Hype Hair: That’s funny. So, let’s talk about this album, Crash & Burn. How would you describe your new sound?
Traci Braxton: I would say my new sound is like Jill Scott and Mary J. Blige put together. You still got that ‘round the way girl and everything but also that soul.
HH: And that’s not really happening in music anymore.
TB: Yeah. It’s commercialized.
HH: This is the first time we’ve seen you step out and work on your solo career. When did you know that you wanted to make this project happen?
TB: I wanted to make this project happen for such a long time, even when I wasn’t with my sisters. I could never get in the door because everyone would be like, ‘You don’t sound like Toni.’ They didn’t want to give me my identity. And one day, I was in the office with my manager Cliff Jones, [and] I was just sitting there singing one of the tracks. Cliff was like, ‘You gonna stop playing games, we’re gonna start recording.’ I had to stop sitting on my tail (laughs), and, that’s what I did. We recorded 24 songs over a year. We came to eOne and they wanted to listen to the songs. They heard three songs and after the third song, they were like, ‘We’re signing her.’ A lot of people don’t get that opportunity.
HH: What did Toni say when she heard the album?
TB: Toni gave me so much constructive criticism. Some of it I didn’t feel was positive, but she knows what she’s talking about. This is a six-time Grammy winner.
HH: Well, that’s true. What was the one piece of advice she gave you that stuck with you?
TB: She said to me, ‘Traci, be yourself. Don’t try to sound like anyone else but yourself. Don’t let anyone change you.’ I really kept that.
HH: We know you’re very open and are yourself on the show and in person. But, is there one element of yourself that people would be surprised to hear in your music?
TB: I think my range. I have a pretty serious range. When I’m talking, I have a low register and it’s raspy. But when I’m singing, it’s different.
HH: Do you have a favorite track on the album?
TB: My favorite track is “Passion” because it’s talking about my life. I lost weight, I’m making this album. I’m doing things that I really want to do in my life and [music] is my first love, aside from my husband. It’s my first love. I’m doing what I’ve always been taught to do all my life and I’m fulfilling my dreams.