Brandy Rayana Norwood, best known by her stage name Brandy, is an American singer, songwriter, actor, and model. She was born on February 11, 1979. She has earned the moniker “the Vocal Bible” for her distinctive sound, which is characterized by dense voice layering and complex riffs. She had sold more than 40 million records as of August 2020, with 8.62 million of those albums occurring domestically. She has received many honors and recognitions for her work, including a Grammy Award and an American Music Award.
Norwood, who was raised in Carson, California after being born in McComb, Mississippi, started her career as a background vocalist for teen bands. She signed with Atlantic Records in 1993, and the following year she launched her self-titled first album, which went on to sell six million copies globally. Norwood began her acting career with the UPN comedy Moesha (1996–2001), which earned her an NAACP Image Award and led to a number of additional parts, including Karla Wilson in the slasher movie I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998) and the title role in the television movie Cinderella.
Her breakout song was “The Boy Is Mine” (1998), a duet with fellow R&B artist Monica that went on to become one of the all-time best-selling female duets and earn her the Grammy for Best R&B Vocal by a Duo or Group. Never Say Never, her sophomore album, was also released that year and received positive reviews. Norwood appeared in the reality program Brandy: Special Delivery, which followed the birth of her daughter, in 2002. Full Moon (2002) and Afrodisiac (2004), her third and fourth albums, respectively, were well-received by critics.
Before being engaged in a highly publicized vehicle accident in 2006, Norwood worked as a judge on America’s Got Talent’s inaugural season. Human (2008), Norwood’s fifth album, received favorable reviews but failed commercially. She made a comeback to television in 2010 by competing on Dancing with the Stars’ eleventh season and appearing in the reality series Brandy & Ray J: A Family Business. She gained critical acclaim for her sixth album Two Eleven (2012) as well as her series regular role in the BET series The Game (2012–2015).
As Roxie Hart in the musical Chicago, Norwood made her Broadway debut in April 2015. She appeared in and oversaw the production of the BET sitcom Zoe Ever After, which debuted in January 2016. B7, Norwood’s seventh studio album and debut as an independent artist, was released in July 2020 to positive reviews. In the critically acclaimed music drama series Queens on the American Broadcasting Company in 2021, Norwood featured alongside Naturi Naughton, Eve, and Nadine Velazquez.
After signing with Motown Records, Norwood announced her return to a big label in June 2022.
Brandy Norwood Early life
The daughter of gospel singer and choir director Willie Norwood and H&R Block district manager Sonja Norwood (née Bates), Norwood was born in McComb, Mississippi, on February 11, 1979. In addition to being the cousin of wrestler Mercedes Moné and rapper Snoop Dogg, Brandy is the older sister of performer Ray J. Norwood, who was brought up in a Christian environment, learned to sing through her father’s involvement in the local church choir. She gave her first gospel solo at the age of two.
Her parents moved to Carson, California in 1983, where Norwood attended the Hollywood High Performing Arts Center for her education. After becoming a fan of singer Whitney Houston at the age of seven, Norwood’s passion in music and singing grew, but at school, she had difficulty persuading instructors to send her on auditions since she found no support among the staff. When Norwood was eleven years old, she started competing in talent competitions and sang with a young ensemble at a number of public events.
She obtained a contract with Chris Stokes and Earl Harris’ Teaspoon Productions in 1990, and they hired her to sing backup for their R&B boy band Immature and helped her produce a demo tape. Following an audition with Darryl Williams, the company’s director of A&R, Norwood’s parents secured a recording contract with the Atlantic Recording Corporation in 1993 while still in negotiations with East West Records. In order to take care of her daughter, Norwood’s mother quit her job, while Norwood herself dropped out of Hollywood High School and began receiving private tutoring in the tenth grade.
Brandy Norwood Career
1993–1996: Brandy and television stardom
Norwood was cast in the brief ABC comedy Thea as the daughter of a single mother played by comedian Thea Vidale during the early phases of the recording of her debut album. She and her co-stars were nominated for a Young Artists Award for Outstanding Youth Ensemble despite the series only lasting one season after being initially broadcast to strong numbers. Norwood remembered that she was uninterested in acting at the time and that the taping conflicted with when she was producing her album. She was grateful that the show was cancelled. “I felt bad for everyone else but me,” she said. It was advantageous since I could perform the necessary tasks and sing how I desired.
The self-titled debut album of Norwood, which was released in September 1994, peaked at number 20 on the American Billboard 200.According to AllMusic writer Eddie Huffman, Brandy is “a lower-key Janet Jackson or a more stripped-down Mary J. Blige with good songs and crisp production.” The critical reception to Brandy has been largely positive. The Entertainment Weekly’s Anderson Jones stated, “Teen starlet Norwood acts her age. At best, it is a hasty attempt that appears to be motivated by the question, “If Aaliyah can do it, why can’t I?”
I Wanna Be Down and Baby, which peaked at the top of the Hot R&B Singles chart and were both certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, were two of Brandy’s top ten Billboard Hot 100 hits. Brandy went on to sell over six million copies worldwide. Wanya Morris of Boyz II Men and the duo’s song “Brokenhearted” peaked at number two on the charts. The next year, the album earned Norwood nominations for two Grammy Awards—Best New Artist and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance—as well as four Soul Train Music Awards, two Billboard Awards, and the New York Children’s Choice Award.
