WINDY CITY TIMES
teaches the 'Braxton Family Values'
Tamar Braxton may be the
youngest Braxton sister but she is exploding in a big way, thanks to
a five-octave range. Her hit album, Love and War ( Epic Records ), recently
received three Grammy nominations. She released a Christmas album, Winter
Loversland, this past holiday season.
Braxton Family Values just completed season three as it follows the lives of Toni, Traci, Towanda, Trina and Tamar along with their mother, Evelyn. Recent subjects have included Toni finishing an album, Love Marriage & Divorce, with Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds; Towanda celebrating a birthday; Trina facing marital problems; and Tamar taking care of newborn son Logan. Tamar recently talked a bit on the phone about her new experiences at home, her fans the Tamartians and life on the road.
Windy City Times: Hi, Tamar. How are you?
Tamar Braxton: I'm excellent.
WCT: We talked as a group interview with Toni and Trina when Braxton Family Values first aired. How have you been and did you ever think it would lead to all of this?
Tamar Braxton: Well, I've been great and absolutely not! [Both laugh.] I had no idea. I knew it was a good show and I know how crazy my family is but I had no idea it would go to this level.
WCT: Has your family always been dramatic?
Tamar Braxton: Are you kidding me? Always, yes! When we were little we used to entertain ourselves because we are country girls. We would take the camcorder and make up our own shows. We are still the same Braxtons who you see on TV today.
WCT: How did you feel the "Golden Medal Moments" episode went, which recapped the past three seasons?
Tamar Braxton: I thought it was great and all happy moments from the Braxtons so far. I got a chance to see everybody grow. You see pictures and home photos. These are the best moments that we have all shared together.
WCT: It must be like having a video scrapbook.
Tamar Braxton: It is like having a scrapbook except a scrapbook doesn't always have the best moments or have the Braxtons' craziness.
WCT: How amazing to have your baby experience chronicled there.
Tamar Braxton: Let me tell you something. It was something I never expected to do in my entire life. When I met my husband that was something that made us so attracted to each other because we had never heard anyone openly say that they didn't want to have kids.
When Logan came about we were both completely shocked, stunned and excited at the same time. He's the best thing that ever happened to both of us.
WCT: How has your life changed since having the baby?
Tamar Braxton: Well, it has changed dramatically. I am a mom and I never thought that would happen. I am not a typical mom but I'm like, "Wash your hands before you touch my baby." I want to be the one to put him to bed. I want to be the person that wakes him in the morning. I call and check on him all the time.
WCT: How did that work while you were on tour?
Tamar Braxton: Logan came along. He comes everywhere with us unless it is a really short one day trip. Sometimes I don't feel that he should be on a plane then turn right back around to get on a plane again but otherwise he is with us all the time. We are the velcro family!
WCT: I was at the show where you performed at the Chicago Theatre.
Tamar Braxton: Okay, that was a lot of fun.
WCT: How was it opening for John Legend on tour?
Tamar Braxton: John Legend is not just a great artist but an amazing human being. I am a huge fan of John Legend. From his music and how put together he is you would never know he's so fun and so sweet. He doesn't take himself too seriously. It was an amazing experience.
WCT: I was trying to set up you performing at the gay bars afterwards. I needed to see more of those backup dancers.
Tamar Braxton: Really? You didn't want to see me—you just wanted me to bring my dancers, honey!
WCT: They were looking good.
Tamar Braxton: You know what? I'm actually getting ready to announce my tour and I am coming back to Chicago. Hopefully you can do that because I would love to. That's my zhuzh!
WCT: You love the gays and have a big gay following.
Tamar Braxton: Oh my God, yes! I have more gays in my life than girlfriends.
WCT: Well, we have to get that set up.
Tamar Braxton: Absolutely. I am sure we will have a ball, honey!
WCT: How do you feel about drag queen performing your songs? I saw a drag queen performing "All the Way Home" just the other night in a club.
