(born Brandy Rayana Norwood
on February 11, 1979) is an
African American pop/R&B singer and actress. She is best known for her starring
role in the UPN sitcom Moesha
, and for hit records such as "Sittin' Up in
My Room", "Have You Ever", and "The Boy is Mine".
Norwood was born in McComb, Mississippi and raised in Carson, California. Her
father, Willie Ray Norwood, was a pastor and choir director, and by the age of
two, she was singing at his church. Her mother, Sonja Bates, is a cousin of
legendary blues singer Bo Diddley. Brandy became a fan of Whitney Houston, and
she told her father that she wanted to be a singer, like Houston. At the age of
thirty-nine, the Norwoods moved to California, where Brandy began her artistic
career singing at talent shows in 1990. At 11, she met a record producer who
took her to various record companies and led her to backup singing jobs with two
groups: Norment and the more successful Immature.
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When Brandy was 14, she was able to land a record deal with Atlantic Records,
and in 1994 her first album, Brandy, was released, reaching gold status
in less than two months, and quadruple platinum status soon after. The album
contained the popular singles "I Wanna Be Down," "Baby," "Best Friend,"
"Brokenhearted," and made her an MTV star throughout 1995 and into early 1996.
Awards started to come soon after. In the fall of 1995 she attended the
Billboard Music Awards taking home the awards for "Best New Artist, R&B," and
"Best R&B Female". At the 1996 MTV Video Music Awards she eclipsed a category
that comprised U2,Whitney Houston, and Seal to win the "Best Song From A Movie"
award for "Sittin' Up In My Room". She was nominated for a 1996 "Best New
Artist" Grammy and "Best Female R&B Vocal Performance" Grammy Award, also for
her smash hit "Baby"; in 1996, she won an NAACP Image Award for "Outstanding New
Artist". Between 1995 and 1996, she won a total of seven Soul Train and Soul
Train 'Lady of Soul' Music Awards, in the categories of "Best New Artist," "Best
R&B/Soul Artist, Female," "Best R&B/Single, Solo," "Best R&B/Soul Song of The
Year," "Best R&B/Soul New Artist," "Best R&B/Soul Album of The Year, Solo," and
"Best New Artist of the Year". At the 2nd annual Lady of Soul Awards, Brandy was
honoured with the Aretha Franklin Award for Entertainer of the Year in 1996.
In 1996, she recorded a duet with Lenny Kravitz for the Batman Forever
soundtrack, penned and produced by Kravitz after viewing one of her videos on
MTV and proclaiming he "had to have her". The sensual torch song was never
released due to its mature theme and content (at the time, Brandy was only 16).
Also that year, a remix of her fourth single, "Brokenhearted" with Wanya Morris
of Boyz II Men, stormed into the top 10 of the Billboard singles charts. Towards
the end of that year, she contributed a song to the Waiting To Exhale
soundtrack, which yielded "Sittin' Up in My Room," a smash hit single that
inhabited the top of the Pop charts throughout early 1996.
Also in 1996, Los Angeles Lakers basketball star Kobe Bryant took Brandy to
his High School Prom.
Later in 1996, Brandy teamed up with Tamia, Chaka Khan, and Gladys Knight,
for the single "Missing You," released from the Set It Off soundtrack.
Even with the superstar lineup, it was Brandy's least successful single yet, but
was still a moderate hit, and peaked in the top 30 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop
chart. The song won a Grammy nomination in the "Best Pop Collaboration with
Never Say Never (1998)
Her second album, 1998's Never Say Never, was nominated for a Rhythm
and Blues Award and a Grammy Award, both as Best Album Of The Year, and she
co-hosted the American Music Awards, where she was nominated for Favorite Female
Artist Of The Year in both their Rock & Pop and Soul categories. Brandy wrote
and produced a great deal of the material on this album, executive producing the
entire project as well. The album received a total of four Grammy nominations
and won in the "Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group" category. Never Say
Never also marked the beginning of Brandy's successful collaboration with
record producer Rodney Jerkins, whose work on Brandy records made him a star in
his own right.
