Interview: La’Porsha Renae is Already All Ready

It’s been almost a year since La’Porsha Renae was named runner-up on the 15th and final season of American Idol. Although she didn’t come in first place, Renae won over a lot of fans with her incredible voice and inspirational story.

Throughout the show, viewers got a chance to learn more about Renae’s personal life, which includes surviving a domestic violence relationship.

“I learned how much of an inspiration an artist can be to people,” Renae tells Rated R&B. “I was very open about it for the sake of inspiring others and encouraging others who are in a situation like mine to get out.”

Renae’s undeniable talent landed her a recording contract with 19 Recordings/Motown Records and she is now gearing up to release her debut album, Already All Ready, on March 31. The album will feature her singles “Good Woman” and “Somebody Does,” which was written by Ne-Yo.

“The title Already All Ready was chosen because many of what I just named is not considered to be ideal or socially popular when describing a rising star,” Renae said in a statement. “I embraced everything that I thought would hold me back from pursuing my dreams, and used my insecurities to give me the courage to inspire and advocate for others who possessed many of the same insecurities I had. I also wanted to honor single mothers and defy the stereotypical dress code of a thick, brown-skinned, single mother and domestic violence survivor. I’m proud of my curves, my daughter, as well as the harsh past that helped shape me into the strong woman I am today.”

In an interview with Rated R&B, Renae shares more details about her debut album, how she overcame insecurity, her experience as a single mother in entertainment and more.

Check out the interview below.

RATED R&B: While you were on American Idol, we learned about some of your trials and tribulations leading up to the show, which included surviving a domestic violence relationship. How much of that is reflected on your album?

Not much at all because I didn’t want to give that much time to it and that much energy to it. During Idol, I was very open about it for the sake of inspiring others who are in a situation like mine to get out. Now, it’s a different chapter. I really wanted to show the other sides to me like the goofy, bubbly side of me that people didn’t really get to see on Idol — because it was kind of focused on my past relationship.

RATED R&B: Describe your experience recording your first album.

It was fun. It was a little difficult at times because you have creative minds clashing and trying to figure out which way to do everything. All of us wanted the same thing at the end of the day and we are really proud of how it turned out.

 

RATED R&B: Who are some songwriters and producers you worked with?

Some songwriters I worked with were Toby Gad, Ne-Yo, Diane Warren and Harmony Samuels. I had some really, really good writers.The producers I worked with for most of the album were Harmony Samuels and MAJOR.

RATED R&B:What do you want people to take away from the album?

I want them to take away a glimpse of who I am — not just that, but I want them to go on the journey with me. I want them to feel what I felt in each song. At the end of the day, if I can’t portray that emotion to them and make them feel something, then I don’t feel like I’ve done my job as an artist. I definitely want people to be inspired and aspire to be the greatest version of themselves. I hope they get all of that or some of that from the album (laughs).

RATED R&B: You said your album cover represents your past insecurities. How did you overcome those insecurities?

On Idol, a lot of my insecurity came from the fact that I was abused. As a victim, you kind of feel like you wear that on your forehead. You feel like that’s what defines you and that’s what people see when they look at you. Plus, being a thick woman, a single mother, someone who wears natural hair and having brown skin…which is evidently frowned upon here in this country by some — all of that, I had insecurities about. I felt like those were against me when it came to this industry and being accepted and all of that.

RATED R&B: What advice would you give to someone dealing with those types of insecurities?

I guess to overcome insecurity, you have to kind of fake it until you make it. What I mean by faking it until you make it is starting off I didn’t have that confidence. I faked that confidence until it became real. I just had to become nonchalant about it and hope that people would see past all of those things — they eventually did.

RATED R&B: When you shared the album cover on social media, there were some people who felt like you were exploiting your daughter by having her on the cover. How do you deal with the negativity and opinions that come with social media?

I’ve always been the kind of person who has accepted other people’s opinions. When people have certain options about me like they did the cover, I will have a conversation about it because I want to be known as that real down-to-earth person. A lot of people thought I exploited my daughter by putting her on my album cover. I just kindly explained to them, it was more of an honor. I wanted to honor my daughter because she was the reason I got out of that abusive relationship.