She completed a two-month run as Boyz II Men’s opening act in 1995, and she also contributed songs to the soundtracks of the movies Waiting to Exhale and Batman Forever, with the single “Sittin’ Up in My Room” becoming yet another top-two hit. Along with Tamia, Chaka Khan, and Gladys Knight, Norwood also contributed to the 1996 single “Missing You” from the soundtrack of the F. Gary Gray movie Set It Off. She received a third Grammy nomination for the song in the category of Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.
After a brief stint as Thea’s lead actress in 1996, Norwood went on to star in the UPN sitcom Moesha. She played the title character of Moesha Mitchell, a Los Angeles girl juggling a stepmother and the duties of adulthood, appearing with William Allen Young and Sheryl Lee Ralph. The show, which was initially purchased by CBS, made its UPN debut in January 1996 and quickly became their most popular program.
The network opted to stop the sitcom after six seasons on the air, leaving it with a cliffhanger for a cancelled seventh season even though it consistently increased its audience and gave rise to a spin-off called The Parkers. For her work, Norwood received an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Young Actor/Actress. The Norwood Kids Foundation was established in 1997 by Brandy, Ray J, and their parents. It offers self-help and arts programs to impoverished and at-risk adolescents in Mississippi and Los Angeles.
1997–2001: Never Say Never and film career
Whitney Houston, the show’s producer, hand-selected Norwood to play the lead role in the 1997 television adaptation of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, which also starred Jason Alexander, Whoopi Goldberg, and Houston. The network received its highest ratings during that time period in 16 years with the two-hour Wonderful World of Disney special, which attracted an estimated 60 million people. The following year, the show earned an Emmy Award for Outstanding Art Direction for a Variety or Music Program.
Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins, a budding producer, was asked to contribute on Norwood’s second album Never Say Never. Six songs on the album were co-written and produced by Norwood, including “The Boy Is Mine,” the most popular single by a female pair in the music business and her first number-one song on the American Billboard Hot 100. The song was one of the most popular records in the United States of all time, capitalizing on the media’s assumption that the two young singers were in competition. It spent a record-breaking thirteen weeks at the top of the Billboard charts, and it eventually earned the duo a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.
Never Say Never, which was released in June 1998 and peaked at number two on the Billboard 200, became Norwood’s best-selling album, selling over 16 million copies globally. The album received favorable reviews from critics, with AllMusic’s Stephen Thomas Erlewine commending Norwood and her team for shrewdly locating “a middle ground between Mariah Carey and Mary J. Blige—it’s adult contemporary with a slight streetwise edge.” The album produced seven singles in all, including “Have You Ever,” written by Diane Warren, which became Norwood’s second number-one single. In 1999, she embarked on the Never Say Never World Tour, which featured performances in Europe, Asia, and the United States, to support the album.
Norwood made her debut on the big screen in the supporting role of Karla Wilson in the slasher movie, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, after declining to play a part in F. Gary Gray’s 1996 thriller Set It Off. The picture earned better than the original with a total of $16.5 million during its opening weekend, but the reviews were mainly unfavorable, with Rotten Tomatoes assigning a low rating of 7% based on 46 reviews.
Norwood, on the other hand, received compliments for her “bouncy” performance, which won her a nomination for Best Breakthrough Female Performance at the MTV Movie Awards as well as a Blockbuster Entertainment Award. She and Diana Ross co-starred in the 1999 television drama Double Platinum, which was about the tight, tense relationship between a mother and daughter. Norwood and Ross both acted as executive producers of the movie, which was shot in New York City in just twenty days and includes original songs from their respective albums Never Say Never (1998) and Every Day Is a New Day (1999), as well as unheard duets. Along with Whitney Houston, Tina Turner, and Cher, Norwood was the star of VH-1’s Divas Live ’99 that same year.
When Norwood and her brother Ray-J were asked to record a cover of Phil Collins’ 1990 hit “Another Day in Paradise” for the tribute album Urban Renewal: A Tribute to Phil Collins in 2001, it marked the end of a protracted hiatus following the demise of Moesha and a number of tabloid headlines discussing her ongoing battle with dehydration. The song, which was initially made available as the album’s first single in Europe and Oceania, quickly gained popularity abroad and reached the top ten on the majority of the lists it appeared on. The “Open” song by Mike City was also provided by Norwood to the Osmosis Jones soundtrack. The song wasn’t made accessible for digital download or streaming until October 8, 2021, when it was once again released.
2002–2005: Full Moon and Afrodisiac
In February 2002, Norwood’s third studio album, Full Moon, was made available. It was made up of R&B and pop-oriented tracks, many of which Jerkins, Warryn Campbell, and Mike City contributed to. The album topped the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and debuted at number two on the Billboard 200. The album’s title track was a Top 20 smash in the US and the UK, and its lead single “What About Us?” reached the top ten of the charts all over the world. The album received poor reviews from the media, according to Rolling Stone, which called it “frantic, faceless, fake-sexy R&B.” Norwood and Robert “Big Bert” Smith started writing and producing for other musicians the next year, including Toni Braxton, Kelly Rowland, and Kiley Dean.
