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'Real Housewives of Atlanta' adds new face

  • Story Highlights
  • Kandi Burruss is the newest member of Bravo's "Real Housewives of Atlanta"
  • An accomplished singer/songwriter/producer, she was a fan last season
  • Burruss confirms she and cast mate NeNe Leakes didn't get along
  • The single mother hopes fans will see her in "a good light"
By Lisa Respers France
CNN
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ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Why would an award-winning singer, songwriter, producer and single mother want to tack reality TV star onto her long list of accomplishments?

Burruss, center, poses with fellow cast mates of season two of the "Real Housewives of Atlanta."

Kandi Burruss says she is happy to join the "Real Housewives of Atlanta" cast.

For Kandi Burruss, the newest member of the Real Housewives of Atlanta, the answer is simple: "I was a fan last year. I love the show."

The second season of Bravo's hit show is set to premier on Thursday with Burruss replacing cast member DeShawn Snow.

Burruss is well-known in the music industry as a former member of the platinum-selling R&B girl group Xscape and co-writer of such hits as Destiny's Child's "Bills, Bills, Bills" and TLC's "No Scrubs," for which she won a Grammy.

The Atlanta native almost ended up on another reality show with former group mate and writing partner Tameka "Tiny" Cottle, who is the fiancée of rapper T.I. and now stars on BET's "Tiny & Toya" alongside Antonia "Toya" Carter, the ex-wife of Lil' Wayne.

The deal for that show didn't work out and Burruss said she was more than happy to sign on with Bravo's wildly successful southern edition of the "Housewives" franchise, which chronicles the lives of a group of affluent African-American women in the ATL.

Burruss was already friendly with cast mate Lisa Wu Hartwell, whom she met through their mutual friend Cottle.

Having watched the show -- which last season enraptured viewers with a mix of constant infighting, lavish lifestyles and a healthy dose of drama -- Burruss said she was more concerned with being thrust into the public eye than she was with getting along with the cast.

"The only thing that made me hesitant about wanting to be a part of the show is the fact that people are so critical of the show," she said. "Just dealing with people on the outside judging you. That part is going to be something that I am going to have to get used to."

The artist has already had to get acclimated to people smearing her personal life on the Internet. Video Watch Burruss discuss her time on the show »

Newly engaged to a father of six children, Burruss has watched him get attacked in blogs and is protective of the man who she said even her mother isn't thrilled about her marrying.

"[The show] has been very, very stressful on the relationship," she said. "I guess [people] couldn't find anything bad [to say] about me, so they wanted to go in on my fiancé."

Her caring nature and laid-back personality make Burruss special in the industry, said rapper Rick Ross.

"She's a very humble person, maybe one of the most humble people among the biggest songwriters in the industry," said Ross, who collaborated with Burruss on a track for a new solo album she has in the works. "It's good to be around the greats and she most definitely is one of the greatest in the industry."

Her home music studio attests to that.

The walls are covered with gold and platinum records for her work with several high-profile artists including Alicia Keys, *NSYNC, Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston.

Being part of a girl group helped prepare her for the drama of dealing with the other housewives' personalities, Burruss said, though she admitted clashing with outspoken cast mate NeNe Leakes during filming.

"I was a fan of hers last year," Burruss said. "All that wild and crazy stuff she says to people, when you're watching it, it's funny, it's hilarious... but when it's directed at you, it's not funny anymore."

Burruss got along better with aspiring singer Kim Zolciak, who Burruss will assist in achieving her dream of breaking into the industry.

Last season, fans of the show -- and some of the other housewives -- slammed Zolciak for her less-than-stellar voice.

"Everybody loves to hate on Kim. But what I have to say is that Kim is actually cooler in person than she came off on the show," said Burruss, who in 1999 won top songwriter of the year from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. "I wanted to help her out because I love helping the underdog."

The busy artist said she has no idea if she will be invited back for another season.

Appearing on the show, which Burruss said is not scripted, was fun, but she is busy with an upcoming album and with caring for her daughter, Riley, she said.

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She doubts she will be addicted to appearing on reality TV like she is addicted to music, Burruss said.

"It's just another way for people to get to know you and hopefully they see me in a good light," she said. "You always hope that it doesn't backfire."

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