While I was in that relationship, I always found a way to blame myself. I always found a way to say, “I deserve what’s happening to me.” But when my daughter came…I feel like God gave her to me to give me something to fight for because I wasn’t fighting for myself. I didn’t want to accept her being hurt because she didn’t deserve it. I knew for a fact there was nothing I could say when it came to her being subjected to that kind of abuse and that kind of environment, so I had to get out. That’s what the cover was about. It was about honoring the fact that we did this journey together. She was the reason I went to Idol. She’s the reason why I blew up and had the opportunity to have this career that I’m starting.

RATED R&B: How do you balance motherhood with your career?

I just make sure that when I’m not working, I give my undivided attention to my daughter. A lot of the times she will travel with me, so I’m really not away from her all that often. It helps that I have a good support system. I have my sister, my mom and my dad. We all just make sure she’s in a very loving, comfortable environment. My mom is my travel babysitter so she’s always with someone she knows.

Get La’Porsha Renae’s debut album Already All Ready here.

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From 2008: R&B Albums That Turn 10 This Year

Another ten years has caught up with us in the realm of R&B music.

Let’s jog your memory for a minute. For starters, 2008 saw Mariah Carey touch the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for the 18th time with “Touch My Body.” Usher showed his strength by “Moving Mountains,” while Beyoncé led ladies to the club, singing, “If you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it.”

We heard the debut projects from Day26, Jennifer Hudson, Tiffany Evans and Jazmine Sullivan. Also, 2008 ended listeners music drought from veterans Deborah Cox, Ashanti, Keith Sweat and Brandy.

Rated R&B has compiled a list of 31 R&B/soul albums that celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2018.

Randomness: On November 4, 2008, Barack Obama won presidency, becoming the first African-American to be elected as President of the United States.

Raheem DeVaughn — Love Behind the Melody
Release Date: January 15
Record Label: Jive Records
Singles: “Woman,” “Customer” and “Text Messages”

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Interview: Tamar Braxton Talks Happiness, Lesson Learned This Year and Holiday Favorites

Tamar Braxton is an open book, especially in her music. From songs like “Raise the Bar” and “White Candle” to “Broken Record” and “King,” the Grammy-nominated singer knows how to pen the ups and downs of love.

In late September, the Maryland native released her fourth and last album, Bluebird of Happiness. The 11-track set unfolded the private love stories with her estranged husband and former manager, Vincent Herbert.

As a special guest on The Great Xscape Tour, Braxton soothes her wounded love scars by addressing her true feelings on stage. With profound performances of “Blind” and “My Man,” her fans get to witness her being vulnerable, yet buoyant during her healing process.

Rated R&B caught up with Braxton backstage after her 45-minute set at the Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, SC to talk about her last album, happiness, her holiday favorites and more.

Check out the interview below.

RATED R&B: You’re currently on The Great Xscape Tour. What’s been your favorite or most memorable moment so far?

TAMAR: I think the most memorable moment was when Kandi and Tiny were in my dressing room in North Carolina while the Alabama game was going on. Of course everyone in the city was gone to that game but we managed to still sell out. We were like, “Oh my God, can you believe that we are here? We really made it. We really did it.” Tiny and I always said we wanted to do this since we were younger. We just didn’t know it would be like this.

RATED R&B: “Blind” is moving up on the urban AC radio chart. Can we expect a visual for the song in the near future?

TAMAR: Well, that’s a long story but I’m going to say yes. There were a lot of obstacles when we put out Bluebird of Happiness that we didn’t expect to happen, but they did and we had to put it out anyway. There was a movie attached to this album but it got detoured. We’re trying to fix it now. We’re playing the waiting game.

RATED R&B: Is there another single choice in mind if the video for “Blind” doesn’t come out?

TAMAR: I don’t know. I always wanted either the Yo Gotti record “Hol’ Up” or “The Makings of You” to be singles. We’ll see.

RATED R&B: Speaking of “The Makings of You,” that record along with “Pick Me Up,” are just some of the many songs on Bluebird of Happiness with incredible samples or interpolations of timeless R&B records. Which record took the longest to get cleared?

