INTERVIEW: Candice Glover Talks Life After Winning ‘American Idol’ + Releases ‘Hotline Bling’ Remix

candice glover

Almost three years ago, Candice Glover was voted ‘American Idol’ by millions of viewers. Throughout the competition, the Beaufort, SC native covered classics songs such as Aretha Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston’s “When You Believe” and Dionne Warwick’s “Don’t Make Me Over,” to name a few.

Immediately following her victory, on May 16, 2013, Glover’s debut album Music Speaks was made available for pre-order on iTunes and was set to release 30 days later via 19 Recordings/Interscope Records. The highly anticipated album ultimately was delayed a few times and eventually released on Feb. 18, 2014. The album featured her debut single “Cried” and an acoustic version of her coronation song “I Am Beautiful.” Glover collaborated with a group of notable writers and producers including Jazmine Sullivan, The Underdogs, Mike WiLL Made-It, The Jackie Boyz, Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins and Paul “Hotsauce” Dawson.

Although Music Speaks was a solid effort for Glover, the album debuted at No. 14 on the Billboard 200 with 19,000 copies in its first week of sales. It was the lowest first-week sales of an American Idol winner and left critics wondering what happened? A mishap on iTunes.

“Something very unfortunate happened when I wanted to change the date of my album release,” exclusively Glover tells Rated R&B. “I don’t think a lot of people know this but my album was supposed to come out on Oct. 8, 2013 and I changed it to Feb. 18, 2014. When I changed it, Interscope and Apple didn’t really communicate that to each other. On Oct. 8 the album came out by accident and everybody who had pre-ordered that day got a blank album.”

She continues, “All the songs were four seconds a piece and completely silent. It made the charts and everything but the unfortunate thing about it is that I lost all my pre-orders. When the album actually did come out, it didn’t sell as many as it would’ve if it had stayed on pre-order from the night I had won.”

While the handling of Glover’s debut album was sort of like a nightmare, she has moved on and is focused on taking her career to the next level. The 26-year-old is hard at work on her sophomore album. While fans await official music, she will release a joint mixtape with Chadd Black to hold them over. The mixtape will include covers of popular songs like Bryson Tiller’s “Don’t” and Drake’s “Hotline Bling,” as well as a few original songs.

Rated R&B recently caught up with Glover for a very candid interview. In the interview, Glover describes the process of creating Music Speaks, her transition from American Idol winner to artist, the direction of her second album, her role in an upcoming stage play and much more.

Check out our interview with Candice Glover below.

RATED R&B: It’s been nearly two years since you released your debut album Music Speaks. What do you remember most about the creative process?

CANDICE GLOVER: It was a very long process. We had to go in and pick different songs. I went into a lot of writing sessions. It was really fun getting the chance to see what it’s like to create an album.

RATED R&B: The album was pushed back a few times. Why?

CANDICE GLOVER: Me changing the [release] date was because I felt like I didn’t have the right music. I felt like the stuff people were presenting to me was just because they had heard me belt out a few things on American Idol and they thought that’s all that I was capable of doing or that’s what I loved to do. I wanted to take risks and take chances so that’s why I kept delaying until I found what I wanted.

RATED R&B: How has the transition been from winning American Idol to establishing yourself as Candice Glover, the artist?

CANDICE GLOVER: After you win a nationwide competition — some people will go as far as calling it a talent show — people don’t really take you as seriously as an artist. They just take you as someone who won a talent show. It’s a process to transition yourself from “I won American Idol” and just scratch that sticker off your forehead and show the world “I’m an artist. When you’re on American Idol, you have to sing other people’s music. When you come out with something totally different, they can either love it or hate it. It can be nerve wracking but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.


RATED R&B: What can we expect from your next album? 

CANDICE GLOVER: I always tell people with this next album “I want to go there.” I’m just going to put that “no we can’t” out the window and all the doubts about what people are going to think. People love you even more when you’re more authentic to who you really are and when you’re yourself.

RATED R&B: Right! It sounds like you will have more creative freedom with this new album?

CANDICE GLOVER: Yes. This next project is going to be all me. It’s going to be my lyrics from my heart. I’m going to bring a few people in. For the most part, I want to do my own because on the first album, I only co-wrote song “Forever That Man.” Everything else was just kind of given to me.

RATED R&B: Who would you like to work with on this project?