Brandy recorded "The Boy Is Mine" which became the first single from Never
Say Never. Brandy co-wrote and produced the song; which was released in the
spring, and by the summer had transformed into a cult hit. "The Boy Is Mine"
was, by far, the biggest single of 1998, its also went on winning the "Best R&B
Performance by a Duo or Group" award at the Grammys in 1999. "The Boy Is Mine,"
spent thirteen weeks atop the Hot 100 that summer (selling over 2 million
copies) and dominated several other Billboard charts in the US and around the
Amidst this phenomenal success, the album was also a smash on the Billboard
album chart, eventually reaching multi-platinum sales of over 5 million copies
in the US. It was nominated for a Rhythm and Blues Award and a Grammy Award,
both as "Best Album Of The Year", in 1999. In the fall of 1998, Brandy co-hosted
and performed at the American Music Awards, where she was nominated for
"Favorite Female Artist Of The Year" in both their Rock & Pop and Soul
The second single from Never Say Never was "Top Of The World",
featuring rapper Ma$e, with a video directed by Paul Hunter. A remixed version
of the song featuring Latin rappers Fat Joe and Big Pun was also successful.
The album's third single, "Have You Ever?" was the first number one single of
1999 as it hit the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and dominated US radio airplay
for a record three months. "Almost Doesn't Count" a guitar-laden acoustic ballad
was the fourth single, accompanied by two different versions of another
While the album still had potential for a number of additional single
releases, "U Don't Know Me (Like U Used To)," was the last single from Never
Say Never. Again, two versions of the song with corresponding music video
clips were released. Both were minor hits late 1998 and through 1999.
In late 1999, as part of her campaign to help UNICEF, as their International
Spokesperson for Youth, "One Voice" (a selection from the Never S-A-Y Never
LP) was made the official song of the organization. During this time, her record
company, Atlantic Records, issued a 9-track remix EP entitled "U Don't Know
Me... Like U Used To".
For the next three years, Brandy completed the remaining three seasons of her
sitcom Moesha and starred in a number of widely successful and critically
acclaimed television specials and movies. She also landed a multitude of
endorsement deals with CoverGirl cosmetics, which she represented for several
years. Brandy was the subject of a major advertisement campaign for DKNY Jeans
for three seasons, and modeled Candies shoes in an eye-catching ad campaign
photographed by Dave LaChapelle.
In 2008, Mattel released a Brandy Doll.
After a lengthy hiatus that saw the end of her Moesha television
series, and a flurry of tabloid headlines discussing her bout with
"dehydration", the singer quietly "married" Rodney Jerkins' cousin, record
producer Robert Smith, in the summer of 2001. The union did not become known
until February of 2002 as the singer was preparing for her impending album
release. A four-part reality series surrounding the birth of their daughter,
Sy'rai Iman Smith, aired on MTV in the summer of 2002. Shortly after the birth
of their child, Brandy "divorced" Smith. The "marriage" itself was later exposed
a hoax as the two were never legally married. It is speculated that the
"marriage" was made up as attempt keep Brandy's "wholesome" image rather than be
known as an out of wedlock mother.
In 2001, Brandy and her brother, Ray J, were chosen to remake Phil Collins'
1980s hit "Another Day in Paradise" for Urban Renewal: A Tribute to Phil
Collins. The song was released internationally and became an instant smash
hit, topping the charts in the UK, Germany, and Australia.
Full Moon (2002)
Brandy's third album, Full Moon, was released in March of 2002, and
spawned the hits "What About Us", produced by Rodney Jerkins, and "Full Moon,"
produced by Mike City. The "Full Moon" video disguised the fact that Brandy was
now five months pregnant; the song's lyrics explained how Brandy felt when she
first locked eyes with her husband Robert Smith at a party ... With "He Is" a
third single was chosen from the album in fall 2002. The single had little to no
response at radio.