With the MTV program Diary Presents Brandy: Special Delivery, Norwood made her debut on reality television in 2002. The program followed Norwood’s pregnancy through the last few months and her daughter Sy’rai’s birth.
In June 2004, Norwood’s fourth album Afrodisiac was released after yet another hiatus and in the midst of the well-publicized breakup of her brief professional partnership with entertainment manager Benny Medina. After less than a year of management, Norwood terminated her contract with his Los Angeles-based Handprint Entertainment due to issues with Medina’s handling of the lead song “Talk About Our Love” and unsuccessful negotiations for a rumored co-headlining tour with R&B singer Usher.
Despite the negative press, Afrodisiac was Norwood’s most well-received album, with some praising Timbaland for making Norwood’s music “more consistently mature and challenging” and others praising it for being “listenable and emotionally resonant” and likening it to “Janet Jackson at her best.” The album was a moderate seller that opened at number three on the Billboard 200 and was certified in the US, EU, and Japan. Although “Talk About Our Love” peaked at number six in the United Kingdom, successive songs struggled to find success there. Later that year, she played “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” while playing Gladys Knight in the third season premiere of American Dreams.
After serving the organization for eleven years, Norwood requested and was given an unconditional release from Atlantic Records at the end of 2004. She cited her desire “to move on” as the primary driver of her choice. A compilation album called The Best of Brandy was released in March 2005 to fulfill Brandy’s contract with the company. Released without a promotional single, it peaked at number 30 in Australia, the UK, and the US, where it was well received by critics of the day who praised Norwood’s earlier work for its inventiveness.
As AllMusic’s Andy Kellman put it, “This set, unlike so many other anthologies from her contemporaries, hardly confirms dwindling creativity or popularity.” She then apparently started looking for a new record deal through her brother’s vanity company, Knockout Entertainment.
2006–2014: Human, acting return and Two Eleven
Norwood started appearing in a recurring role on the UPN sitcom One on One in February 2006 as D-Mack’s sister, played by her brother Ray J. She was appointed as one of three judges for musical ability on the inaugural season of America’s Got Talent, an NBC amateur talent competition executive-produced by Simon Cowell and presented by Regis Philbin, in June. The broadcast, which ended on August 17, 2006, with the victory of 11-year-old vocalist Bianca Ryan, was one of the most watched shows of the summer.
After being engaged in a tragic vehicle accident in 2006, Norwood was initially scheduled to return for a second season in summer 2007. However, she ultimately decided against it, claiming that she “couldn’t give the new season the attention and commitment it deserved.” Reality TV star Sharon Osbourne took her position.
Human, Norwood’s fifth studio album, was produced by Toby Gad, Brian Kennedy, and RedOne and released in December 2008. The album, which was released on the Epic Records label and distributed by Koch Records and Sony Music, marked Norwood’s entry into the record company and her reunion with longtime collaborator and mentor Rodney Jerkins, who composed and executive produced the majority of the album. Human debuted at number fifteen on the U.S. Billboard 200 with opening week sales of 73,000 copies. The album was generally favorably regarded by critics. It fell short of matching the success of its predecessors, selling only 214,000 copies domestically.
Although the album’s lead-off single, “Right Here (Departed),” gave Norwood her biggest chart success since 2002’s “Full Moon,” the album’s lackluster sales overall and the controversy surrounding Amanda Ghost’s appointment as president of Epic Records—as well as Norwood’s breakup with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation management—led to the termination of her contract with the label.
She made her official debut as the rapping persona Bran’Nu in December 2009 with two credits on Timbaland’s album Timbaland Presents Shock Value 2 and was cast in the ABC series This Little Piggy pilot episode, which also starred Rebecca Creskoff and Kevin Rahm and was recast the following year.
Norwood and Ray J made their television debut in April 2010 alongside their parents in the VH1 reality series Brandy and Ray J: A Family Business. The program followed the lives of both siblings behind the scenes as they assumed bigger responsibilities at R&B Productions, their family’s management and production business. After eleven episodes, the season came to an end. The Norwood family served as executive producers. The show was revived for a second season, which debuted in the fall of 2010.
A Family Business, a compilation album featuring never-before-heard music by the whole cast, was published in June 2011 by Saguaro Road Records. The Washington Post, among other critics, called it a “awkward and adorable and really, really wholesome collection.” The collaborative track “Talk to Me” was one of three promotional singles the album generated even though it didn’t reach the top of the charts.
In the fall of 2010, Norwood competed as a contestant with Maksim Chmerkovskiy on season 11 of the ABC reality series Dancing with the Stars. She finally finished fourth, shocking the judges, audience, studio audience, and other competitors who had regarded her as one of the competition’s front-runners the entire time. Norwood’s joint record agreement with RCA Records and producer Breyon Prescott’s Chameleon Records was officially announced in August 2011.
