Kandi, known for penning tracks such as Destiny Child's 'Bills, Bills, Bills,' TLC's 'No Scrubs' and Alicia Keys' 'Jane Doe,' called on crafty song maestros like Ne-Yo to lend a hand for her forthcoming record. The established artists collaborated on 'Me & U,' which samples OutKast's recognizable hit 'Elevators.' While the chanteuse digs the song's vibe, there's one track on the album she particularly favors: the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League-produced 'I Want U.'
"Now this song is talking about [how] I met this guy, and we were cool, we were being friends and then just out of the blue, he was like, 'Look, I'm tired of playing games. I just wanna put myself out there and say I'm really feeling you,'" Kandi tells The BoomBox. "When I came to the studio that day and I heard the music, it just hit me immediately. When you hear everything I'm singing... to know that it's a for-real situation that somebody actually said to me... I love the song."
Never one to bite her tongue, the 34-year-old has relied on music to express the rapture and vexation in her life. However, a quick glance at her album title could leave an observer a bit perplexed, considering the name suggests she sugarcoats her words, whether it be the lyrics she writes or how she represents herself on TV. But, devoted fans know that's not the case. So why did the seasoned vet choose the title?
"I was thinking... like if you have ice cream and you put a candy-coated topping on it, it's like you took something that was good and you made it that much better," Kandi explains. "When I say 'Kandi Koated,' it's like I want to candy-coat your ears. I want to, you know, make something that much sweeter when you listen to it."
A decade since the release of her solo debut, 'Hey Kandi,' the entertainer, who was tapped to join Eric Benet and Fantasia for the 2010 Budweiser Superfest Tour, is moving away from the pop flair of her past works and delivering an effort she says will stand the test of time.
"The music that I'm doing now, I feel like it's timeless, it's classic, it's real R&B," she admits. "[In making 'Kandi Koated,'] I was trying to figure out what type of album I want to do, what type of songs I wanna do. I was thinking about my group Xscape, and I was thinking how a lot of our songs, we had those big ballads and then we had, also, those songs that you could just ride to that had the bump or 808 in it, and that's the sound that I wanted to recreate with this album... I wanted to make a classic album that I could play it 10 years from now and still say 'Ooh, I love that song.'"
Reminiscing over days past with former groupmates Tameka "Tiny" Cottle-Harris, LaTocha Scott and Tamika Scott-Byas is inevitable when Kandi records in the studio. She's been riding solo for years, but that doesn't mean she never gets nostalgic over memories of performing joints 'Who Can I Run To' and 'Understanding' as a team.
"I loved being in a group, to be honest with you," Kandi discloses. "When we hit the stage it was like magic together; like each person in our group could actually sing lead... we all had a song that was a hit that we lead on, each member of the group. I love being a solo artist as well, but it's just something about having that person on stage with you that you could kind of lean on or depend on."