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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 15 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 46
Tamar Braxton is doin' it for herself
Arts & Entertainment
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Tamar Braxton is doin' it for herself

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

JOHN LEGEND w/TAMAR BRAXTON
PARAMOUNT THEATRE
November 25


Before you ask: Yes. She's Toni Braxton's sister. And before you assume Tamar Braxton landed a career by riding on big sis' coattails, I'm here to tell you that this girl did it with her own voice and her own talent. A recording artist, reality TV star, talk show co-host, touring musician, and new mommy aren't easy things to juggle, but it's all in a day's work for the Maryland-born performer. Braxton landed one of 2013's hottest R&B tracks, the sultry ballad 'Love and War' from the album by the same name, and she has just released a romantic holiday-themed record, Winter Loversland. She opens for Grammy winner John Legend at the Paramount Theatre on November 25 (for tickets, go to www.stgpresents.org). By phone, I spoke with Tamar Braxton in Atlanta and here's what this multi-tasking, super-friendly woman discussed with me inside The Music Lounge.

Albert Rodriguez: Have you been to Seattle before?

Tamar Braxton: I have been to Seattle. Seattle is cold [laughs].

Rodriguez: Do you have any other memories of your time in Seattle?

Braxton: Yes, I eat really good in Seattle. Good seafood. Oh, and I went to a Seahawks game and that was fun. But I remember eating good more than anything.

Rodriguez: Set up this performance with John Legend. Will it be a long set, will you be doing all the songs from Love and War, and will you also do songs from your first album?

Braxton: Unfortunately, no. I only have 30 minutes. I don't even know what I'm doing yet, to be honest, because we haven't had an opportunity to prepare for this tour because it's been too crazy schedule-wise. I'll do as many songs as possible. As a matter of fact, we were just talking about having two or three different kinds of sets, where each city will have a different show.

Rodriguez: Were you aware early on in your career that you had a Gay fan base?

Braxton: Not just in my career, but my life. I had a best friend, my 'Judy' in the sixth grade, and I didn't know. He was my best friend. That's who I've always been. I've always been connected because I went through similar things in my life. I got bullied, I got picked on because I was different. I wasn't Gay, but I was different, so I got picked on just as much. I think that's why I connect because I know what it feels like for people to judge you on the spot, on site - they don't care how you feel, they don't care if it hurts your feelings or not. I'm very sensitive to that. But I have fun, too, with all my 'Judys,' my Gay friends. We understand each other.

Rodriguez: Now that a lot of couples are getting married in California, have you been invited to a Gay wedding yet?

Braxton: I haven't. I would love to sing at one, that would be so great! And all my Gay friends are single, honey. They are looking! [laughs]

Rodriguez: What do you like to shop for the most?

Braxton: I love shoes, I really do have a passion for shoes. Lately, I haven't been buying a lot of bags because I don't like to carry my bags around anymore, they're too heavy. That was my go-to - I would go look at bags. But I really, really love shoes for some reason.

Rodriguez: It begs the question, how big is your shoe collection?

Braxton: There's lots of shoes! [laughs] It's very necessary to switch it up. I have a couple hundred pair, probably.

Rodriguez: Do you have a favorite John Legend song?

Braxton: I do. And I have a funny John Legend story. He has no idea that I'm obsessed with him. I remember hearing 'Ordinary People,' which is my favorite John Legend song. I was in Chicago, and I was in the car with two of my good friends and they played this record and I just kept making them play it over and over and over and over again. I was like, 'Who is this person?' 'Where is this voice coming from?' And I've been obsessed since that day. He doesn't know it, so don't you tell him [laughs]. But 'Ordinary People' is my favorite John Legend song.

Rodriguez: Since you're touring together, is there a chance the two of you will collaborate on something?

Braxton: I hope so. I hope he asks me. I would be more than willing to.

Rodriguez: You'll be on the road for Thanksgiving, but where will you spend Christmas?

Braxton: Vincent [her husband, Vincent Herbert] and I, we like Christmas at home. That's the time when we get to chill out, do whatever, watch TV, and be a regular, normal couple. I like Christmas at home - I'm a real festive girl. I do Christmas trees all over the house with Christmas lights, I make cookies. I'm real corny like that. I don't like going away for Christmas.

Rodriguez: Do you have any advice for drag queens doing Tamar Braxton?

Braxton: Roxxxy Andrews did an amazing job. She did it the best, so far, that I've seen. Just be as over the top as you can, and, you know, hit it.

Rodriguez: Are you going to release any more singles from the album?

Braxton: Absolutely. I just shot the 'Hot Sugar' video, which actually should be finished in a couple of days, and the 'All the Way Home' video we're shooting next week, supposedly. We're just getting started! I am putting together my Christmas album, so in between things you're gonna get a little Tamar Braxton Christmas.

Rodriguez: Who is your all-time favorite music diva?

Braxton: Mariah Carey. Mariah is my idol. I love Mariah Carey!

Rodriguez: And what's your favorite Mariah Carey song?

Braxton: 'Fantasy' is one of my favorites. 'I Don't Wanna Cry' is a favorite. [ She closes out our interview by singing a few bars of 'Always Be My Baby.']

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Tamar Braxton is doin' it for herself
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