Majors & Minors, a brand-new talent show developed by musician Evan Bogart, debuted on The Hub in September. It focused on a group of young performers, aged 10 to 16, and their opportunity to get guidance from seasoned performers like Norwood, Ryan Tedder, and Leona Lewis. Later that year, Norwood made a comeback to acting with recurring roles in the fourth season of the Lifetime comedy series Drop Dead Diva, in which she portrayed the part of Elisa Shayne, and on the adolescent drama series 90210 on The CW.
Norwood joined the cast of the BET comedy series The Game in 2011 and currently plays the bartender Chardonnay in recurrent episodes. By the next season, she was a regular cast member. The song “It All Belongs to Me” from Monica’s album New Life, which was released as a single in February 2012, featured Norwood and Monica once again. Later that year, Norwood’s own comeback song, “Put It Down,” with singer Chris Brown, was released.
She had her first top ten appearance in ten years when the song debuted at number three on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart of Billboard. She returned to her R&B sound on her sixth album, Two Eleven, which was released in October, but with what Norwood called a “progressive edge.” It was considered a modest comeback for Norwood, hitting the top of the Billboard US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums list and number three on the US Billboard 200.
In Tyler Perry’s drama Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor, released in March 2013, Norwood made a comeback in the movies, joining an ensemble cast that also included Vanessa L. Williams, Lance Gross, and Jurnee Smollett-Bell. Norwood portrays the secretive Melinda, a supporting character. The movie was moderately successful at the US box office despite the mostly unfavorable reviews from reviewers. Norwood joined the Los Angeles-based Creative Artists Agency in June 2013, and in the beginning of 2014, she worked with CEO Jeff Robinson to arrange a management agreement with MBK Entertainment.
She was also admitted as an honorary member of the sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha in July. In the same month, Norwood posted a cover of Coldplay’s “Magic” to her TwitMusic page; the song reached its highest point at the top of Billboard’s Trending 140 chart. Norwood had cameo appearances on the TV Land series The Soul Man and Love and Hip Hop: Hollywood in 2014. She performed the hip-hop remix of “I Wanna Be Down” at the 2014 BET Hip Hop Awards with Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, and Yo-Yo in honor of the song’s 20th anniversary.
2015–2020: Broadway and B7
In April 2015, Norwood made her Broadway debut in the musical Chicago, where she played Roxie Hart, the lead character, following the completion of filming for the show’s final season. Her engagement, which was originally intended to last six weeks, was extended until August 2015, which led Norwood to repeat the part on many occasions in 2016 and 2017. Additionally in 2015, Norwood contributed vocals from “The Boy Is Mine” to the mashup song “The Girl Is Mine” by British house duo 99 Souls. The song became her highest-charting single in years when it peaked at number five on the charts in Belgium and the United Kingdom, as well as in the top 40 on other foreign charts.
In the BET sitcom Zoe Ever After, a multi-camera romantic comedy about a recently divorced mother breaking out of the shadow of her famous boxer ex-husband, Norwood co-executive produced and played the lead role in January 2016. When Norwood made the decision not to return to the show following its acceptable ratings debut, it was quickly terminated. In the same month, Norwood released the stand-alone single “Beggin & Pleadin” via her own record label, Slayana Records, following a favorable reception to the song’s first SoundCloud debut.
Norwood announced her Slayana World Tour in February of that year, with stops in Oceania and Europe. Her first headlining tour in eight years came to an early stop on June 30 after Norwood was admitted to the hospital from exhaustion. Norwood filed a lawsuit against Chameleon Entertainment Group and its president, Breyon Prescott, in March after the company allegedly forbade her from recording and releasing new recordings. Norwood filed a second complaint many months after the first was dismissed from court because of a specific clause, this time asking for $270,000 in damages and a “court declaration that she is contractually free from Chameleon.” In 2017, an agreement was achieved by both parties.
Norwood was given the Lady of Soul Award at the Soul Train Music Awards for the second time in November 2016. Her nine-minute, a cappella song medley was well-received. Norwood and her brother Ray J participated in the FOX reality cooking competition series My Kitchen Rules two months later. Norwood started appearing regularly in the Fox musical drama television series Star in July 2018. She was a series regular until the show’s cancellation in 2019 in the part of Cassie, which she first performed in the second season as a recurring role.
She also appeared on Dutch DJs Lucas & Steve’s “I Could Be Wrong,” a dance-heavy remix of her 1994 single “I Wanna Be Down,” which became a minor hit on the dance charts, as well as on “Optimistic,” a Sounds of Blackness cover that came before the self-titled debut of supergroup August Greene, which consisted of Common, Robert Glasper, and Karriem Riggins.
In November 2016, Norwood received the Lady of Soul Award at the Soul Train Music Awards for a second time. Her a cappella song medley of nine minutes was warmly welcomed. Two months later, Norwood and her brother Ray J took part in the FOX reality cooking competition series My Kitchen Rules. In July 2018, Norwood began making frequent appearances in the Fox musical drama Star. In the role of Cassie, which she first played in the second season as a recurring role, she was a series regular until the show was cancelled in 2019.