CANDICE GLOVER: On my new album that I’m starting to work on, I would definitely love to do something with Brandy. You know Jazmine Sullivan is my favorite singer in the whole world. I would love to do something with her [again]. She wrote my first single “Cried.” I guess that was kind of a collaboration. I just want to be in the studio and watch her work. I think she’s amazingly talented. I love Chris Brown’s voice and his creativity. Drake is my favorite rapper. Everybody knows that but I would love to work with him on some stuff.

RATED R&B: Are you still signed to 19 Recordings/Interscope? How do you plan on releasing your next album?

CANDICE GLOVER: I parted ways with them. I’m going to release it independently. [First] I’m doing a joint mixtape with Chadd Black. [Our version of] “Hotline Bling” and “Don’t” [will be on the] mixtape. We’re going to have some of our own special things on there as well. I thought that would be a really fun way to kind of collab with someone. He’s based out of Houston. He’s insanely talented and I’ve been having a lot of fun getting in the studio with him and working on different things.

RATED R&B: How do you feel about people who judge artists based on their sales instead of the quality of their music?

CANDICE GLOVER: I think that social media has taken over the world [laughs]. A lot of people don’t know what it really takes to be in the music industry and how stressful it is to go in the studio and really lay your heart out. When they get online and talk bad about these artists who haven’t sold enough records — as they think they should sell — I think that’s really disrespectful. We work really hard to put out music that’s heartfelt to us and music that we really relate to. Numbers should never really determine a person’s success because you got singers who can sing you under a table and they don’t sell as many albums, but that doesn’t take away from their talent or their gift.

RATED R&B: We hear you’ll be singing The National Anthem at The Cleveland Cavaliers Game on Jan. 18! There’s a lot of pressure that comes with singing “The Star Spangled Banner.” What’s going through your mind when you’re singing it?

CANDICE GLOVER: Every single time I sing that song it’s the scariest moment of my life. I don’t think that any other performance has ever touched the nerves that I get when I sing that song because it’s a really important song and you can either do too much or not enough. The main thing I think about when I’m singing is not forgetting the words. If you forget the words, that’s going to haunt you for the rest of your life.

RATED R&B: Is there anything else you have coming up?

CANDICE GLOVER: I’m going on an international tour in March. I’ll be starring in the lead role in stage play called The Love Shack.

RATED R&B: Tell us more about your role in the play.

CANDICE GLOVER: I’ll be playing the role of Lovely, who is a church girl struggling to find her own way because her dad won’t let her be her own person. I think they chose me for the role because of my roots and growing up in church that will always be a part of me. No matter what kind of music I make. I’m excited! It’s my second play and third time acting.

For more information on Candice Glover, follower her on Twitter/Instagram @CandiceGlover.


  1. I like her response about artists being judged on sales and not strictly talent. There are singers like Keke Wyatt or Jazmine Sullivan who can SING but aren’t pushing major artist numbers.

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Exclusive: Syleena Johnson Gets Deep on Lack of Soul in Music + Talks New Album ‘Rebirth Of Soul’

One of R&B’s most authentic storytellers Syleena Johnson is not shy about recounting her trials and triumphs through her music. For more than two decades, the Chicago native has curated records that have brought joy and sweet pain to our hearts.

Deep and honest cuts like “Faithful to You,” “Apartment for Rent,” “Labor Pains,” and “Label Me” have championed women’s life stories while enlightening men on the day-to-day struggles of womanhood.

Johnson’s first and less documented release, This Time Together by Father and Daughter, premiered in the summer of 1995. The joint album – with her legendary father Syl Johnson – ignited her soulful stardom with songs “Keep on Loving Me” and “Piece of the Rock.”

Seven solo albums and one joint album later, the 41-year-old singer-songwriter pays tribute to her music genius of a father with her fall release,  Rebirth of Soul.

Along with the gearing up for the release of her new album, Johnson continues to secure her bag with television and health/wellness ventures.

During our 30-minute conversation, Johnson dished tribute album to her father, her new TV One talk show Sister Circle, her wellness brand SheLean and her favorite R&B artists now and more.

Check out the interview below.

Already, Sister Circle is capturing audiences across the nations — specifically women of color. How important is it for this new generation of black women to hear other black women like yourself and the other hosts empower and uplift each other?

