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Brandy Talks 'A Classic Holiday' Album, BET Rom-Com 'Zoe Ever After' & Omarion Grammy Snub

Brandy photographed in 2015.
Derek Blanks

Brandy photographed in 2015.

The way Brandy explains her holiday traditions, Christmas at the Norwood residence sounds lit like a tree. With holiday cookies and Temptations classics on the menu, the Grammy-winning R&B songstress is also bringing the festive spirit with a special gift on the Christmas album called Classic Holiday (MBK/RAL/Sony).

The 14-track set -- which boasts versions of well-known holiday jams from the likes of Alicia Keys and Tyrese -- finds Brandy repackaging her Never Say Never track “One Voice.” To boot, she will also be hosting MBK’s annual holiday concert at New York City’s B.B. Kings Blues Club on Dec. 15.

Billboard recently hopped on the phone with the singer known on timelines as @4everBrandy to discuss her holiday offering, nabbing a role on BET’s upcoming romantic comedy, collaborating with Ty Dolla $ign and her take on Omarion's Grammy snub.

You lend "One Voice" to A Classic Holiday. Why that record? 

Well Jeff Robinson is my manager and MBK is his company and he asked me to be a part of the project. “One Voice” is my mom’s favorite song that I’ve ever recorded and it’s like one of those records that gets lost in the shuffle because it was actually on my [1998 sophomore album] Never Say Never and I asked Jeff if I can lend that song to the project. He loved it and wanted it to be a part of the album.

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What are some of your holiday traditions?

Just the regular family opening gifts in the morning and dinner but I was always disappointed in my parents’ decorations, missing a tree. We were never the family that had the lights on the outside so I said, ‘You know when I get older, I’m gonna have Christmas at my house. I’m gonna have the big tree, the lights on the outside, and I’m gonna change everything.' And that’s what we do now. We have Christmas at my house every year. And this year, I’m gonna be doing the cookies. My mom is gonna be showing me all of her recipes from my grandma and I’m really excited about them.

You'll also be keeping busy this holiday with a new show on BET called Zoe Ever After.

It’s such a great opportunity starring in another television show 20 years later. Zoe is so great -- it’s like a Moesha all grown up. She's starting her life after being with a famous boxer for 20 years and coming out of his shadow, raising her son and being an example, showing him she can make it on her own. She has her cosmetic line that she’s starting up and building. She’s really going after her dreams and I think a lot of women can relate to that. It doesn’t matter how old you are, how long you’ve been married--you can always do what you want to do and live like you want to live. I think it took her a long time to discover that but it’s great to see a grown woman become a grown woman.

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On the musical front, you recently linked with Ty Dolla $ign for “L.A.” How did the California anthem come about?

I’m a huge fan of Ty. I think he’s awesome -- great singer, great writer. I’m a big fan of Kendrick Lamar and I’ve worked with James Fauntleroy before so when Ty asked me to be a part of the song, I was like, ‘Yes.’ And it’s basically background [vocals] and harmonies and that’s like my favorite thing to do. It’s such a great song and I’m from L.A.

The Grammy nominations were recently put out and Omarion took to Twitter to express his feelings about “Post to Be” being left out. Any thoughts? 

I think every artist that puts out music has the dream to get a Grammy nomination and then to actually win a Grammy. I just remember when I was really hoping and praying that that would happen for me, so of course, if you put out a hot song and people are responding to it, you feel like a Grammy nomination’s the ultimate reward. I totally understand how he could feel that way. Every artist deserves a shot at being acknowledged for the work that they do, especially if it’s great, well put-together and there’s passion and heart behind it. I think everybody deserves to be rewarded.

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