In July 2020, Norwood released B7, her seventh studio album and her first in eight years. It was distributed by eOne Music and served as her debut album as an independent artist under her own label, Brand Nu Inc. In a break from her prior work, Norwood contributed to the majority of the album’s co-writing and co-production, which was primarily overseen by Darhyl Camper. Lead single “Baby Mama” with Chance the Rapper was released ahead of the album. B7 debuted at position 12 on the Billboard 200 and at position 2 on the UK R&B Albums charts.
The album garnered largely favorable reviews from critics, making it onto lists of the greatest albums of 2020 in many publications. It was also nominated for a 2020 Soul Train Award for Album of the Year.
In the webcast series Verzuz in August 2020, Norwood and Monica engaged in combat. A record-breaking 1.2 million people watched the Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, alone for the Instagram live stream of the movie. he incident was ranked first on BET’s list of “The 20 Most OMG Viral Moments of 2020.” At the Billboard Music Awards, which were hosted at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California, two months later, Norwood gave a medley performance.
2021–present: Queens, Netflix and eighth studio album
John Legend selected Norwood in March 2021 to serve as a mentor on The Voice’s 20th season of singing competition. In the same month, Norwood and Disney created the well-received hit “Starting Now” together. Disney Princess Remixed — An Ultimate Princess Celebration, a music special that will also feature other princesses and premiere in August 2021 on the Disney Channel and Disney+, was supposed to include the song. Also in that month, Norwood joined the cast of the music drama series Queens on the American Broadcasting Company, together with Naturi Naughton, Eve, and Nadine Velazquez.
The quartet’s musical offering was praised by Variety, who described their raps as “sharp and distinct making clear their talent as both individuals and a swaggering collective,” but the series was not renewed the following year.
As a duo with daughter Sy’Rai, Norwood released “Nothing Without You” in March 2022. The song was recorded for the soundtrack of the comedy movie Cheaper by the Dozen (2022). For Norwood’s Master Class course in April, Mariah Carey debuted a re-recorded and re-imagined version of her 1998 hit “The Roof (Back in Time)” (renamed “The Roof (When I Feel the Need)”) with new vocals.
Norwood had been scheduled to play at the Lovers & Friends Festival in Las Vegas, but on May 15, 2022, she stated that she had been diagnosed with COVID-19 and would no longer be able to perform. After signing with Motown Records, Norwood stated in June 2022 that she would be returning to a major label, under which she would be working on her eighth studio album.
Norwood received a nomination for the “Best Global Act” category of the All Africa Music Awards 2022 in October 2022 for her song “Somebody’s Son” with Tiwa Savage. The ceremony is slated to take place in January 2023.
Norwood was revealed to have joined the cast of the planned sequel Descendants: The Rise of Red in November 2022. In her role as Cinderella, Norwood.
Norwood will star in the Netflix original Best. Christmas. Ever, which will be released later in 2023, it was reported in February 2023. On her upcoming debut EP, Sy’Rai, Norwood’s daughter, stated in April 2023 that her mother will be the vocalist and executive producer.
Brandy Norwood Artistry
Voice and style
Norwood can sing in the mezzo-soprano range. Music critics and Norwood herself have frequently described her voice as husky, raspy, and gentle. The vocal tone of Norwood is described as having “an unusual mix of warmth and cold, hard edges” by music critic and Slant Magazine writer Andrew Chan. He continues, “Like little else in pop-music singing, Brandy’s subtle manipulation of timbre and texture rewards close listening,” while describing the quality of her voice. Many R&B aficionados adore her for her long, cascading riffs, which have always been her major claim to technical virtuosity.
Norwood is renowned for using multitrack recording to produce complex vocal layering and arrangements. While it’s been noted that Brandy’s voice isn’t exactly a barn burner, Terry Sawyer of PopMatters speaks on her talent, adding, “It’s not stated enough that she accomplishes more than enough with what she’s got. She folds her voice’s variegated terracing, whispers out the lead track, shouts in the back-up, and piles enough interlocking sounds into each song to give the impression of vocal massiveness while never leaving her voice hanging in spotlit scarcity. Brandy was ranked 193rd in Rolling Stone’s list of the 200 Greatest Singers of All Time in 2023.
The original sound of Norwood was “street-oriented” R&B, which included pop-soul, hip hop, and both. Her lyrics discussed numerous forms of love, ranging from friendly and casual relationships to romantic and spiritual relationships. She pursued a more adult contemporary direction while preserving “a slight streetwise edge” on her second album, Never Say Never. Norwood and her then-collaborator Rodney Jerkins experimented with fusing her prior R&B sounds with futuristic, forward-thinking compositions, featuring influences of 2-step garage and electro-funk, on their third studio album Full Moon.
Her voice had also changed with time, going from a light, girlish tone to one that was much deeper, warmer, and smokier than it had been in the 1990s. The album explored more mature, sexual issues and concentrated on both the physical and emotional facets of an intimate relationship, and the lyrics reflected this shift as well.
