Brandy Covers UPTOWN Magazine: Talks New EP, Love & Dream Role On ‘The Wiz’

Brandy covers Uptown Magazine
Photo Credit: Uptown Magazine

 

Brandy graces the cover of UPTOWN Magazine. Styled by Mario Wilson, the R&B veteran dons a pony skin corset with a skirt by Cheng and Prada sandals.

In her cover story, Brandy dishes on her forthcoming EP, her role as Roxie Hart in the Chicago musical on Broadway, her dream to play Dorothy in The Wiz, her lesson learned about love and much more.

Read excerpts from Brandy’s cover story below.

On her new EP…
“It’s going to be five amazing songs that are very, very authentic. It has nothing to do with fitting in. This will be my own thing and my own way. Brandy is not in a box anymore. I am going to just allow myself to just fly with my music because I want to sing different kinds of songs, and I am not afraid to sing different kinds of songs now. I am going to sing songs that I feel in my heart. I need to release about love. I want a better understanding of love. I really want to sing songs about the way I dream of feeling about love. It’s not about the love that I’ve experienced before, it’s about the love that I want to receive.”

On playing Roxie Hart in Chicago
“I stepped into something that I was born to do and I didn’t know it. I walked on the stage and my entire life reawakened … It’s about making people feel good about themselves and helping people dream. The vain stuff, like the pictures I took for this magazine and being in shows, I love! But it is all just the polish. I’m not a celebrity. A star guides. There is a difference.”

On her dream to play Dorothy on The Wiz…
“Portraying Dorothy is a dream and I just want to experience my dreams. That’s what life is about. I want to inspire someone else to believe in theirs. God created us to thrive. And I am the proof. If I can overcome, then you certainly can too.”

On her lesson learned about love…
“I will not mix business with pleasure anymore. I think that’s one of the things that does not work for me. I get confused about who a person is. That’s one of the things that I know that I will never ever do if I am ever to have time or make time for another relationship. I want to keep my business and my personal separate.”

Read the full story on Uptown.

(Source: Uptown)

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Top 4 Deep Cuts from Brandy’s ‘Two Eleven’ Album

 

The “Vocal Bible” nickname has been bestowed upon Brandy for her vocal acrobatics and inexplicable natural ability to sing. However, Brandy Norwood is much more than her voice. In fact, her most redeeming quality is her nuanced storytelling as an artist. Every album that has been graced with those hypnotic eyes of hers has been complete from top to bottom, both vocally and thematically.

While some may argue that Never Say Never and Full Moon are artistic perfection, Two Eleven is too, but with a twist. The beauty of Two Eleven is the multi-edge edge sword of sound that it wields. The album is noticeably handled by hip-hop producers, but thanks to its host of R&B writers, the songs on the album are able to catch the spirit of the R&B genre today — a whole five years ahead of schedule.

If you take a listen to “Hardly Breathing,” do you not hear shades of Dawn Richard? Or maybe if you paid close enough attention to the vocal layering on “Wish Your Love Away,” you would hear the same on Tamar’s latest album. You can even compare “Put It Down” to K. Michelle’s “Either Way.” Aside from boasting the same feature, the candor and aggression in the lyrical content is almost uncanny. This album is for the Sabrina Claudio’s just as much as it is for the Sevyn Streeter’s and even the reaches the artistic bubble of a more established artist like Tamia. In short, Two Eleven, as a whole, is THAT album.

Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best deep cuts from the five-year-old body of work. Check  it out:

“Paint This House”

Brandy’s smoky vocals take center stage, backed by her airy background vocals and hauntingly pulsing production from Rico Love, Eric Goudy III and Pierre Moody. On the song, Brandy is in the mood for love-making and some “room redecorating” with her new lover. “And I want these stairs, those walls/Kitchen counters, and those chairs/To remind you of how good it feels/And all of these floors and ceilings/And every hallway, yeah/Not and inch will go untouched/Let’s paint this house with our love,” she sings. With lyrics so obviously sexual, Ms. Norwood brings her signature tender tone to song, creating a sensual jam for any bedroom-thumping situation.

“Slower”

Following a similar narrative as “Paint This House,” Brandy decides to take control this time when it comes to the moment of love-making and passion. “My baby got a lot to learn/Come here let mama bring you up to speed/A couple of changes/A couple of things I want to go over/Couple of hours is all I need/So let’s get it started,” she sings. The genius house production from Dave Taylor both compliments and juxtaposes Brandy’s vocals and lyrics extremely well.

“Without You”

Brandy’s voice takes full flight on this apologetic anthem. “Boy somewhere along the line I lost my way/And I made you pay for the mistakes he made/And I’m sorry baby, cause it shouldn’t be that way/Oh Boy, I really need you, I need you in my life/Cause oh boy I’m nothing, oh no I’m nothing without you,” she sings. Seeing the grave error in bringing baggage from the past into a current relationship, Brandy showcases her vocal power and grit to win her man back. And although we’d love just a piano behind her, the kick-snare and cymbal give this almost-but-not-quite-a-single the touch of bounce that it needs.

“Wish Your Love Away”

Brandy is trying to get over the one that should have been the one on this somber ballad. “I wish that there was no more sleepless nights for me/You can look inside my heart and see/How I’m feelin, baby/Or maybe you just don’t give a damn/Could I be foolish to give a damn, baby?/’Cause I’m to the point where I wish/Boy, I wish that I didn’t love you,” she sings. The track is just so sonically vivid-imagine rain softly falling on your windowpane as this song plays in the background-that it didn’t even need her vocals to be impactful. But, that’s not to say that her vocals aren’t appreciated, especially at the end of the song where the music fades out to just her immaculate vocal layering. Brandy’s resonance both in voice and artistry is perfectly encapsulated by this tune, and hints at how this album will undoubtedly stand the test of time.