If I can be frank, this show is important right now in a time where our current leadership is inadequate, unmotivating and sexist, which is causing our nation to adopt those undertones. In an entertainment field, where women — especially black women — are being exploited on television in such a negative way, Sister Circle is a breath of fresh air. We’re not perfect. We’re not walking around with halos. We’re still black women who have the same black women issues.

Our goal is to converse on these issues and show perspective from the African-American point of view in a bulk where the entire show is made up of African Americans. And Sister Circle is something that we don’t have right now in this climate where there are so many issues that pertain to us and our culture. It’s not black women directly. Black men, our sons. Black men, our husbands. Black men, our brothers.

What was it like having Wendy Williams, the contemporary Oprah of daytime, grace Sister Circle‘s inaugural show?

It was one of the biggest example of black women supporting each other. She’s the queen of daytime talk right now. By her being our very first guest, she pretty much blessed the show. She pretty much said, ‘I’m proud of you girls and you’re doing your thing.’ What more can you ask for? Other than Oprah Winfrey herself (laughs).

How does Sister Circle stand apart from other panel talk shows?

First of all, Sister Circle is live every day, five days a week. It’s the first all black panel talk show with no other nationalities. There is a male that represents the LGBTQ community which I have not really seen on any other talk show. Also, our hosts come from all walks of life which is really fun. Plus, we knew each other before starting the show which makes the chemistry really strong.

Recently, you started a health and wellness initiative, SheLean. Tell us about it. Also, did personal health motivate this new business venture? Or was this idea presented to you after the success of fitness DVD Mommy’s Got Soul?

No, it wasn’t personal health. Although SheLean was something that my best friend and I had already put together, what really put the fire under me is when I learned that every 4 out of 5 African American women, according to the CDC, are suffering from heart disease, type II diabetes and mild cancers. African-American women are also developing lupus and other different autoimmune diseases, which I believe is directly related to diet, poor rest and lack of vitamin and mineral content.

Also, the lack of education to be able to remedy this void plays a part. So with SheLean, the initiative is to educate the matriarch of the household, which is a woman, and in educating the woman you can help decrease childhood obesity, as well as obesity and obesity related disorders in minorities cultures, with African-American women and individuals being primary.

How do you resist food temptations and stay on a consistent workout regimen with your hectic work schedule?

During the five-day week, I eat clean. I need my energy and I need my stamina. Eating bad during the week will cause me to be sluggish and groggy. I allow myself a bad meal on maybe Friday and Saturday and then I go back to eating clean on Sunday. Like today, I had a glass of wine and a fried chicken burger. It was a good cheat meal for me (laughs).

I don’t go crazy though … like you won’t catch me eating a full pizza. I’m not really a sweets girl. I don’t get rid of temptations. I minimize them and I put them in my diet where it works. I think what happens is when people diet and they starve themselves it causes them to binge. That’s how they end up eating a whole pizza and ice cream (laughs).

Rebirth of Soul, out now, is an ode to your father, Syl Johnson. What was the overall recording process like?

It’s really easy working with my dad in the studio. So the recording process was awesome. It was all live instrumentation. On the Curtis Mayfield’s “The Makings of You,” there was a live harpist and string quartet in the studio. So live instrumentation was the most intriguing thing.

With a title like Rebirth of Soul, do you think soul has died in music? If so, why?

Yeah … and the reason I say yes is because soul is not a genre. When you’re singing soul music, you’re singing from your soul. And that means you’re singing from your story, your history, from the things that you’ve gone through. I think that the music today is talking about things that are way too surface. They’re not getting deep enough into the infrastructure of their spirit and soul. They’re not baring their soul in records anymore. A lot of artists are just taking a song that was written and they just sing it.

As far as the music you’ve heard this year, who’s music do you feel still embodies soul?

Mali Music. He’s my favorite right now. I listen to a lot of old music like Anita Baker, Sade, Earth Wind & Fire, Chaka Khan. Every morning when we come on set for Sister Circle we first listen to gospel. Then we merge to vintage R&B, which has been in my spirit lately. To be quite honest, I don’t even listen to the radio. I’m not really a fan of anything that’s out at all. I do like The Weeknd … sometimes. It’s the music that I like. It’s eerie. He reminds me of a male Sade in a way. He’s just not as poignant as her.