2004 saw her turn toward a more experimental vision for her fourth studio album, Afrodisiac, as a result of her recent motherhood, life experiences, and developing love for the British rock band Coldplay. The album, which was created in association with Timbaland and Kanye West as producers, incorporated the characteristic illbient style, which combines ambient pop, dub, and breakbeat soundscapes with innovative sampling techniques.
After a four-year break and a few significant life events, Norwood made a comeback to the music scene in late 2008 with Human, her fifth studio album, which included themes of love, heartbreak, and honesty. After undergoing a professional and personal rebirth in 2012, Norwood was keen to reduce the pop influence of her last album and return to R&B for her sixth studio album, Two Eleven. The album combined Norwood’s R&B sound from the 1990s with the bass-heavy styles of modern hip-hop.
Brandy Norwood Influences
Whitney Houston has been cited by Brandy as the biggest musical and showbiz impact of her career. She frequently referred to Houston as her “idol” in the early years of her career, describing her voice, songs, and performances as being essential to her development both personally and professionally. In a 2014 interview, Brandy said, “As a professional musician, I would say that Whitney Houston is the greatest voice of all time.” She continues, “She was always the inspiration for me. I aspired to emulate her in every way, including singing and acting. Beginning in the late 1990s, Houston became as Brandy’s close friend and mentor, referring to herself as Norwood’s “godmother.”
Brandy credits her father, vocal trainer Willie Norwood, for helping her find her voice and advance as a musician. She claims that her father “taught me everything that I know [about singing]” in her statement. “I grew up singing in church with my dad, where he was the musical director, and we sang gospel songs in a cappella almost exclusively,” says Brandy about her father. My first 4-track tape recorder was a gift from him. I didn’t like my voice at first, but he persuaded me to appreciate its distinctive traits.
Brandy would cite gospel-jazz vocalist Kim Burrell, new age musician Enya, and English singer-songwriter Sade as key influences when creating her own style and vocal timbre. She stated of them, “… it was listening to those women, along with my own creative voice, that helped me find my niche, my own sound.” Brandy has also cited a number of other musicians as influences, including her brother Ray J, Boyz II Men, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Coldplay, Janet Jackson, and Mariah Carey.
Brandy has credited Lucille Ball, Jenifer Lewis, Gabrielle Union, Niecy Nash, and Kim Fields with helping her develop as an actress and realize her talent for humorous parts during the course of her acting career.
Brandy Norwood Legacy and impact
Brandy has sold more than 40 million records globally since the release of her debut album in 1994, with more than 8.62 million albums sold in the US alone. Brandy has 10.5 million certified units, according to the RIAA. On a special list of The 40 Biggest Duets of All Time, Billboard placed her song “The Boy Is Mine” third. Norwood was listed among the top 20 Pop Artists of the 1990s by Billboard in 1999. Norwood was listed in the Top 50 R&B and Hip Hop Artists of the Past 25 Years by Billboard in 2010. One of the newest nominees for the Grammy Award for Best New Artist was Norwood.
The RIAA’s “Top 100 Certified Albums” list included her second album Never Say Never.
Norwood is frequently regarded as the “Vocal Bible” in the contemporary R&B, pop, and gospel genres, where her vocal techniques have had the greatest influence on the music business. Many musicians, including Jessie J, JoJo, Bridget Kelly, Olivia, Ariana Grande, Emeli Sandé, Jordin Sparks, Ryan Destiny, Tank, Teyana Taylor, Lil’ Mo, Megan Rochell, Jhené Aiko, Eric Bellinger, Chris Brown, and Elle Varner, have cited her work as an influence.
Natasha Bedingfield, Missy Elliott, Jennifer Hudson, Syleena Johnson, Gladys Knight, Brian McKnight, Jill Scott, Angie Stone, Tamia, Ty Dolla Sign, Jazmine Sullivan, Tamar Braxton, and others have all commended Norwood’s vocals among her contemporaries. Norwood has also frequently been regarded as a gifted musician that music producers and composers have used to boost their own artistic and creative abilities.
Sean Garrett, a songwriter, attributes his writing style to the vocal work on the album Full Moon, saying, “I take a lot from what Brandy and Rodney did on the Full Moon record. It greatly amazed me, and I constantly strive to top that album. B. Slade discussed the album and said that Full Moon was the only track to completely alter the voice landscape. “It has long served as the model for vocal selections and background vocal arrangements.” Melanie Fiona, an R&B singer, was very impressed with the vocalist’s work on that album. India, a neo-soul singer.
Arie frequently points to the album and in especially the song “He Is” as serving as the model for a variety of performers. The album’s frequently praised vocal performance gave rise to the notion that Norwood should be given the arbitrary moniker “vocal bible”. While American singer Luke James referred to Full Moon as the “bible” of 2000s current R&B, calling it the “blueprint of how to do vocals,” Canadian R&B singer Keshia Chanté hailed the album for inspiring her composition for her album Night & Day.
One of the forerunners of the Alternative R&B subgenre is Afrodisiac. Singer and model Solange talked about the album in a 2014 music and fashion interview with NPR, noting that “Brandy is really the foundation of a lot of this very innovative, progressive, experimental R&B.” Brandy had a significant impact on that. It will be said by Frank Ocean. Miguel is going to say it. Miguel stated that he was a “huge fan growing up” and that Brandy “killed it from the first album” in an interview with MalcolmMusic.
