From her new boyfriend — Quentin Richardson of the Los Angeles Clippers — to producers Kanye West and Timbaland, to a certain critically acclaimed group from Great Britain, Brandy's new album is deeply inspired by the men floating in her circle.
"It's called Afrodisiac," the singer said last week as she soaked up the sun in beautiful Montego Bay, Jamaica. "It's about love, it's about passion. It's romantic, and that's where I am in my life right now. I really feel love and passion right now."
Props to the Q-Dog.
Brandy sings literally about love on her first single, "Talk About Our Love," which was produced by Kanye West ("Whom I love, whom I think is a genius," she says). The love Brandy sings about is so strong that it can't be swayed by busybodies poking into her business. "I swear they got some nerve, spreading what they heard," she laments on the cut. "I can't give them no burn/ I can't be concerned with all that talk/ ... That's my word."
"We collaborated and we just came up with a great melody," Brandy said of working with West, who also raps on the single. "It's about two people in a relationship where everybody is in and out of their business, which is something that everybody in a relationship goes through."
Brandy and Kanye play love interests in the song's video. "Kanye is a great person and he's so passionate about his music," she said. "He really believed in this song. He told me this was one of the best songs he's done all year and he really sold it to me: 'Look, you got to do this song.' With that much passion and confidence, I had to do it."
The other beatmaker in Brandy's life is Timbaland, who replaced Rodney Jerkins as her main producer for the new album. "I needed to change my sound, I wanted to explore my versatility and my creativity and my art," she said about parting ways with Jerkins, who helmed most of her last two LPs. "I wanted to do my own thing, and I've always wanted to work with Timbaland."
Timbo provided the singer with a plethora of tracks, one of which she holds especially dear.
"When we hooked up, it was like magic," she gushed. "He let me be me, and I let him be him. One of my favorite songs is called 'Coldplay.' It's definitely inspired by the band Coldplay, whom I love. That song is just raw: It puts me into a position where I am very open and you can hear the struggle and the pain in my voice. It's autobiographical."
Brandy implied that lyrically, she dove into plenty of firsthand experiences for Afrodisiac's material. "Everything I do has something to do with what I've gone through in my life," she said. "I definitely wanted to incorporate that in my art. It makes it more real when you add what's been going on in your life in your music. I've grown and I've gone through some things in my life, and I celebrate that, I honor that."
Afrodisiac is due June 29.