The time for Brandy’s solo return to the charts is almost here and the diva has lit the fuse of excitement among her eager fanbase. In a candid new interview with YRB magazine, Brandy shared several details about her upcoming ‘Two Eleven’ album, such as how she chose the record’s title and how she plans to expand her unique sound with the project.
Working with songwriters such as Sean Garrett and Frank Ocean, Brandy has crafted ‘Two Eleven’ to target fans of Hip-Hop, Pop and R&B. Of course, she hopes to achieve her goals via the guidance of her new “angel,” the late Whitney Houston.
Read what Brandy had to say about ‘Two Eleven’ and see more images from her YRB photoshoot below:
On her ‘Two Eleven’ album title:
Management insisted that no questions be asked about the loss of [Whitney Houston], but Brandy was quick to reference her, explaining that she was important enough to inspire Two Eleven’s title. “Some of the titles I was working with were Rebirth, Reincarnation, Reinvention, Resurrection… I just felt like Two Eleven describes all of that. It’s the day I was born, and each year, I evolve and change with time,” she says.
“It also has a whole new meaning to it because I gained my angel. My icon is my angel now. It’s all tied in there and I just think it best represents who I am and the responsibilities I have moving on.”
On the songs included on ‘Two Eleven’:
Shying away from the smooth piano-infused sound of Human, Brandy roughs up her sound on Two Eleven, maintaining the powerful productions of previous records but mashing in genres outside of her comfort zone. “It’s definitely R&B, but it has the crossover appeal. It’s grittier, it’s edgier, it’s just different type of R&B. It’s not your regular smooth, soft with the beat type music,” she describes. “It’s just taking risks and hearing how I sound over different types of music, and I wanted an album that different people can listen to. Not just R&B, but pop and hip-hop. I wanted everyone to have something that they can listen to on this album.”
Part of her evolution comes in the form of the team involved on Two Eleven. Normally, Brandy aligns with a particular producer such as Timbaland or Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins to helm the bulk of an LP, and uses additional beatsmiths to color the gaps. But for Two Eleven, she’s piecing together a versatile offering of “gritty” R&B with pop and hip-hop overtones, working with a spread of musicians to expand her sound.
Notable contributions come from Odd Future’s resident crooner Frank Ocean, who previously penned “1st & Love” off of Human under his government name Christopher Breaux. For “Scared of Beautiful” Ocean lends his writing chops for a deeper cut about a woman coming to terms with her beauty.
“His music speaks volumes, and I was able to experience that before everyone else knew,” she says. “I always knew he was really special and I just wanted to see how we could vibe, what we could come up with together in the studio this time around. He’s just a genius. I think his songs have so much substance and so much depth, and you need that on an album as well.”
On her move to RCA Records:
While self-imposed, the hiatus from her solo career came after departing from Epic Records, Brandy took the opportunity to breathe – she’d been active in music for more than a decade – and make her home at a label that would back her recordings and creativity – no questions asked. It’s at RCA where she found her footing – “They would do everything in their power to get my music out there” – and got her musical career back on track.
Read more on YRB.