What’s your favorite cut on the new project? Also, out of all the covers, which did you want to nail perfectly?

My favorite cut on Rebirth Of Soul is Otis Redding’s “These Arms Of Mine.” I was so happy to do this record because it’s my favorite Otis Redding record. And the song I wanted to nail was “Chain of Fools” by Aretha Franklin. I knew that people would compare me to Aretha Franklin, like they already have. I knew attempting a record of that caliber I had to shut it down. So what I set out to do was to do it exactly like her. I mean timing wise, run wise, range wise — as well as singing it in her key. To me that was the best way to pay homage, to show respect and to celebrate Aretha Franklin. She is truly the Queen of Soul.

Rebirth of Soul is available digitally for purchase and streaming now. Packed with 10 amazing covers, including Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools,” and “I’d Rather Go Blind” by Etta James, this incredible body of work is definitely a collectors item.

Make sure to follow Syleena Johnson on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Also, follow Sister Circle TV on all social media platforms.

Meet R&B’s New ‘Pretty Girl’ Rhyon Brown

With roles in That’s So RavenLincoln Heights and Get Rich or Die Tryin, Rhyon Brown has made her mark in the film and television industry. Now the millennial entertainer is expanding her entertainment resume in the field of music.

Under the guidance of Grammy-nominated producer Harmony Samuels, the West Coast native is making waves with her debut album, Pretty Girl. Released last month on BOE Music Group/EMPIRE, the project features her catchy tune “California,” as well as her emotional track titled “Gone.” 

In support of her debut album, Rhyon released a short film with the same title. The premiere event attracted plenty of Hollywood influencers including Kofi Siriboe, Megan Good, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Paige Hurd, Tasha Smith, Keith Powers, Niecy Nash, Skye Townsend, Nicki Micheaux and Insecure’s Y’lan Noel, to name a few.

Rated R&B recently chatted with Rhyon about her debut album, working with Harmony Samuels, her short film and more.

Check out our interview below.

What is the inspiration behind your debut album Pretty Girl?

My inspiration initially was simply to be honest. I’ve been in the entertainment industry for a long time but this was my first introduction into the music industry and I knew the only way this would ever work was for me to be honest. People see through an artist not being who they are, fans are smart. Now, my inspiration has changed, and its to encourage people to recognize how great God has made them.

The album surprisingly doesn’t contain any features. Is this by coincidence or something you did purposely?

We didn’t have any features per say as far as my track list is concerned. I wanted to grow my fan base organically, with people finding me, liking my music and enjoying my message. I didn’t want people to like me only because I had another artist on my record that they were fans of. But I can say I have two songs graced with the presence of Andre Troutman, incredible artist and the best person I have ever had the pleasure of seeing work a talk box. No one does it better than him.

Along with your album, you have a short film. Tell us your experience creating that.

It was a rollercoaster. We pulled off a large feat with a group of very talented and dedicated people, but also a very small group. There were a lot of people wearing many different hats. Making this film and seeing how it is affecting people its literally a dream come true, but it took a lot of long days with very little sleep.

What is your definition of a Pretty Girl?

Someone that recognizes that her beauty isn’t found in anything this world can provide, and she shares that inspiring other people to feel and act the same way.

What’s your message to a girl who may not feel like she’s pretty?

The world does a really good job of telling women what they are supposed to look like and how they are supposed to feel, its not on the world to determine that for you. Being pretty is a choice, because everyone defines beauty differently. But when you choose to be pretty others will chose to look at you the same, because your belief makes it undeniable.

You’re signed to Harmony Samuels’ label BOE Music Group. How did you connect with him and is there anything you’ve learned about yourself while being under his wing?

I met him through someone that really believed in me that got Harmony Harmony to take a meeting, and rest was history from there. I’ve learned so much from him, the guy is a genius and one of the hardest working people I know. But its the fact that he’s a risk taker, and when God tells him something he’s willing to put everything on the line to make that happen and he reaps the benefits of that trust. So its made me be more of a risk taker, and more of a believer in my own purpose.

Although you may be new to music, you’re certainly not new to entertainment. Your acting resume continues to grow. Is there anything you’re currently filming that you can share with us?

My episode of Irv Gotti’s new BET show Tales actually just aired on October 24th.

Follow Rhyon on Instagram at @RhyonBrown. Stream Pretty Girl below.

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.


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.

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