While Barbadian artist Rihanna said of her 2007 album Good Girl Gone Bad, “[Brandy] really helped inspire that album,” American neo-soul singer Erykah Badu stated that her 1997 first album, Baduizm, was partially inspired by Norwood’s debut album. In the studio, I listened to Afrodisiac every day.One of the influences for Kelly Rowland’s second studio album, Ms. Kelly (2007), according to Rowland, was Norwood, who also wrote and produced for Rowland’s debut album.
Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante credited Norwood as the “main inspiration” for the guitar work on the band’s 2006 album Stadium Arcadium. Singer H.E.R., who collaborated with producer DJ Camper on her debut album H.E.R., stated that Brandy was a “huge inspiration” to her and that this had an effect on her artistic output.
Norwood has also had an impact on the television and film industries. First African American to portray Cinderella was Norwood. Many African American actresses were inspired by her portrayal of Cinderella. Keke Palmer commented on the part, saying, “I feel like the reason I’m able to do this [become the first African American Cinderella on Broadway] is definitely because Brandy did it on TV.” Moesha, a Norwood TV program that aired on UPN, was one of the most enduring Black sitcoms ever produced. In 2017, Norwood and co-star Lana Gordan made theatrical history on Broadway by becoming the first black co-leads in Chicago the Musical.
Brandy Norwood Other ventures
In her career, Norwood has received numerous endorsements. She signed up with CoverGirl in 1999, and she has since appeared in several ads. Additionally, she acted as a spokesperson for Candie’s in 1998 and DKNY in the spring of 2000. One of the top modeling agencies in the business, Wilhelmina Agency, handled Norwood in the late 1990s. The Brandy Doll was released by Mattel in 1999. Norwood was depicted on the doll wearing an orange long skirt and reddish-orange shirt. In addition to this, a second “Brandy Doll” and the Holiday Brandy Doll were both released in 2000.
The dolls were one of Mattel’s best-selling toys, selling millions of them. Brandy took up the role of ambassador for Ultima, a business that sells wigs and hairpieces, in 2005. She no longer represents them as of 2014.
Brandy Norwood Philanthropy
Norwood and her brother Ray J founded the Norwood Kids Foundation in 1996. The organization’s mission is to “use performing arts as a catalyst to shape today’s youth into self-confident, disciplined, responsible, and caring individuals capable of making a positive impact in their communities.” Brandy served as UNICEF’s first ever international spokesperson for youth in 1999. She actively supports RAINN and the Make A Wish Foundation. In 2000, Brandy gave $100,000 to 2000 WATTS, an entertainment community center established in the Watts area of Watts, Los Angeles, California, by actor and musician Tyrese Gibson.
In 2008, Brandy collaborated on the Skechers “Nothing Compares to Family” advertising campaign. Norwood got associated with Get Schooled in 2010, a national nonprofit organization that uses celebrity phone calls to wake up youngsters for school. Norwood collaborated with “text4baby” in 2014, which uses text messages to promote health and wellness to expectant mothers. He also joined the 2014 Unstoppable Foundation as an honorary co-chairman. Along with other cast members from Chicago the Musical, she also participated in a PSA for the American Heart Association and Hands-Only CPR in 2018.
Brandy Norwood Personal life
Norwood went to Hollywood High School, but starting in the ninth year, he had private tutoring. She escorted Kobe Bryant, who would later play for the Los Angeles Lakers, to his prom at Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, in 1996. She also dated Wanya Morris, the lead vocalist of Boyz II Men, who she referred to as her “first love.” She apparently split up with Morris, who is over five years older, a month before her nineteenth birthday. She had a brief relationship with rapper Mase when they were working on the Never Say Never album.
Norwood and the producer Robert “Big Bert” Smith fell in love while working on her album Full Moon in the middle of 2001. Until Norwood revealed she was expecting her first child in February 2002, the pair kept their relationship a secret. However, Norwood and Smith split up a year after the birth of their daughter, Sy’rai Iman Smith. Smith disclosed in 2004 that the couple had never been legally married but had lied about getting married in order to protect Norwood’s reputation. The burden of trying to be a role model led Norwood to initially deny Smith’s assertion that she and Smith were in a “spiritual union and true commitment to each other,” but she eventually acknowledged it.
The following year, Norwood started dating Los Angeles Clippers guard Quentin Richardson, who was then an NBA player. In July 2004, the couple announced their engagement; however, Norwood called off the 14-month engagement in September 2005. According to rumors, Norwood was forced to get a tattoo of Richardson’s face changed into a cat on her back. She had a brief romance with rapper Flo Rida in 2010. Norwood got engaged to music industry executive Ryan Press at the end of 2012. Following their divorce earlier that year, Norwood called off her engagement to Press in April 2014.
