“Full Moon was when I realized that I wanted to step it up vocally from Never Say Never. I wanted the vocals to be better. I wanted the songs to be better. I just wanted to give the fans something they had never heard before. And of course, around then I was getting older. This was a different sound for both Rodney and me. When I was in the studio with Rodney I knew we were doing something special [particularly on ‘What About Us?’]. I knew Rodney was special and different. He got me as an artist and was willing to try different things with me. I’m not afraid of anything when it comes to the music. I’ll sing anything just to see how it sounds.
‘What About Us?’ felt good to me. I loved the writers on that song—Kenisha Pratt, LaShawn Daniels, and Nora Payne—and the way everybody came together. It’s funny because I have different ways to approach a song. Not every track needs a gospel run or melody. So I always sing the song the way it makes me feel. That’s why you hear the different tones come out of me. I tend to express what’s going on in my life in my music.
I worked with the Neptunes, but it really didn’t fit the concept of the album. At the time my formula was one producer setting the foundation for an entire album. I think the Neptunes would have been that type of [production unit]. My voice would have sounded differently with Pharrell’s music. But I just felt like at that time where I was and where the album was the sound didn’t fit Full Moon. But I would have loved to work on an entire album with the Neptunes.
The birth of my daughter Sy'rai really affected me as a person. My responsibilities and my experiences with unconditional love…I had never loved anything or anybody the way I love my daughter. So I’m different as a person, but my work ethic was still high. I was 23-year-old going on 24 at the time. And she added love and responsibility to my life.”