Tamar Braxton: You did? Well, I have heard of "Love and War" and "The One" but never "All the Way Home." That is amazing. I would have loved to have seen that. I do that in my regular life so I would go to a bar to see that. It's an honor because that means when a drag queen does Tamar Braxton you have arrived! I feel like I have made it now and I am glad to hear it.
WCT: What is the craziest thing a Tamartian [Tamar Braxton fan] has brought you?
Tamar Braxton: It wasn't crazy but it was very touching. It was a group of Tamartians who had gotten to know each other on Twitter. When I had lost my voice for a while and had a broken blood vessel in my vocal cords, they put together a video tape and it was so beautiful. As a matter of fact, it is on YouTube now. They were saying that I would be okay and to keep my head up. It made me laugh and cry at the same time. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my whole life.
I never really had friends before. I was bullied in school and not the in crowd at all. So now it is so gratifying and such a wonderful thing to see. People like me for me. I don't have to pretend that I am somebody else. They except me for the way that I am. It was just the most beautiful thing and it did lift my spirits.
WCT: I can't imagine you being bullied. You are so beautiful and very funny.
Tamar Braxton: Thank you so much but I was, child.
WCT: I was, too. Being a gay boy in the South wasn't easy.
Tamar Braxton: I am sure, but look at us now!
WCT: Exactly. So now the third season of Braxton Family Values is over. Do you know about more seasons or more of the show Tamar & Vince with your husband?
Tamar Braxton: We are in the process of shooting [the fourth season]. When I go on tour we will be shooting Tamar & Vince, which will be very interesting this season because we are not at home and won't be there at all. We will show what are lives really truly are on the road. I have no idea what that is like. When I was on tour with John Legend it was a only a short period of time, but this time we will be out for almost two and a half months. I can't wait.
WCT: You really "got your life!"
Tamar Braxton: Didn't she?!?
WCT: Are you thinking about a follow-up to the Love and War album?
Tamar Braxton: Definitely. You are going to see that on Tamar & Vince this season. First of all, I am bringing my baby so I will be a momma as well as a performing artist, and recording my album all at the same damn time.
WCT: The track itself, "Love and War," is so big, vocally. How do you perform it live?
Tamar Braxton: To be honest, it is a lot of work. I can't have cocktails. One of my favorite things to do is to go have cocktails with my friends. I can't eat spicy foods. I have to be very disciplined and that is just the bottom line. I can't do too much. I can't have soda. I have to vocalize. I have to be really about my voice.
At the end of the day I want to have an amazing show every time. I don't want to have the walk of shame. I consider that the walk of shame when people don't think I can perform the songs I have recorded and wonder why they are at a live show. I don't want that. My fans and the people that come out to see me deserve a wonderful great show. That is what I do and I do it for that reason.
WCT: Are you inspired by Gaga or Beyonce when performing live?
Tamar Braxton: Mariah Carey is my idol, actually. I love the fact that she writes her own songs and her voice is so huge. Nowadays she is just herself onstage. Adding to that ,Beyonce has an energy that she gives out to an audience and they give back. They feed off of each other. I do love the perfectionism of my sister Toni Braxton. My show is a mixture of all three!
WCT: Did you hear Mariah's new song yet?
Tamar Braxton: Yes, I did. I love it so much: "You're Mine ( Eternal )."
WCT: How is Toni right now?
Tamar Braxton: Toni is now Toni the Braxton again because she's got a number-one R&B album. She's back and I am excited. I told her and Babyface to do this album seven years ago. I am so glad they finally listened to me. I am not telling you this because she is my sister but that CD is my everything—got my life, period! Every time I hear the album I want to get my entire life. I love it.
Braxton adventures can be found on WE tv and follow Tamar at www.tamarbraxton.com .
Tamar will be performing June 6 at 7p p.m. at Concord Music Hall, 2047 N. Milwaukee, Chicago. The show is for all ages.