debut album ‘Never Say Never,’ ‘Full Moon,’ ‘Human,’ ‘Afrodisiac’ and ‘Two Eleven.’ Rank your discography. Give us your top three in order.
Brandy: Never Say Never, Full Moon, Afrodisiac.
That Grape Juice: Very nice, very nice. Oh we’ve zoomed through these. Number three, what from your perspective happened with the Fantasia and Jazmine Sullivan track you were doing?
Brandy: We didn’t have the right song.
That Grape Juice: Simple as that, huh?
Brandy: Simple as that.
That Grape Juice: Okay. Number four, we’ve been seeing you kind of peak your head in on the [‘VERZUZ’] battles. Who would you like to see so far or that we haven’t seen yet? Who would you like to see?
Brandy: I want to see Rodney [Jerkins] battle somebody. I don’t know who he would battle, but I would love to see that.
That Grape Juice: Would you ever consider doing one, that’s my own side note there.
Brandy: I don’t know. It depends on who it is.
That Grape Juice: Okay.
Brandy: But I’m not a competitive person. I love everybody, so [laughs].
That Grape Juice: Okay, okay. Last but not least, you have spoken multiple times on record about a biopic. Where are we with that?
Brandy: I think it’s a little too soon to do a biopic. I have so much life to live and I have so much music to do. I don’t want to do something like that too early. Hopefully in the future, but not yet.
That Grape Juice: Rounding up, you got the number one records. You’ve got the Grammy’s. What else is there left for Brandy to achieve?
Brandy: I just want to continue to do music. Honestly, like I have a whole new found love for music and producing and writing. I’m just getting started honestly.
That Grape Juice: And that’s what we like to hear. We want to round our interview out on a positive note. There’s a lot going on in the world right now. But once corona has passed, I want to ask you what else do you have planned for 2020?
Brandy: Oh I would just love to reach as many people as I can with my music and continue to put out singles and videos and body of work, continue to push forward in that way.
That Grape Juice: Excellent. Well as always, Brandy, we thank you for the time. We love you. And we wish you.
Brandy: I love you guys too.
That Grape Juice: Thank you so much. We wish you nothing but the best with this project.
Brandy: But you really like the song right?
That Grape Juice: I swear to you, Brandy, I’ve listened to it multiple times, the video. I can’t wait for people to see this. I cannot wait to get their reaction on this.
Brandy: Thank you. And you made my day with that. ‘Cause when you’ve been gone for a while, I get the jitters, I get the nerves like, oh my God, I just hope people really respond to it and they like it. So it means a lot coming from you guys.
That Grape Juice: No problem. Now let me go ahead and say on record, I am biased because I’m a stan…
Brandy: No you can’t be biased. You can’t be biased [laughs]…
That Grape Juice: I take the hat off when I’m being professional and I’m like, this is solid like this is very nice. This is what we want from Brandy right now. A lil groove, but still enough to give us some vocals like it’s a nice piece. It really is.
Brandy: Thank you very much. I appreciate that.
Brandy’s new single, ‘Baby Mama,’ is available on all platforms now!