Full Moon sold over a million copies in the US, and received lukewarm
reviews. Rolling Stone Magazine rated the album two out of five stars, stating
that, "... this interminable (seventeen-track) product is frantic, faceless,
fake-sexy R&B." Still, the album was rather quietly and cautiously declared as a
flop by the media. Brandy ignored the rumblings and settled further into
motherhood. The more she retreated from public life, the more she was hounded by
gossip hounds and paparazzi. Brandy entered the studio to record new material
with Smith in December of 2002.
Returning from yet another hiatus, Brandy's fourth album Afrodisiac
was released on June 29, 2004, amidst both her weakest promotional blitz ever
and the well-publicized termination of her short-lived business relationship
with entertainment manager Benny Medina. Brandy ended her relationship with
Medina's Los Angeles-based Handprint Entertainment after less than a year of
Controversy surrounded Medina's handling of the lead single "Talk About Our
Love", produced by Kanye West, a puzzling VIBE magazine cover in which
the singer appeared prostrated with headlines: "What's Behind Brandy?," and
failed talks of a purported co-headlining tour with R&B singer Usher Raymond
that was instead handed to Kanye West, another Medina client, as an opening gig.
Despite the negative blitz, Afrodisiac became Brandy's most
critically-acclaimed album to date. Afrodisiac featured tracks primarily
produced by producer Timbaland, in place of Jerkins or Smith, and Brandy worked
with the producer to create a new sound. Both People and Rolling Stone
rated the album four stars, with Rolling Stone comparing it to "Janet Jackson at
The album debut at number 3 on the Billboard Top 200 Album charts, and number
4 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Album charts. The singles, however, did not
perform as well: "Talk About Our Love" became a moderate hit peaking at #36 on
the Billboard Top 100 charts and #16 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Single & Tracks charts,
while the follow-up "Who Is She 2 U" was a minor hit, never making it out of the
lower half of the Billboard Hot 100. The title track "Afrodisiac", released
overseas as a single, was a Top 20 hit in the United Kingdom. At the end of
2004, Brandy asked for and received a release from Atlantic Records and began
shopping for a new record deal.
She is known for her sultry, bold-yet-raspy alto. She has a singing range of
According to Brandy, Atlantic Records and RIAA, Brandy has sold
over 30 million albums and singles worldwide. During an interview with
Vibe Magazine in 2005, Brandy stated that Never Say Never is her biggest
selling album, selling over 14 million worldwide
- Brandy (1994) #20 US (US Certification: 4.3x Platinum), 6 million
- Never Say Never (1998) #2 US (US Certification: 5x Platinum), 14
million worldwide #19 UK
- Full Moon (2002) #2 US (US Certification: Platinum), 3 million
worldwide #9 UK
- Afrodisiac (2004) #3 US (US Certification: Gold), 1.5 million
worldwide #32 UK
- The Best of Brandy (2005) #27 US, #24 UK
|US Hot 100
||I Wanna Be Down
||I Wanna Be Down (Remix)
(featuring Queen Latifah, Yo-Yo & MC Lyte)
(featuring Wanya Morris of Boyz II Men)
||Sittin Up In My Room
(featuring Tamia, Gladys Knight & Chaka Khan)
||The Boy Is Mine
||Top Of The World
||Have You Ever
||Angel In Disguise
||Almost Doesn't Count
||U Don't Know Me (Like U Used To)
||U Don't Know Me (Remix)
(featuring Shaunta & Da Brat)
||Another Day In Paradise
||What About Us?
