The untold truth of Kandi Burruss

Kandi Burruss was born to be a star. The Real Housewives of Atlanta cast member might be more of a mainstream, household name since joining the cast in Season 2 if only because of the reach the Bravo show has, but Kandi has been working in entertainment for ages and her successes include much more than just reading her co-stars during reunion shows (although she’s really good at that, too). Kandi was born outside of Atlanta in 1976, and her first television appearance was on BET’s Teen Summit in 1992, when she was just 15 years old with her R&B group Xscape. She posted a throwback video of the appearance on Instagram, in which the group (which included a fifth member at the time, Tamera, who eventually left) performed a cover of En Vogue’s “Hold On.”

The group was eventually signed and released its first album, Hummin’ Comin’ at ‘Cha, in 1993. That project went certified platinum, peaking at No. 3 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip Hop Charts and No. 17 on the Billboard 200. But being part of one of the most iconic ’90s R&B groups was just the start of Kandi’s career in the music industry. 

Behind the mask is a '90s R&B legend

Not only was Xscape one of the most popular groups in the early nineties, but Kandi Burruss went on to have a successful music career outside of the group. The members of Xscape broke up in 1998 to pursue solo careers, and Kandi got down to work behind the scenes. For example, she co-wrote “No Scrubs” for TLC and “Bills Bills Bills” for none other than Destiny’s Child. She also worked on Pink’s first single, “There You Go.” She even got a songwriting credit on Ed Sheeran’s hit single “Shape of You” — because a portion of the song reportedly sounded a lot like “No Scrubs,” per The Huffington Post. So even if you don’t think you know Kandi’s body of work, you’ve definitely danced to one of her songs before.

Her solo albums are a different story. They never really took off as well as her work with Xscape or the tracks she wrote for other artists. Burruss released solo albums in 2000 and 2010. In 2020, she won The Masked Singer Season 3 and also released a single, “Used to Love Me,” featuring Todrick Hall and Precious. Performing as “Night Angel” on the singing competition was a confidence boost for Burruss, who said the show helped reignite her passion for music, per Entertainment Weekly

Kandi Burruss can do it all

Kandi Burruss knows how to hustle when it comes to building a brand on television. Not only has she been on The Real Housewives of Atlanta since Season 2, but she’s also produced her own shows. Bravo aired The Kandi Factory in 2012, which followed Kandi helping young artists land record deals, as well as Kandi’s Wedding in 2014, which documented her and Todd Tucker’s wedding preparation. There was also a three-part spin-off called Kandi’s Ski Trip in 2015, which was just a miniseries about her family going on a ski trip. In 2019, she appeared on Celebrity Big Brother, and of course, she won big on The Masked Singer in 2020. Burruss is also getting another Bravo spin-off called Old Lady Gang, which will take place at one of the three locations of her and Todd’s restaurant of the same name. 

To top it off, Burruss also runs a sex toy company called Bedroom Kandi and leads a sex and relationship podcast called Kandi Koated Nights. See? This woman does it all, and that’s no accident. She told Money that diversifying her revenue streams was “intentional,” even during the early days of her music career. “I wanted to have businesses outside of music that were still poppin’.”

Kandi Burruss wants her kids to know how to make money

Family and music have always been central to Kandi Burruss’ brand. Her and husband Todd Tucker, a former line producer on The Real Housewives of Atlanta, have two kids together, son Ace Wells, born in 2016, and daughter Blaze, born via surrogate in 2019. They also co-parent Todd’s daughter, Kaela, born in 1996, from another relationship, and Kandi’s daughter, Riley, born in 2002 from another relationship.

Burruss is unapologetic about being a working mom, and she tries to pass her business acumen to her kids, especially her eldest daughter. She told AJC.com, “I talk with her about the importance of money and why I have to work so hard. You know I have to work this weekend just so you can get this extra this or that.”

In fact, Burruss said one of her first lessons in financial planning came from her mom after Kandi received her first music biz paycheck. “I only got a few thousand dollars, but my mom was like, ‘OK, we’ll put this with my money’ and we purchased the house across the street from where we lived,” she told Money. “That was my first investment — with my mom.”

Kandi’s career and rich personal life are truly something to admire — and they give her the cred she needs to stand up to her Bravo castmates on RHOA.

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