There’s no escaping the fact that Kandi, the newest “housewife” on the highly popular Housewives of Atlanta, has made the Georgia peaches that much juicer with the non-stop drama. But she was famous before reality TV. The singer came to fame as a member of the celebrated 90’s group Xscape and then went on to gain success as an award winning songwriter. The plaques on her wall read like a Billboard top 100 of who’s who in music as she has worked with the biggest names in music including Destiny’s Child, Mariah Carey, Alicia Keys, Usher Fantasia, Whitney Houston and many more. These days the single mother spends her time running her own label Kandi Koated Entertainment, as well as her clothing store Tags in Atlanta while preparing for the upcoming season of the drama of the Real Housewives of Atlanta. It hasn’t all been peaches-n-cream for the singer as she sits down to tell AllHipHop.com how she’s adjusting to the real life of being a reality star.
AllHipHop.com: So Ms. Atlanta housewife, how are you?
Kandi: (laughs) Oh Lord, here we go!
AllHipHop.com: Yes, that show is dramedy. What made you even want to be on that show in the first place?
Kandi: Well the thing is I never thought I would’ve been on the show, they reached out to me. Actually I was supposed to be doing the show with Tiny and Toya and everything fell apart with that because the producer had decided he just wanted to use those two, so like a week later my friend Derrick J, you know the one on the show with the high heels? He asked me if he could give the people my contact, so at the time he asked me about it I was like I’m already doing something but he was like I’m gonna tell them to call you anyways and it just so happened that they ended up calling and asked to meet with me right after I ended up not doing the other show so it made me more open minded to it because I was already thinking I was gonna be doing that other show.
AllHipHop.com: That’s kinda odd because it does seem like you would be a better fit for the other show.
Kandi: Well I don’t know I mean really I was just kinda behind the scenes just chilling, doing my own thing and Tiny was like ‘yo you want to do this show w/me and I was like cool and then it worked out where the producer was like naw I just want to use them and that was fine because I didn’t want to hinder her opportunity or anything, and plus she had brought me in at the last minute it wasn’t like I was in it from jump. But everything happens for a reason.
AllHipHop.com: So you and Tiny are still close?
Kandi: Yes, thats my girl, we’ve been cool forever, like half our lives.
AllHipHop.com: So did they just want to focus on the celebrity baby mama angle for that show?
Kandi: I don’t really know because I didn’t really know the producer like that, they had met with him before she brought me into the picture so I didn’t know if he was just cool with them, but he did tell them to tell me though that that was one of the biggest mistakes he made so hind site is 20/20; but that did kinda made me feel good (laughs). But I do believe everything works out the way its supposed to and honestly had it not been for her opening up my mind to being on a show I probably wouldn’t even have been open to the producers at Housewives because I would’ve never in a million years thought they would’ve called me for that show.
AllHipHop.com: Its funny to me that the fact that people have been waiting for Xscape to reunite since the 80’s but you and Tiny want to come together to do a reality show instead of an album.
Kandi: Well she and I have done music together since the group and at one point we wanted to do a duo project so we had worked on that for awhile, but we could never really get it going like we wanted it to but she’s gonna be on my album. We do have a song together thats gonna be on my album, and the group that she has this OG girls, I’m gonna do some songs for her for that so we work together still musically its just not with Xscape.
AllHipHop.com: Your songwriting skills are amazing and I must say, no disrespect but anyone who can make Kim a pop-star deserves a Grammy because thats skill beyond reproach, but is it disheartening to be able to successfully pen hits for others when you haven’t had the same success for yourself as an artist?
Kandi: Definitely, it bothered me with the album that I did in 2001, when I had the single Don’t Think I’m Not it just seemed like nothing came together right for myself when I was doing it as a solo artist not like I wanted it to. I mean I had some good songs on the album but at the time I got some hits out on other people and of course you want the same thing to happen for yourself so it was disappointing when the album didn’t do well. The single did fairly well but as an album it didn’t do what I would have liked it to do and at first I kinda went threw this period of oh forget it I don’t even want to sing anymore and I kinda just laid back and continued to write songs because financially thats what was really doing it for me, and I was cool with just chilling But when you have that little thing in you thats like naw I should be doing this right now like every time I go to a concert and stuff like that and i see people on stage performing it makes me miss it.
AllHipHop.com: So does it perpetuate those feelings when you look at the fact that your success came now as a reality star versus a singer?
Kandi: No, it doesn’t really matter like that, because right now its not like I’m the first artist to have a reality show and it brings more attention to everything else I’m doing and actually the reality show brought attention to the fact that a lot of people didn’t even know I could act until they saw that Vagina Monologue and that even has opened some doors so you know I’m happy because the show is bringing attention back to my music.
AllHipHop.com: Now I was watching the Wendy Williams Show and she mentioned something about you being the messy housewife all of a sudden, whats all that about?
Kandi: I don’t know what that’s all about I know originally I guess it had started with Sandra Rose but I don’t know where that came from. I saw the article where she said I’m losing all my friends and I’m like where they get that because I have the same friends, some of them from middle school. We still BFF’s. I haven’t lost any [friends] matter of fact I’ve gained a couple new ones, just a couple though cause I don’t like a whole bunch of new people. (laughs) She said I was trying to get the ladies kicked off the show, which is definitely not true. I don’t know any of the others women’s business. The only one I might know about is Kim and thats because me and her are cool and I definitely wouldn’t want her kicked off the show, so that was false.
And I don’t even talk to the producers of the show anymore than the other girls do. The producers called all of us recently just because they’re getting ready to start the show back and they just asked what I was doing. They didn’t ask me about the other girls so I don’t understand how I got to be the diva all of a sudden. To keep it real I know the show is not just good because I’m on it, the show is good because we have some real crazy personalities and together it makes the show funny so I don’t want anybody leaving the show, everybody combined is what makes the show good.
AllHipHop.com: How are you and Ms. Nene getting along?
Kandi: We don’t see each other so we don’t talk. We did an autograph signing together but thats it. I don’t see her. I don’t have nothing bad to say about her, I respect her but you know I definitely believe she knows what works for television so ain’t knocking her, she got a book out of the whole situation and shes making the situation work for her and I think thats a good thing.
AllHipHop.com: And what has the show done for you? I know its invited the world into parts of your life that you may have wanted to keep private so how are you handling that?
Kandi: Some of the things I do feel like it lets people too much into your life like reading some of the things the blogs say about me and it makes me like dang do I really even want to do this? I was doing just fine before these people called me to do this show do I really want to deal with this because sometimes people just be so flat out wrong and I just want to blast off and say my piece but that usually makes things worse. So sometimes I don’t want to deal with all that negativity but at the same time good things come out of it too because I do get a lot of love from the show too and I appreciate that so I just say the good comes with the bad.
AllHipHop.com: Well of course one big part of your story on the show was the loss of your ex-fiancee AJ and definitely our condolences to you and his family but are you ready to get back out there and start dating yet?
Kandi: Ummmm, I’m dating, I’m not dating anyone right now, but I date. The thing that people don’t realize though is that AJ and I had broken up before the show even aired back in June, but we couldn’t say that because that would mess up the show. So I was already dating, but not on a major level because you can only do so much because being in the public eye people think they know whats going on in your life when what they’re seeing is actually what happened months prior to whats happening now. (To be continued…)