Following the release of B7, listeners made assumptions about the significance of the album’s final track, “Bye BiPolar.” Although Norwood does not have bipolar disorder, the song “Bye BiPolar” is a metaphor for her love life and discusses how her mental health difficulties have been made worse by toxic relationships, according to notes the singer wrote to accompany the record. According to Norwood’s statement to the New York Post, “I have not been diagnosed as bipolar but I’ve had moments where trauma has caused me to not be myself, and I felt at a point that I could’ve experienced moments of that.”
Norwood stated, “I’ve dealt with depression in the most severe…like severe depression,” in an interview with The Grio. I’ve experienced trauma. I’ve experienced PTSD. I’ve been through a lot and had to overcome a lot, but I had to do the effort to get through it all, resorting to counseling, prayer, journaling, and meditation.
Awatef Aboudihaj, 38, was operating a Toyota on the 405 Freeway in Los Angeles when Norwood, a driver, collided with it. Aboudihaj later passed away from her injuries at the L.A. Providence Holy Cross Medical Center. Police reportedly said that Norwood was traveling at 65 mph in her car and was unaware that the cars in front of her had slowed significantly. The Toyota then struck another car, skidded sideways, and struck the center barrier as a result of her vehicle colliding with Aboudihaj’s back.
The Toyota was struck by still another car as it was coming to a stop. The California Highway Patrol later received word from a source that Aboudihaj really impacted the vehicle in front of her before slamming on the brakes and coming into touch with Norwood. Norwood struck Aboudihaj’s vehicle due to the abrupt halt. Aboudihaj had “slight traces” of marijuana in her system at the time of the collision, as determined by toxicology testing.
Norwood wasn’t sent in jail. Despite this, Norwood has been the target of numerous lawsuits, all of which her lawyer Ed McPherson ultimately resolved outside of court. Parents of Aboudihaj sued Norwood for $50 million in wrongful death. Trial was initially scheduled for April 2009, but it was ultimately canceled because Norwood and Aboudihaj’s parents reached an out-of-court settlement. Aboudihaj’s husband also sued Norwood, asking for an undisclosed sum of money to cover Aboudihaj’s burial and medical costs, legal fees, and other damages.
In February 2009, he refused his share of a $1.2 million settlement offer, but in November of that same year, he reached a deal. The couple’s two children each earned $300,000, while Norwood reached a settlement with the other two drivers for an undisclosed sum. “The whole experience did completely change my life, and I can say that I can say that I think I’m a better person from it,” Norwood said in May 2009. I don’t know why it all happened or how it all came to be, but I do have a heart, and my thoughts are with everyone who was affected. I pray about it every day, and that’s about all I have to say about it.
How did Brandy Norwood become famous?
Norwood began her acting career with the UPN comedy Moesha (1996–2001), which earned her an NAACP Image Award and led to a number of additional parts, including Karla Wilson in the slasher movie I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998) and the title role in the television movie Cinderella.
Do Brandy have any Grammys?
The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences presents the Grammy Awards on a yearly basis. From 12 nominations, including Best New Artist and Record of the Year, Brandy has only received one award.
How is Snoop Dogg related to Brandy?
That is my family, Brandy is my first cousin,” Snoop told MTV. Bo Diddley, a legendary figure in rock and roll, is Brandy’s third cousin. The comedienne is the daughter of renowned soul singer Minnie Riperton and a former SNL performer.
When did Kobe and Brandy date?
When Kobe was selected in the 1996 NBA Draft, he appeared on Brandy’s TV program, and during their conversation, Brandy even wore a Kobe jersey. Brandy supported Kobe when he triumphed in the 1997 Dunk Contest as well. They started dating, but Vanessa ultimately won Kobe over.
Why did Brandy stop making music?
Brandy’s creative output grew increasingly ambitious in the 2000s, but she eventually had label issues that forced her to take an eight-year break after 2012’s Two Eleven.
How much is Norwood worth?
Brandy, whose stage name is Brandy Rayana Norwood, is an R&B singer, songwriter, producer, actress, and businesswoman. Her estimated net worth is $12 million.
How many houses and cars does Brandy Norwood have?
She has two stunning homes—one in her hometown of McComb and one in Los Angeles.
Brandy does have a thing for gorgeous cars, and as a result, she has a few, including the Land Rover that was in the deadly accident with her.
How much does Brandy Norwood make per year?
The singer-songwriter earns about US$1.5 million annually.
How many Endorsement deals does Brandy Norwood have?
Throughout her career, she has been endorsed by a number of companies, including Candie’s, DKNY, the Wilhelmina Agency, and Ultima.
How many Philanthropy works has Brandy Norwood supported?
Brandy is a philanthropist who has worked with numerous foundations and organisations. She established the Norwood Kids Foundation with her brother Ray J. The nonprofit group’s mission is to “use performing arts as a catalyst to shape the youth of today into self-confident, disciplined, responsible, and caring individuals capable of making a positive impact in their communities.”
She supports UNICEF, the Make A Wish Foundation, and RAINN in addition to working with many foundations for various causes. She has also contributed to a number of other causes. She gave $100,000 in 2000 to 2000 WATTS, a Tyrese Gibson-founded entertainment community center in Watts, a struggling neighborhood in Los Angeles, California.
She has also backed organizations including the American Heart Association and the “Nothing Compares to Family” campaign.