Brandy emerges from her cocoon, conquers her demons on ‘B7’

Gary Gerard Hamilton

NEW YORK (AP) — When Brandy began crafting her newest album nearly three years ago, her intent was both benevolent and selfish. She wanted to give R&B fans the timeless music she’s been synonymous with, while also gain liberation from emotional bondage.

She achieved her goal with B7 — but she wasn’t prepared for the raw and emotional way the lyrics poured out of her during the creative process. It’s why, for the first time, the Grammy winner co-wrote every song on the album and co-produced the majority of the project.

“This is a heartbreak album, on top of me also finding my voice, finding my self-love,” the R&B star said. “My heart was just on blast … I’ve never been this creative in terms of music, just with writing and producing. It just seemed like I was going into a different part of myself, discovering things about myself I didn’t really hone (in on) before.

“What’s the point of doing music if I can’t tell my story? If I can’t be honest within my own lyrics? If I can’t use music to heal my own life?” Brandy questioned as she became emotional. “So, I just took a chance. And I feel like my life is so much better.”

B7, released last month, marks a triumphant return for the singer whose previous album dropped eight years ago. Saving All My Love — a title referencing her mentor, the legend Whitney Houston — opens the album as Brandy explained her absence: “Sorry for my tardy/Long time/I was brokenhearted/Heartache, I’m guarded.”

“I had to get my heart together. I had to get my mind together,” said Brandy, who had her journal open during this interview with The Associated Press. “I’m no good when my spirit is off.”

Singer/actress Brandy poses for a portrait in Calabasas, California on August 16 to promote her current album ‘B7’. PHOTO: AP