“I was just fooling around with Timbaland in the studio when he heard me rap. He actually wanted me to rap on his record, but I was like, ‘Yeah, but this is just something I do for fun…this is not something I do professionally.’ I looked at him like, ‘Really???’ [laughs] But he liked it. He wanted [my MC name] to be Bran Nu because that’s also my nickname. He wanted that to be my name on the record because he didn’t want anybody to know that it was me. Tim felt that if people just would have heard me without the Brandy name attached to it then they would have better accepted it.
Hip-hop means everything to me. It’s a language…it’s a feeling. There was a time I listened to hip-hop more than I listened to R&B. And it’s still so important to me in my life. To have been able to collaborate with hip-hop artists at an early age and have respect for it was great. To work with someone like a Timbaland [who has done both R&B and hip-hop], he brings that hip-hop element out of me.
My new album is definitely going to be R&B, which I’m really excited about because I haven’t done R&B in a long time. I just want to do R&B that is very forward where it’s not just what you hear on the radio now. I want it to be different. I’m going to be working with as many producers as I can. I want to connect with a variety of producers. I don’t want to stick with my same formula of working with one specific person. Why not work with everyone who wants to work with me? I really want to work with different writers and producers like Ester Dean and Rico Love…people that I really feel that can really get what I want to say out. I want to make sure that this is an album that the fans really deserve. The fans are going to stick with you no matter what you do. You can at least give them your best.
My family has helped me through my darkest times. I prayed a lot. It took a lot for me to get to this point. I’ve stopped discussing [the accident]. I can’t go into it in detail. I think I’ve said all I’ve had to say about it. (Brandy settled a wrongful death suit with the family of Awatif Aboudiha in 2009.) But my family has meant everything to me. My daughter is just a great person. When I was eliminated from Dancing With The Stars, she cried and really went through it. She was more upset than I was [laughs]. I had to calm her down and let her know I was okay.
It feels good to be known and appreciated. When people come up to me and say, ‘Oh, I love your show (VH1’s Brandy & Ray J: A Family Business), I’m happy for the kind words. I’m flattered when I hear people say that I’m their favorite vocalist. It feels good. It’s why I do what I do. I just want to continue to be an inspiration to everybody. That’s why I’m going to put everything I have into this new record. I want to continue to move people and inspire them as much as I can.”