That’s going to be nuts. It seems that much is to be expected from that compilation album, as well as your upcoming album The Lioness. Tell me about how this album compares to Complex Simplicity.
Paul Poli is not producing it. That’s the first difference. I’m working with a lot of producers, but the base of the sound comes from what I did with Poli. One of the main producers I’ve been working with—Trackademicks—he and his crew call the sound that I’m trying to accomplish Champagne Soul. It’s grown, exquisite, kind of eloquent and luxurious but it’s raw at the same time. It’s that music that makes a woman want to twirl and makes a man want to stop and watch [laughs].
So it’s very sexy and sophisticated?
Yes, it’s sexy and sophisticated but at the same time I’m poppin’ shit. You know what I’m saying? I’ve learned how not to roll my neck and point. Now, I say it in a way that catches a man’s ear and sing so sweetly some shit he really needs to hear.
Will it be a feature-heavy album?
No, no no. More just me. Whatever label mates I feel like I could collab with… but I’m not big on features. I’m still getting people to understand who I am. I want people to understand who I am first, and I am a little selfish. There are people who I would really love to work with like Cee-Lo. Cee-Lo and Rick Ross. Honestly, before I even started to work with Rick Ross I wanted to work with Rick Ross. That would be the only two features I’d be really, really interested in.
You want people to understand who you are as an artist, so what do you want people to learn about or get about you from this next album?
I just want them to be like, ‘She’s so grown and she’s fly as hell!’ [Laughs] Girl, I live in Miami now. My life fell apart. I had a place in LA and in Miami, and I landed on Biscayne Bay in Miami. I can’t complain! I can’t sing songs about breakups, heartbreaks… I can’t do all of that. I can tell you that I was heartbroken and I got through it, you know? I want people to see someone that’s victorious but still touchable, still relatable. I want people to get a real human being. Maybe it can help somebody else be comfortable with who they are.
With this album, I recently read an interview where you said that you wanted to stop writing for other people, why is that?
To be honest, there was one particular incident that just put the nail in the coffin. I was in a writing session once with a really talented artist and the A&R was in there. I just be talking shit, and I was like, ‘Boy, you better stop before I put my booty on you!’ And dude was like, ‘That’s the song! Put My Booty On You!’ I’m thinking it’s bullshit, but I roll with it and I ended up going in the booth and singing something like that. After that, I was like, I quit! That was the nail in the coffin because it’s a lot of my stripping myself. A lot of the things that made me really good were being taken out to please somebody else. Girl, I’m not naturally a people pleaser, so I’m not going to tap dance. If A&R’s, who I love, just let the music makers make good music, it’d be fine. Just let me go off in my corner and be in my zone. If I can write for people in that way, it’s fine. The thing is making music to me is like sex. Just because this dude over here is the greatest pornstar and this girl over here is the best lay in the world doesn’t mean they’re both going to come together and be good together. It’s a chemistry thing. Anything that makes me feel like I don’t want to do music, I get the fuck away from it.
Do you think there’s any artist right now that could lure you back into songwriting or who you think you’d have great chemistry with?
I don’t know. I just want to write songs and give them to people. There are certain voices that I truly love; I love Beyonce’s voice. Honestly, there’s two people that I would really love to write for—Beyonce and Gwen Stefani. To me, it’s just a bucket list type thing.
While I got you talking about R&B artists, what do you feel about R&B and it being a sort of “lost” art?
Pay attention, it’s coming back. I’ve been saying this since TVT was falling apart. Music altogether of a quality is coming back because if you give people eat spam sandwiches over and over again, and one motherfucker comes out with some steak, mashed potatoes and corn, niggas are going to toss aside that spam sandwich! And I think that’s what going on right now. People have forgotten that this art form was really rhythm and blues, touching the soul–speaking into people lives almost like a gospel. People have forgotten and now they’re going to get it again.
There’s just an undeniable emotion that’s tapped into listening to R&B that you can’t get from rap or hip-hop. With that said, who do you think is bringing that classic, soulful R&B back?
Trey Songz. Honestly, for Trey Songz to ride the lane that he has, I think he’s done a great job. There’s records of Trey Songz that I really like. “We Can’t Be Friends” and “Love Faces,” you know… these are real R&B songs. For something more classic, you have Raphael Saadiq. The R&B music is there. As for the women, you have Marsha Ambrosius, Jazmine Sullivan. Monica did a good album of R&B music, and she really pushed the surge of people really singing again, and I love her for that.
Lastly, being from New Orleans and having to experience Hurricane Katrina in some way, what are your feelings about what’s happening in Japan? Can you relate?
That rocked me. That rocked me to see that go on. It hurt my hear a lot to see what happened in Japan, but the thing that was most relatable to me was Haiti. I live here in Miami, so I saw people affected personally. I pick my kids up from school and their little friend will hop in the car and say, ‘They’re still looking for my auntie.’ You know what I mean? That blew my head away. When I saw what happened with Hait, that reminded me a lot of what happened with New Orleans. There’s just something about me being so close to Haiti and living [in Miami] with Haitian people that rocked me a whole lot. I know that Japan is a country that’s a little bit more stable than Haiti. Not saying that I don’t have sympathy for Japan because I really, really do, but I just know that rebuilding the situation in Japan is probably going to be done in a better fashion than what’s going on in Haiti right now.