Tamar Braxton may steal the spotlight with giggle-provoking one-liners on reality shows Braxton Family Values and Tamar & Vince, but her music career is no joke. After bowing at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 with 2013’s Love and War, the 38-year-old returns with third studio LP Calling All Lovers, due Sept. 11 on Epic/Streamline.
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Calling All Lovers was recorded at the home you share with your husband and manager, Vince Herbert. Why not go to a real studio?
I don’t like studios — I love recording at home. I did most of the recordings in one of the bedrooms, sitting on the edge of the bed, pouring out my heart with a mic.
The album is about your past relationships. Did any songs make you cry?
A song called “Circles” about being in a relationship that’s a never-ending story. You make up, you break up, you catch them in a lie, you take them back, you don’t know how you got back in the situation again. I had been through it 100,000 times before I met Vince. After I finished recording, I wept, not just cried — wept, honey! Men are terrible until you find one that’s great and he annoys you for different reasons.
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Now that you found a good one, what’s the secret to maintaining a healthy marriage?
Communication. Do not surprise me with your feelings. Once Vince and I were in an argument. I love onions, but he said, “And, on top of that, I don’t like onions!” I was devastated. Twelve years in, I’m just finding out you don’t like onions?
What are some of the best and worst things about having a husband as a manager?
Vince and I working together is all that we know. Before he became my manager, he was overseeing my sister Toni’s project that I was doing background [vocals] on. So we began our friendship working together. I know that nobody is going to have my back or fight as hard as he does. But it’s very hard to turn off. You go through things to achieve your destiny, which is what Vince and I are to each other.
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An unflattering pic of you during your performance with Patti LaBelle and K. Michelle at the BET Awards became a widespread meme. Did that annoy you?
It doesn’t bother me at all — I’ve been a meme for the past five years. My friends and I text each other memes of myself, like, “Girl, sit down,” or “Oh, please.” That wasn’t offensive to me at all — even I posted it.
A lot of people were making fun of your makeup. You were going for a Diana Ross 1970s look, right?
Right. I can’t say I didn’t like the way I looked — I think it’s one of my best looks! I was at my goal weight, my face was beat to capacity, my hair and dress were intact, and I’m singing with one of my idols? I felt amazing.
This story originally appeared in the Sept. 5 issue of Billboard.