Published October 12th


On February 11, 1979, Brandy Norwood — better known as simply Brandy — was born into a musical family in Mississippi. She is the daughter of Willie Norwood, a former gospel singer and choir director, and Sonja Norwood. She is also the older sister of entertainer and singer Ray J.

Norwood snagged a role in the ABC sitcom Thea, where she played the daughter of a single mother portrayed by comedian Thea Vidale. Although it only lasted for one season, young Brandy earned a Young Artists Award nomination for Outstanding Youth Ensemble alongside her fellow co-stars.

Brandy's debut album was a perfect mix of hip-hop and soul. Brandy went quadruple platinum, selling over two million copies in the U.S. She produced four singles from the album, “I Wanna Be Down,” “Baby,” “Best Friend” and “Brokenhearted."

"I Wanna Be Down" helped Brandy to establish herself as one of the most successful artists in the the new breed of urban R&B female vocalists from the mid- to late '90s.

After working as the opening act on Boyz II Men's national tour, Brandy contributed songs to the soundtracks of the films Batman Forever and Waiting to Exhale. Brandy was on fire, so there was no doubt that her single "Sittin' Up in My Room" would become another top-ranking success.

Brandy starred in the UPN sitcom Moesha as the main character, with co-stars William Allen Young and Sheryl Lee Ralph, who played her father and step-mother. Moesha was LA teenager coping with a step-parent as well as the pressures of growing up. The show lasted six seasons and soon became UPN's most-watched show.

Brandy did a collaboration with R&B's finest: Tamia, Chaka Khan and Gladys Knight, on the single "Missing You" from the soundtrack of the film Set It Off. The single earned her a third Grammy nom in the Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals category.

In 1997, the Norwood family created The Norwood Kids Foundation, which assists disadvantaged, at-risk youth in Los Angeles and Mississippi through the arts and self-help programs.

Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella is a romantic musical telefilm produced by Walt Disney Television. The film features a diverse cast starring Brandy as Cinderella, Brandy's idol Whitney Houston as the Fairy Godmother, Paolo Montalban as Prince Christopher, Whoopi Goldberg as Queen Constantina, and Jason Alexander as the valet Lionel.

Brandy worked on Never Say Never with then-up-and-coming producer Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins. The album debuted at No. 3 on the US Billboard 200 chart, with it being Brandy's highest charting and highest-selling album to date in most international markets. The album sold 16 million copies worldwide.

Brandy's No. 1 hit song "Have You Ever," produced by David Foster, was Brandy's second song to reach the top position on the Billboard Hot 100.

Brandy embarked on the Never Say Never World Tour in 1999, featuring sold out performances in the US, Europe, Asia, Africa and Canada.

"The Boy Is Mine" duet with Brandy and Monica rocked our worlds! The mid-tempo R&B track also led to a media exploited rivalry between the two upcoming songstresses. The single went double-platinum and went on to become the best-selling female duet of all time. These two ladies also both won their first Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal for the song and landed one of the longest-running No. 1 singles in history.

Barbie released a doll in Brandy's likeness in 1999. Two decades later, a Brandy fan named Tyren Redd gave the doll new life. The Instagram account, @4everbarbiebrandy, showcases the doll wearing beautifully curated outfits mirroring Brandy’s real-life looks and hairstyles.

In 2002, she starred in the reality series Brandy: Special Delivery, which documented the birth of her daughter.  

In 2002, Brandy released her third album, entitled Full Moon, which featured two hot singles: "Full Moon" and "What About Us."

Afrodisiac, her fourth album, was an experimental project with Timbaland. The mellow contemporary R&B sound was made up of eccentric hip-hop breakbeats, ambient soundscapes and indie rock samples. The new pairing of her and Timbaland seemed like a great fit and the album showed that as it earned a gold certification from the RIAA.

She served as a judge on the first season of America's Got Talent before being involved in a tragic car accident in 2006. She came back as a judge on the second season of the show, but went on hiatus shortly after.

Of the experience, she said, "I had to face it and find the strength to move forward. Connecting back with music has definitely helped me through everything. Once I got back in the studio, the butterflies went away."

Norwood introduced the world to her new rap alter ego Bran'Nu on Timbaland’s album Shock Value II  in 2009.

In fall 2010, Brandy came on as a contestant on season 11 of the ABC reality competition show Dancing With the Stars, where she partnered with Maksim Chmerkovskiy and became one of the frontrunners of the show throughout the entire competition.  

In April 2010, Brandy and her brother Ray J debuted in the VH1 reality series Brandy and Ray J: A Family Business alongside their parents. The show showcased the very raw backstage lives of both siblings and their journey into taking on larger roles in their family's management and production company.

Brandy soon found her way back to TV with recurring appearances on The CW's teen drama series 90210 and in the fourth season of Lifetime's comedy series Drop Dead Diva, in which she played the role of Elisa Shayne.

In 2011, she joined the cast of the hit BET series The Game, playing the recurring role of Chardonnay until she became a regular cast member by the next season.

In 2012, Brandy released Two Eleven, the album's title originates from Brandy's birthday as well as the day on which her idol and dear friend, Whitney Houston, passed away.

Brandy said of the album, "I'm reinventing myself and I feel fearless. [Two Eleven is] mature, it's gritty, it's edgy. RCA reminds me of how Atlantic used to be. They really believed in my vision as an artist when they signed me at 14, RCA welcomed me and Breyon Prescott and Peter Edge showed such passion for what I wanted to do."

One of the hit singles from the album, "Put It Down," features Chris Brown. The song peaked in the top five of the US Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs and is still stuck in our heads!

In March 2013, Brandy gave film another shot and joined the cast of Tyler Perry's drama Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor. She starred alongside Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Lance Gross and Vanessa L. Williams as supporting character Melinda.

In July of 2014, she was inducted as an honorary member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

At the 2014 BET Hip Hop Awards, she had a reunion performance with Queen Latifah, MC Lyte and Yo-Yo for the hip hop remix of "I Wanna Be Down" in celebration of its 20th anniversary.

In April 2015, Brandy made her Broadway debut in the musical Chicago playing the lead role of Roxie Hart. She later reprised the role in the musical's national tour in Los Angeles.

BET snagged Brandy again to star, co-create and co-executive produce a new sitcom called Zoe Ever After that aired on the network in January 2016.

Throughout her career, Brandy has sold over 40 million records worldwide, making her one of the best selling female artists of all time — and it all comes from her amazing talent. The people don't call her 'The Vocal Bible' for nothing! Congratulations Brandy on earning the Lady of Soul Award.


TUES, AUG 22, 8P/7C