On the verge of her debut on "Dancing with the Stars," Brandy  is all excitement, nerves, and sore muscles.
"My thighs are killing me right now!" the R&B singer and reality star tells Billboard.com. "When I'm dancing I don't feel the pain, but when I stop, that's when I feel all the soreness." Brandy's presumed frontrunner status will be put to the test on tonight's (Sept. 20) season premiere on ABC, when she performs the Viennese waltz with her partner, Maksim Chmerkovskiy. "I've heard the rumors [that] Brandy and Maks are the couple to beat," the singer admits. "That's a lot of pressure, but I'm definitely going to do everything I can to be the best Brandy I can be.
"Of course I want to win, but not only for my fans, my family, and my daughter," she adds. "I really want to win for Maks because he's never won it, and he's been to the finals so any times...I want to be the person that can help him accomplish that."
Another pre-season "DWTS" rumor has pegged Brandy and her fellow competitor Bristol Palin as close friends on set. Brandy clarifies that the two aren't well acquainted yet but says, "I would love to get to know [Bristol], definitely. We're both single moms, and I'm sure we can chat about that. And I think she has a beautiful energy about her. She came right up to me and said hello at the announcements. Somebody of her stature, you'd never think she would do that."
If Brandy's rehearsal schedule is any indication, the grueling regimen that "DWTS" contestants go through every season is no different this time around. "I'm dancing for six hours a day, she says, "and before that I wasn't doing anything besides playing tennis here and there...I'm also pigeon-toed naturally and I don't have really good posture, so to put my back in a certain position, turn my head and keep it there has been the biggest challenge."
Brandy is also juggling her "DWTS" tapings with her own reality show: "Brandy & Ray J: A Family Business," which returns to VH1 for a second season in December. "What's beautiful about doing a reality show is that they're filming what's going on in your life, so its not as hectic and as grueling as it may seem," she says. Our show is getting footage of Maks and I at rehearsals, and of course I have to do other things with my family, but I would do that anyway if the cameras were not rolling."
Brandy and her brother plan to release a joint album in conjunction with the show, and although that project's release date hasn't been set yet, the first single, "Lifeguard," recently leaked. "It's just about knowing when relationships are over," Brandy says of the ballad. "It's sad because I really want a relationship that works. Its long overdue -- I'm 31, lets have some more kids! Its like, 'Brothers, get it together.' The siblings are also working on their own solo albums, and Brandy says that she's close to inking a deal with a label to put out the release.
Athough Brandy may decide to rap on her next album -- as she did most recently on "Meet in Tha Middle,"  from Timbaland's  "Shock Value II," under the name Bran' Nu -- it won't be for the attention. "I'm kind of bummed because Timbaland tried to name the whole rap thing Bran' Nu, which is my nickname," she says. I don't want it to be a gimmick. If I do want to say a rhyme on the album or something, I don't want people to think I'm just trying be a different person, because its not -- it's all part of who I am."
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