R&B girl groups dominated the music scene in the 1990s. Groups such as SWV, TLC, En Vogue, and Xscape were behind some of the biggest hits at the time. As a part of Xscape, Kandi Burruss — who would later go on to achieve fame as a cast member on The Real Housewives of Atlanta — was an integral member who wrote songs for the group.
Kandi Burruss rose to fame as a part of Xscape
Xscape was discovered and signed by superstar producer Jermaine Dupri, and in the early days of their career, the singers mainly kept to the job of singing. In a 2021 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Burruss reflected on her early days in Xscape, and how she got her start songwriting with Dupri’s help.
“To me, our time in Xscape was a time of learning,” she said. “We didn’t get big percentages on those songs because it wasn’t like we were the ones initiating those records.”
“Jermaine was the main writer, and he would allow us to write a little bit here, a little bit there,” she explained. “I would sit and watch him write sometimes and pick apart what he was doing, and how he would come up with these ideas. I feel like I was a sponge around him.”
Kandi Burruss wrote some Xscape songs
Finally, Dupri gave the Xscape members a chance to write on the lead single from their second album Off the Hook titled “Feels So Good.”
“I was just excited that he finally broke down and said, ‘Okay, guys, yeah, you can help write on this.’ Because literally I remember always being like, ‘Come on, man, let me write something,’” she recalled.
“I knew that I could write, but I just needed him to give me a shot. So I was glad he finally started opening up a little bit, and it was good to see that song did become a single and it did do well.”
Kandi Burruss wrote hit songs for other artists
After Xscape split up in the late 1990s, Burruss pivoted to songwriting for other artists. Some of her most notable songs: TLC’s “No Scrubs,” Destiny’s Child’s “Bills, Bills, Bills,” and *NSYNC’s “It Makes Me Ill.”
“The push of going hard and writing these songs really came out of necessity to survive because of my group falling apart, not knowing what the future held,” she said. “But having that success, having the two Grammys, becoming Songwriter of the Year, and all these other things, it really showed me that sometimes things happen in your life to force you to go and take the step that you were supposed to take anyway.”
“It was really that thing to show me, ‘You can stand alone. You can stand by yourself, and you will be okay.”
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