Exclusive: Brandy Talks ‘Two Eleven,’ Compliments from Chris Brown, & Falling in Love

“No gimmicks, real R&B music,” says Brandy while describing her sixth album Two Eleven. The 33-year-old songstress is not playing games this time around, assembling an all-star cast of collaborators including Sean Garrett, Frank Ocean, Chris Brown, Rico Love, Jim Jonsin, Bangladesh, Tha Bizness, and more.

The album doesn’t drop until October 16, but the support has been pouring in from her fans and peers. “I kinda forgot what that felt like,” says Brandy, who topped the charts at the age of 15 with her self-titled debut.

In addition to her career, her love life is also having a resurgence these days. Just when she had given up on love, she reconnected with music executive Ryan Press. “He loves me for every flaw. He accepts me as who I am and he can see me for who I am,” says Brandy of her beau, who inspired her second single “Wildest Dreams.”

With her boyfriend sitting by her side, Brandy opened up to about being embraced once again, compliments from her collaborator Chris Brown, and falling in love. Plus, will she be reuniting with Timbaland and Rodney Jerkins on this album? Find out in Part 1 of our exclusive interview.

You’re a veteran in the game. Does it feel any different now?
I’m just excited. I think I’m just happy to be doing this and to receive the love that I’ve been receiving is just amazing. It’s amazing to check my Twitter and to see all the love, so that feels good. I kinda forgot what that felt like. And to have so many people that are on board and people calling me and saying, the record is that and that, it’s been so long I kinda forgot. It’s great to remember and to get that feeling again of people appreciating what you do and your music.

People are really rooting for you. Do you get that feeling as well?
I do. I really do. That’s crazy. I root for people. For other artists and the core fans to be proud for me is really a blessing. I don’t take it for granted. I’m really grateful and really appreciative of everybody showing me love. It wasn’t always like that for me, so I do appreciate that.

So the album has an official release date of October 16…
Finally, right? A real release date.

Is it done?
The album is done.

Do you know how many tracks are going to be on there?
We’re gonna probably try to do 12 tracks on the main album and then for the deluxe album, we probably wanna do 15 or 16.

How would you describe this record?
It’s just an R&B album, a rhythm and blues album. That’s what it is. No gimmicks, real R&B music.

How does it compare to your previous albums?
I don’t think it does compare. I think it is it’s own thing, which is a great thing. I don’t like to stay the same. I can just say that I guess the sameness would be the fact that it’s R&B. This album is different though. It’s a little bit sexier than my previous albums—very vibed out, and it’s versatile. It has so many different R&B sounds and different R&B records on there. I got a chance to work with different people more than I did in the past because in the past, it was pretty much one producer that I would work with and I didn’t really get a chance to explore a lot of different talents. I was able to do that with this album. Of course, Sean Garrett is like the main writer on the album, but just producer-wise, everybody gave something different for it.

Was “Wildest Dreams” inspired by your boyfriend, Ryan Press?
Yeah. He’s a knucklehead because he’s staring at me right now. [Tells Ryan: Can you leave so I can talk about you? Thank you.] Sean Garrett wrote the song and he noticed our connection and we told him how we met and what happened. I told him how at one point I kinda gave up on love. It was just not working for me in that category. So I said, “Well, I’m just gonna be single forever. It’s just gonna be me and my daughter.” I reconnected with [Ryan] because I had met him before, we kinda fell in love. Basically the song is just about me feeling like, “Wow. I can’t believe this is really happening.” He loves me for every personality I have. He loves me for every flaw. He accepts me as who I am and he can see me for who I am. He’s dope for that. I see him too. So, never in my wildest dreams…

Did you get in the studio with Timbaland again?
I was supposed to work with Timbaland, but our schedules didn’t connect. It sucked because Timbaland is like one of my favorite producers.

What about Rodney Jerkins?
We didn’t [work together], but I would love to work with Rodney again. I hear he’s doing some amazing stuff now and I would love to get back in with him. That’s a never-ending relationship. I will get back in the studio with him at some point.

Chris Brown called you one of the best female vocalists and an inspiration. What do you think of that compliment?
Dope, really dope. When I saw that he tweeted that, I didn’t want him to get no backlash for that and I was like, “Oh my God, that was so sweet of him to tweet that and to actually say that to me.” It makes me feel shy and it makes me blush because he’s so great and he’s such a great entertainer and his music is awesome. So to come from someone who has talent and can recognize someone else’s gift, it feels great. It feels good to hear my inspiration in his music and that makes me feel good. This is why I do what I do. You want to inspire people and you definitely want to inspire other artists and help them find their voice. This is why you do what you do.

Did you work with Chris on any other tracks on the album aside from “Put It Down”?
He wrote a song called “Slower” for me that he wrote with his artist Sevyn. She’s also incredible. Oh my God, I can’t wait until her stuff comes out. It’s a sexy song that he wrote. It reminds me of “Angel in Disguise,” an old song I did on the Never Say Never album. It reminds me of that type of sound and I think the core fans are going to get a kick out of that. The fact that Chris and Sevyn wrote it, I think they’re gonna love it even more.

Look for Part 2 of our interview with Brandy next week.