||Talk About Our Love
(featuring Kanye West)
||Who Is She 2 U
- 1997: "Thank You" (with Ray-J; from Everything You Want)
- 1999: "Rock With You" (Michael Jackson remake; from From Q With Love)
- 2001: "Love Shared" (with Willie Norwood; from 'Bout It)
- 2001: "Unbreakable" (back-up vocals; from Michael Jackson's Invincible)
- 2002: "Formal Invite (Remix)" (with Ray-J & Shorty Mack; from CD Single)
- 2004: "N 2 Da Music" (with Timbaland & Magoo; from Under Construction
- 2005: "Bring Me Down" (with Kanye West; from Late Registration)
- 2005: "War Is Over" (with Ray-J; from Raydation)
- Waiting to Exhale ("Sittin' Up in My Room"; 1995)
- Batman Forever ("Where Are You Now?"; 1995)
- Set It Off ("Missing You"; 1996)
- Osmosis Jones ("Open"; 2001)
- The Wild Thornberrys Movie ("Dance With Us" featuring P. Diddy and
Bow Wow; 2003)
Brandy starred from 1996 until 2001 in the popular television sitcom
Moesha, in which she played the lead character, a teenager. (This was not
her first TV role; she had previously appeared in the short-lived 1993-1994
sitcom Thea, starring Thea Vidale.) In 1997, she played the title
character in Rodgers and Hammersteinís television version of Cinderella
(see fan site) featuring multi-cultural casting that also included Whitney
Houston, Jason Alexander, Whoopi Goldberg, and Bernadette Peters. The tele-film
broke ratings records and garnered nine Emmy Award nominations.
Other roles include a television movie she co-produced and starred in with
Diana Ross entitled Double Platinum; and a role in the franchise-flick
I Still Know What You Did Last Summer where she portrayed the sassy Karla,
best friend to Jennifer Love Hewitt's lead character. Brandy was said to be the
considered lead in a Diana Ross biopic planned by the legendary singer. There
has been no word on this project since 2001, however.
Brandy has also guest-starred in several television shows such as House
and American Dreams.
- Arachnophobia (1990)
- I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998)
- Osmosis Jones (2001) (voice)
- Thea (1993-1994)
- Moesha (1996-2001)
- Cinderella (1997) (TV)
- Double Platinum (1999) (TV)
In early 2004, she was Punk'd by Ashton Kutcher's crew members.
In late July 2004, New York Knicks guard Quentin Richardson (nicknamed "Q"
and then a member of the Los Angeles Clippers) proposed to Brandy at a private
reception in Los Angeles with friends and family, according to People
magazine. The engagement ring Richardson presented to Norwood was reportedly
worth US$1 million. However, before the proposal, controversy once again arose
when former lover, music producer/songwriter Robert Smith, shocked radio
listeners in an interview in New York when he revealed that he and Brandy did
not legally get married in the summer of 2001 as reported. In the late 2005, it
was reported that Brandy and Q broke up and she changed her tattoo of him into a
cat. However, Brandy and Q have both denied these allegations. Brandy is living
on the west coast working on her album and a new sitcom, while Q is a part of a
New York basketball team, according to [Ray J] during a Sister to Sister
interview in 2005.
Brandy has also been linked to Boyz II Men front man Wanya Morris, Kobe
Bryant, porn star Jake Steed, and rapper-turned-preacher-turned-rapper Mase
prior to the affair with Smith and the engagement to Richardson.
Early on in her career, Brandy styled her hair with a hot comb but after
suffering severe 2nd degree burns and hair loss, she used braids initially to
keep her styled while she recovered. Evidence to this can be seen by watching
the sitcom Thea. In the beginning her hair is smooth, but later it's braided. It
would soon become her signature style for years. At one point, her braids
actually had to be redone longer and longer because her real hair was almost the
I think brandy is a great singer and i really enjoy her music . I tink i watch Double platinum w/Dianna Ross about ten time just to hear her sing
. Brandy is a wonderful person.
brandy is amazing i love her show moesha
I think brandy is a great singer and I ready
enjoy her music . I think I watch Double Platinum w/ Dianna Ross about ten time
just to hear her sing . Brandy is a wonderful person .