Kandi Burruss has quickly become a fan favorite among viewers of the drama-filled "Real Housewives of Atlanta" series on Bravo.
Since joining the show in its second season, Burruss' easy, carefree nature and signature smile have brought balance to the bickering, back stabbing and wig-pulling that have provided viewers with a nonstop flow of water-cooler fodder.
A major portion of Burruss' story line last season involved her onetime fiance, Ashley "A.J." Jewell, who died after a fight outside of an Atlanta club. This season, Burruss has been shown on the show dating Baltimore Raven Willis McGahee. Although a relationship did not materialize, the two remain friends, Burruss says.
A singer and songwriter best known for being a part of the 1990s R&B group Xscape and for writing the TLC hit "No Scrubs," Burruss worked with her "Housewives" co-star Kim Zolciak last year on the song "Tardy for the Party."
Burruss will be showcasing her own skills this weekend at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall when she joins Eric Benet and friend Fantasia Barrino for the Back to Me Tour. Burruss will be the opening act, performing songs from her upcoming album, "Kandi Koated," which will be released in December.
Burruss recently spoke to The Baltimore Sun about her involvement on the "Housewives" series, her love life, dealing with tragedy and why there will not be an Xscape reunion in the future.
Question: How did you get to know Fantasia?
Answer: Fantasia and I have been cool for the last couple of years. … My manager is cool with the promoter, and he brought it up with the promoter. The promoter brought it to Fantasia about having me be the opening act, and they basically said they would like to have me on the tour. I was super happy.
Q: Is there any chance for a Xscape reunion?
A: No. [Laughing.] Honestly, there are a lot of things that we have never resolved between us. I don't like a lot of drama. We need to leave well enough alone. It's been over 10 years since our last album. We had three platinum albums. We need to let it stay on a good note.
Q: How did you become involved with "The Real Housewives of Atlanta?"
A: Last year, they approached me. I was supposed to be a part of the "Tiny and Toya" show. It was actually Tiny, Toya, myself and another young lady, but the producers just decided to use Tiny and Toya. A week later, [producers from "The Real Housewives of Atlanta"] approached me. Everything happened for a reason, and happened the way it was supposed to. I would have never in a million years seen myself on "The Real Housewives of Atlanta." I saw the show, and I loved it; I was a fan. But I never thought I would be a part of it.
Q: Do you regret joining the show?
A: Last year, when I was going through losing AJ and having to deal with it in front of the whole world was hard. Dealing with personal situations that you would normally have to do on your own … now you have to deal with in front of millions of people. People would come up to me crying and wanting a hug. Things like that are hard. In other ways, it is a great opportunity because of the popularity of the show. It helps with everything else I'm doing with music.
Q: How did you meet Willis McGahee?
A: He and I have a mutual friend. Last year, she said, "I have this guy I want you to meet. I said, "No thanks. I'm not feeling that." I didn't need any more athletes in my life. She was throwing a party for another friend. She told him I was going to be there. He flew down to Atlanta, and we met at the party. He ended up being a really cool guy.
Q: What was it like to go on a date and have that process documented?
A: It was interesting, but at the same time I wouldn't do it again. I feel like he caught a lot of flack in the blogs. I tried to tell him before that it would put a lot of people in his business. … It is totally different how people dig into the lives of entertainers and reality stars than the way they do athletes. I don't know if he was really ready for people to be saying whatever and coming out of the woodwork. I would never put anyone else in that situation ever again. We had fun; we always have fun when we hang out.
Q: What is the status of that relationship now?
A: We're friends. That's it.
If you go
Kandi Burruss opens for Eric Benet and Fantasia at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Meyerhoff, 1212 Cathedral St. Tickets are $45-$65. Call 410-547-7328 or go to ticketmaster.com