What’s your favorite song from “Two Eleven?” Let us know in the comment section below.

Jennifer Hudson Shines on Cosmopolitan’s November Cover

Photo credit: Ben Watts / Cosmopolitan

Jennifer Hudson steps away from The Voice judges table and gives us LIFE for the November 2017 edition of Cosmopolitan.

In her candid cover story, JHUD tells readers which popular show she would not mind guest starring on and her dream costar. She also shares her one-word responses for Adam Sandler, Taraji P. Henson and Dreamgirls costar Beyoncé.

Make sure a catch Jennifer Hudson passionately judge contestants on The Voice Mondays and Tuesdays on NBC.

Peep Jennifer’s interview highlights below.

Photo credit: Ben Watts / Cosmopolitan

On dream costar: Jennifer Lawrence

On television show, she would like to guest-star on: Insecure with Issa Rae

Describes Beyoncé in one word: Sisterly

Describes Adam Sandler in one word: Funny

Describes Taraji P. Henson in one word: Homegirl

Read more on Jennifer Hudson in the November 2017 issue of Cosmopolitan Tuesday, October 10 on newsstands.

Top 5 Songs from Elle Varner’s Debut Album ‘Perfectly Imperfect’

Elle Varner Perfectly Imperfect

Elle Varner Perfectly Imperfect
As she came in the game with a beat and bounce (word to Azealia Banks), the Brooklyn-born singer-songwriter Elle Varner proved she had star power with the J. Cole-assisted “Only Wanna Give It To You,” the quirky and catchy “Refill,” and the luscious “I Don’t Care.”

Whether it was her jazzy vocals, relatable storytelling, or overall cool-girl-from-around-the-way persona, Varner successfully pulled us in and unveiled her magic to us on her debut album, aptly titled Perfectly Imperfect.

In celebration of the album’s 5th anniversary, we’ve selected a handful of her best songs from her RCA Records debut. Here are our Top 5 songs:

“Leaf”

Ms. Varner is every woman and it’s all in her on this slow-burning deep cut. Varner lets her lover know what she can do, be and accomplish as his woman on this Oak & Pop-produced record. “So when you go into a storm/I will be there, protect you/I will the shoot the wave down/I’ll come around, surround you / With a light I’ve never shown/I will be there lighter than a leaf in your pocket/I’ll be the air,” she sings. What makes this a standout is that it’s (arguably) the smoothest record on the album, which is due to the funky bass and stunning tenderness in her voice. This would’ve been a nice pick for the fourth and final single, as the song is as breezy as a cool, autumn night.

“Not Tonight”

If Brandy’s “Have You Ever” had a twin, it would definitely be this album cut from Perfectly Imperfect. On the Pop & Oak and Jimmy Varner produced track, Elle describes her feelings of undying love to her true love, which is unfortunately unbeknownst to him. “Maybe, maybe in another life/I could be the girl who walks up to the guy/And tells him, tells him how she feels inside/But not tonight, tonight,” she sings. Although Elle’s pen game is always on point, it definitely shows here through the vividness and honesty in the verses. Pair that with a beautiful, Prince-esque electric guitar and Elle’s finest vocal showing, and we definitely have a winner.

“Refill”

Who knew a hip-hop bass line, staccato drum machine, and a fiddle’s riff on a continuous loop could make for one of the best R&B songs of this decade? Elle, in all of her “giggling” and “fumbling” glory, effortlessly tells the story of where all love first begins: the initial attraction. “Wishin’ and hopin’ that I don’t blow it/I’m nervous as hell/I don’t wanna show it/And right now I don’t even know what I’m saying,” she sings. Outside of its uniquely genius sound (crafted by R&B hitmakers Andrew “Pop” Wansel and DJ Camper), it stands as the perfect follow-up to her lead single “Only Wanna Give It To You.” This record showcased a sexier side of her artistry, but, at the song’s core, remained her best quality: her knack for storytelling.

“I Don’t Care”

Led by a beautiful sample of Kool & The Gang’s “Little Children,” Elle tells the story of love in its purest form. “Clearly I’m gone and I’m going/Into the deep end/Far over my head/It’s so unfair/I’m gone and its showing/All over my skin/Everyone knows gone and it shows/But I don’t care,” she sings. The song’s sound is lush and sonically pleasing, but why it makes this list is how the story of the song is told in its music video, which is filled with beautiful images of same-sex and interracial relationships juxtaposed with the hatred experienced by both groups, bringing this groovy house party jam to life.

“Damn Good Friends”

Driven by an acoustic guitar, Elle is willing and ready to leave the friend zone on the album’s penultimate track. “Two puzzles/Identical with the same piece/Missing from both never complete/Never achieving our true perfection/So why go scour the Earth for missed piece/Maybe the piece is in our kiss/Maybe the answers in my direction,” she sings. Written and produced solely by her and her father, Jimmy Varner, this track could almost serve as a back story for its preceding track “Welcome Home,” which was also written and produced by the Varners. The lyrical game is always Elle’s to play, but it’s the way she wields her voice with the perfect mix of romanticism, admiration, and frustration that makes this one a shining star on an already bright album.

What’s are some of your favorites from Perfectly Imperfect? Do you agree with our list? What song(s) did we miss? Let us know in the comment section below!

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