Viewers of the reality series “Braxton Family Values” starring Toni Braxton, her sisters and mother, have been waiting for Tamar, the baby of the family, to make her mark as a solo artist.
Tamar is married to music executive Vincent Herbert, who discovered Lady Gaga, and spends the majority of her camera time complaining about being Toni’s backup singer and not having her own opportunity to shine.
Well, Tamar’s dog days are over. Her new ballad, “Love & War,” that discusses the ups and downs of married life, is No. 4 on the iTunes Store Top 10 Soul Songs chart.
In an exclusive interview with Yahoo! Music, Tamar explains why she chose the emotional slow song as her first single, criticism from her viewers, and why her first album tanked on the charts.
Yahoo! Music: I was going to tease you. On “Braxton Family Values” you’ve been talking about going boom-boom-bap and making a hood rat anthem record, but you switched it up on us. Your first single is a ballad.
Tamar Braxton: I really did want to put out “Hot Suga” but “Love & War” is really necessary to my life, personally. Only because I’ve been in love before, had my feelings hurt before, but I never experienced passion until I met Vince. I’ve never argued or fought before with somebody so much and we love each other so much. We’re so in love, and it’s just the craziest thing. And nobody told me this is what happens when you get married. It was an easy song to write. It was an easy song to record, and I just felt like it was necessary because of the show.
What kind of reaction are you getting from people about the song?
Everybody is loving it. I thought that people would love it but definitely not this fast. I went to bed and woke up and on iTunes it was No. 1. I was like, “Huh? What happened?” I can’t process it myself. Maybe because it’s so personal to me, and it’s my life too. I think there are a lot of people going through what I’m going through.
On the show, we’ve seen you working with different producers. What else will we hear on this album?
Well, “Hot Suga”’s definitely on there. Just like in life it’s important to have a balance, on this album it definitely has a balance. You do kinda have your ratchet, pop music because that’s what I like. And also you have these kind of ballads like “Love & War” because that’s what I’m going through and that’s what I’ve been through. I just think at all times it’s necessary for me to be myself because I tried it other people’s way. I’ve tried singing like somebody else and it never worked for me. The only thing that has ever worked for me was me being me so either you love it or not. Sorry if you don’t like it but it’s all I have to give.
How do you feel about being able to use the show as a platform to let people get to know who you are? Was it the right way to go?
[The new show] “Tamar & Vince” has been a blessing in disguise because I was going to pass on the offer but my husband said, “You know Tamar it’s very important that you show people that you are bigger than just the loud mouth, opinionated little sister of Toni Braxton doo-wop-pop. There’s another side of you. You’re loving, you’re talented and you have a lot to offer. I think it would be a mistake for you not to do it.” I’m glad he talked me into it.
What was your hesitancy to doing another show?
I was very hesitant because who wants more scrutiny. Who wants people to keep pointing the finger at you and saying that, “See, I told you she’s a mess.” So, I didn’t want to keep putting myself through that.
Why do you think your career didn’t take off when you released your first album?
I do believe my first album had great material, and I think a lot of people identified with it because it sounded exactly like Toni Braxton. I was fighting then. I was like, “I don’t think I need to be singing those kinds of songs.” Then again, I gave in. You can say whatever you want to say about Dreamworks but ultimately it was my fault because I gave in. I got behind that booth, and I stood behind that photographer with that two-piece suit on knowing that I didn’t believe in it. So, I can’t blame anyone else. I think that’s a part of growing as an artist. You kinda have to put a lot of pressure and blame on yourself because at the end of the day you are the artist. It’s a job for someone else. But it’s your career.