Kandi Burruss Plans for Life Beyond 'Housewives of Atlanta'
The R&B singer chats about the new season of Housewives, her new show and her business ventures
Kandi Burruss is about her business. Not only does she have over a decade of experience in the music industry as a performer and Grammy Award-winning songwriter, she is also the star of hit reality television show Real Housewives of Atlanta. Not to mention, Burruss runs Tags, a boutique clothing store in Atlanta and is the creator of a new sex toy line Bedroom Kandi. And if that’s not enough business for you, Burruss is also the star of Bravo’s newest reality competition series The Kandi Factory.
Loop 21 caught up with Burruss in between studio times and business meetings to find out about the latest season of Real Housewives of Atlanta, set to premiere on Sunday, Nov. 6, her new spin-off and which housewife she wouldn’t mind going into the studio with.
Loop 21: How did the idea of a talent competition come about?
Kandi Burruss: I pitched the idea to Andy [Cohen] at Bravo this time last year. I had two ideas that I was talking to him about doing. Basically, so many people came up to me everyday after I helped Kim [Zolciack] on the show saying, ‘Oh, if you helped her I know you can help me.’ So I kind of pitched it to him like, ‘Hey, what if we did a show where we gave regular, every day people the opportunity to work with me and I can turn them into what is accepted as far as a major artist?’
...A lot of big artists who sell millions of records may not be the best singers in the world, but they have hot songs or they have the right image. So with The Kandi Factory we’re going to take the different people that we choose and help them get a new record, a new image, a new video and turn them into something. And hopefully I can live up to the challenge.
Loop 21: You’ve helped many careers from TLC to Lawrence. Who haven’t you worked with that you would like to?
Burruss: Mary J. Blige. I would love to work with her. I’ve always wanted to do something for Janet Jackson. I almost had the opportunity one time, but it didn’t go through. I love her. I always wanted to do Country so I’d love to do Carrie Underwood or Faith Hill but I just recently had the opportunity to work with Jo Dee Messina.
Loop 21: I heard that! Tell me about what working with Country artists. Is that much different than working with R&B or hip hop artists?
Burruss: It is a little different. First of all, Country music, their writers and producers are in a separate world than the rest of the industry. They’re a small circle. Everybody knows everybody. It’s not easy to get in that circle. On top of that, the way they work is different. They are more family based. The first time I went to Nashville, years ago, to work and collaborate with some Country writers they were like, ‘Oh yea, you have to be at the studio at 10 am.’ And I was like, ‘10 a.m.?!’ because I was used to going into the studio at 10 o’clock at night and not finish until the wee hours of the morning. But with them, they start at 10 a.m. and finish at 3 o’ clock, even if the song isn’t finished all the way. They’d be like, ‘Oh I’m sorry. I have to go home and cook dinner for my family.’
Loop 21: Would you ever work with Nene Leakes on a track?
Burruss: Actually I would. I wouldn’t say we’re the best of friends, but I don’t consider her an enemy. I said I was pretty much done with working with any reality artists, but just for the fun of it to show what I could do, I would help her if she wanted to. She actually can carry a tune. I’m not saying she’s Whitney Houston, but she definitely can carry a tune, and that’s all I really need.
Loop 21: Where are you hoping that Kandi Koated Nights will grow into? Would you be open to a television show on a cable network?
Burruss: I actually did shoot a real pilot and it was really, really good. The pilot I shot is a lot different than the Internet version of the show. The Internet version of the show, I fell into it. It was something I was doing for fun and all of a sudden we gained a following where people would log on to watch us live every week, and that’s why I continue to do it. I decided I really want to develop it and make it into an actual TV show, which I will.
Loop 21: What does your mother think of another business venture of yours, Bedroom Kandi, the sex toy line?
Burruss: My mom loves it. Most women that I know, that are all grown, have or have had a toy, even if you don’t really use it on a regular basis. My mother says a woman feels the same at 60 as she does at 20 and 30. It’s a legitimate business. It’s something that women really are into, even though they don’t necessarily talk about it publicly. I try to make sure my toy line is a lot more classier and discreet than other lines. I have toys where it looks like a lipstick. You can have that thing in your purse and no one would know was it was. I have another toy that looks like a powder puff in a makeup compact. You’d never know what it was.
Loop 21: On the last season of Real Housewives you said you were looking for a mate, but if not you would throw yourself into work like you always do. You seem to be working a lot these days. Is it safe to assume that you’re not dating anyone right now?
Burruss: I just recently started dating someone. But you’re right, when I first started all of this, I wasn’t in a relationship and I do get extra focused. I told myself I’m not going to allow myself to fall out of my focus just because I’m in a relationship now.
Loop 21: What advice would you give to women who have lost a loved one or their mate due to violence?
Burruss: I never want to focus on the bad things. I feel like if you start thinking about it too much or take too much time, sit in sadness, you can let it overtake you and you’ll fall into a depression. This is not the first time I’ve dealt with a major loss. My first time dealing with a major loss was losing my brother when I was 15. And to me, nothing could hurt me more than that did at that time. I went to school the next day. For me, and everybody deals with loss differently, I have to stay busy because I don’t want to be sad.
Loop 21: What will fans learn about you this season on Real Housewives?
Burruss: I’m in the industry and I’ve been financially stable for a long time. I don’t believe in wasting money and I don’t believe in trying to flaunt and trying to do things for the sake of other people. And I made that comment to some other people who I felt were doing that, who want to flaunt and throw their money around, and I made the statement a few times this year. I didn’t think that was cool. I hope people don’t look at me and think, ‘Oh she’s just hating.’ I hope people really understand. I’m not a hater, just because you get a little check or because you got a little money doesn’t mean you should be wasteful of it. Don’t take it for granted that it’s going to keep coming like that. You don’t start acting different or flipping out on folks or being too boastful; it’s not cool.
Real Housewives of Atlanta premieres Sunday, Nov. 6 at 9/8c.