It's Brandy's turn for MTV's This Is How I Made It. She opens up in her segment about the hardships of starting out in her music career, how much of an inspiration Whitney Houston was to her, and how acting was involved and the transition into the field from music. Brandy fans, enjoy!
I would be lying if I said I had high hops for R&B in 2012, but to my surprise I was proven wrong about all the doubts I had for the dying genre. R&B music made its much-needed mark in 2012. With releases from Miguel, Frank Ocean, Keyshia Cole, Brandy, and Alicia Keys all dropped albums that gave new hope to R&B fans all around the world like myself. Rather then jump ship like most R&B artist have done to try to stay relevant with Pop releases and subpar material, which most failed to chart. These artist stuck true to their roots and released quality material. It’s now 2013 and there are some very highly anticipated album dropping this year from both R&B and Hip-Hop acts. So which R&B acts are the ones to watch this year? Well, I'll gladly give you a run down.
Kicking off our list is none other than Tamar Braxton. For those unaware of who Tamar is she is the youngest sister of Toni Braxton if you didn’t put the connection together by their last names. On February 12, Braxton will be releasing her second studio album titled Love and War in over 10 years. Lead by lead single "Love and War," which debuted at number 57 on Billboard Hot 100. I expect this album to a very solid effort from her since she has a very strong roster of songwriters and producers behind her. Plus her husband is Vincent Herbert who manages Lady Gaga.
Chris Brown! Our boy Chris is now working on the follow-up to his album Fortune, which came and went on the charts. His new album is currently still titled Carpe Diem. As of right now its unclear who he is working with and who’s on it, but he has said that fans should expect to hear new music from him this year. Personally I think Brown needs to just take a nice break from the music scene. Dropping generic dance styled songs with auto-tune just isn’t cutting it anymore. Chris needs live life and allow himself to grow into the talented artist I know he can be. His album F.A.M.E. was a solid body of work and the right direction so I hope he continues to show growth from that album to this new one.
Yes, there is a God because Maxwell has confirmed his anticipated follow up to his last album Blacksummers’ night. Maxwell’s new album is titled SUMMERS’ and is set for a winter debut. Saying I'm excited about this album would be an understatement. Maxwell is a tremendously talented artist and one of the reasons why neo soul became so popular. Maxwell recently collaborated for the first time in his career with Alicia Keys on “Fire We Make” off her album Girl On Fire. With his runs, riffs, tone, and passionate singing (melts) I’m looking forward to this album.
This spring the legendary icon and vocal gymnast that is Mariah Carey will be releasing her 14th studio album. Yes, her 14th album, which is far more then most artist have today (unless your Rihanna who drops one every season of the year) and have album been certified diamond, platinum, and one gold. Last summer Mariah dropped her buzz single “Triumphant (Get‘ Em),” which featured Meek Mill and Rick Ross. In a recent interview with YouKnowIGotSoul, Bryan Michael Cox shared that along with Jermaine Dupri they have a total of 10 songs recorded with Mariah. I assume Mariah will release her 1st single once American Idol kicks off January 16th at 8pm on FOX. Get that free promo girl!
Let me just say you don’t book the Super Bowl halftime show and sign a 50 million dollar deal with Pepsi to contribute to your album budget and not have something under your sleeve. I’m convinced Beyonce has a massive 1st single on her hands because she is pulling out all the stops for her return. King Bey has enlisted Hit-Boy, Kanye West, Miguel, The-Dream, Pharrell, Ne-Yo and Ryan Tedder to contribute to her upcoming 5th studio album. Beyonce’s untitled documentary with HBO will reportedly feature footage of her recording the album, which will air February 16th. I’ll just say this now I believe Beyonce will just completely own the music scene this year. This women is about to breath life back into the game I tell you! Expect to see Beyonce’s album drop around the spring with a single set to debut before Super Bowl.
Brandy,Iggy Azalea (who's album has yet to be released), & keri Hilson were just added to the Vh1 Divas lineup of performers for the 2012 show. The show, which saw a revival a few years ago, started in the 90's with Divas of music headlining the show like Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Mary J. Blige and Aretha Franklin. Other performers & presenters for this year's festivities are to be Ledisi, Ciara, MileyCyrus, DemiLevato, KellyRowland, & JordinSparks. The addition of upcoming star Iggy Azalea and the Grammy nominated Keri Hilson, whose debut album was certified a successful Gold plaque, will surely attract viewers to the iconic Vh1 event.
Tonight, BET aired the 2012 Black Girls Rock event from NYC and it featured a flurry of performances from some of urban music's most iconic names right now - Alicia Keys (performing "New Day" & "Girl On Fire" above), Brandy ("Wildest Dreams"), Ciara & Missy Elliott ("One Woman Army", "Sorry", "1, 2 Step", "9th Inning"), and Keyshia Cole ("Trust & Believe"). Also performing was India.Arie & Eric Benet, Anthony Hamilton, and Luke James - and you can catch those performances via Yardie here.
On the count of 3 lets all give Brandy around of applause *clap clap* (no to the Waka Flocka joke? Ok). If you haven’t noticed Brandy has been working very hard to make sure the general public knows she has an album out. The singer has had appearance on every major show you can think of all week. As a result Brandy has achieved a victory.
Two Eleven is projected to sell between 65k to 70k copies within the next week. As a result this will secure her a spot in the top 5 of the Billboard 200. Due to the current climate of the music industry these numbers are actually pretty good, and especially for an urban act. So please help support our industry and let’s start buying more albums. This is a great album and a most have if your an R&B head like myself.
Stand out Tracks: Hardly Breathing, Scared of Beautiful, What You Need, Slower, and Paint This House.