The mother of one, 9-year-old Sy’rai, talks about her sixth solo album “Two Eleven” and the significance of the tile, upcoming tour with Monica, and working with Frank Ocean.
Check out some excerpts from the interview:
On choosing the title for her new CD:
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 working with Monica almost a decade after “The Boy Is Mine”:
This is more than just a song; it’s an event. It’s the reunion of two artists that made history together. It’s bigger than the song itself. Of course I wanted to come out first on my own so I can stand on my own two feet, but who knew that this Monica thing would come along? I couldn’t say no to that. That would be stupid. The first time [With the Boy Is Mine], we didn’t know each other. We just went to the studio and recorded the song. There was no chemistry there, really, because we didn’t really have any time to sing with each other.
“We would be dumb if we didn’t do a tour. Something has to happen in order for that not to happen, something where you’d have to be like, ‘Oh, they called me to be in Avatar 3. Sorry Monica, I gotta do that movie!’ That would be the only thing that would stop me.”
On deciding to work with newcomer Frank Ocean:
“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 the album’s new sound:
“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.”