TAMAR: I honestly did not have any pushback at all. In the past it does take a long time. I think producers went into this record prepared themselves for it [laughs]. It’s so funny the Gladys Knight record came up though. I’ve been knowing her for a very long time. Her son wanted to take me to the prom back in the day [laughs]. I explained to her what the song meant to me and how Claudine is one of my favorite movies. She was like “Of course, darling.” Curtis Mayfield’s estate was so generous too.

RATED R&B: What makes Tamar Braxton happy?

TAMAR: What makes me happy is being around good people, laughing and smiling — not having any drama because I don’t have time for it. During our show prayer today, I was saying, “God thank you so much for such a great group people” because we have absolutely no drama. Also, being a good mother to my son Logan. I believe co-parenting with Vince and getting along with him to make sure Logan has a stable family environment is important in making me happy.

RATED R&B: On each album, your sound matures and your writing abilities continue to become more superb. How has your evolution as an artist helped you evolve personally and professionally?

TAMAR: I’ve always been a stickler on professionalism [laughs]. But personally, I think I am more honest about my feelings and how I truly feel. I have no problem telling you how I truly feel. It’s something about telling the truth that is liberating. I know now that there’s a way to deliver it [laughs]. The only time you find the truth to be offensive is when you’re not ready for it. You have to be ready for it. You have to be ready for evolving. Honesty is what helps us evolve. That’s what works for me.

RATED R&B: You are very active on social media. With you having such a huge following, how do you deal with any negativity that comes your way?

TAMAR: I take it as an opinion. I don’t know you, so I’m not going to feed into you. The only time that you have real negativity is when you feed into it. Most of the time these people don’t know what they’re talking about. But like I said on stage tonight, “People are always going to have something to say. You just might as well live your best life to the way you want to live it because everyone is going to have a comment.” So however you feel, God bless you but this is what works for me [laughs].

RATED R&B: With 2017 coming to an end, what’s one lesson you’ve learned this year?

TAMAR: For me, not to put yourself down. Don’t beat up on yourself. I remember when I use to beat up on myself constantly. Instead of looking at the things that I did achieve, I looked at the things I didn’t. It took away from the overall pure happiness that I wanted to achieve. I couldn’t get there if I constantly beat myself up. It’s almost like I was my own hater [laughs]. I already have people on social media saying negative things about me, why do I need to add to it? So you have to be your biggest cheerleader and believe in yourself. You have to get to a point where you don’t care and just do you.

RATED R&B: So the holidays are here. I know that you’re a foodie. What’s your favorite holiday dish?

TAMAR: Chitlins [laughs]. My mom pulls the membrane out so the house isn’t stinking. I haven’t had it this year because I haven’t had a Thanksgiving dinner yet.

RATED R&B: Favorite holiday song?

TAMAR: I would have to say “The Christmas Song.” It doesn’t get any better than Nat King Cole, my sister [Toni Braxton’s], Mariah [Carey’s] and Whitney [Houston’s] versions.

RATED R&B: Favorite holiday movie?

TAMAR: Right now it’s Caillou’s Holiday Movie. I’ve seen it a 150,000 times thanks to Logan [laughs].

RATED R&B: Favorite childhood Christmas gift?

TAMAR: The Nintendo Power Pad. It was when Nintendo first came out and they had these little blocks that you could run on and jump over. It was the bomb [laughs]. Everybody is missing out now [laughs].

Make Tamar Braxton’s final album, Bluebird of Happiness, a holiday stocking stuffer this season. The new album is available everywhere.

Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

En Vogue Releases New Single ‘Rocket’

Legendary R&B group En Vogue is back with a brand new song called “Rocket.” The infectious tune was penned by Ne-Yo and was produced by Curtis ‘Sauce’ Wilson (Brandy, K. Michelle, Celine Dion).

“This summer we had the pleasure of touring with Ne-Yo in Australia and he’s truly a singer’s songwriter,” En Vogue said in a press release. “We’re honored to have the opportunity to put our signature sound on a song from one of the most talented artists and composers today.”

“Rocket” is lifted from En Vogue’s comeback album, Electric Cafe, which is set to release on March 30, 2018 via Entertainment One. The highly-awaited album will include production from Raphael Saadiq, Dem Jointz, and longtime En Vogue producers Denzil Foster and Thomas McElroy.

Listen to “Rocket” below.

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