Brandy Rayana Norwood 


Brandy Rayana Norwood was born on February 11th, 1979, in McComb, Mississippi. Brandy is the daughter of Willie (a gospel singer and choir director) and Sonia (a district manager for H&R Block). Brandy has one brother Willie Jr, also known as Ray J. Brandy, the first cousin of Snoop Dogg. Brandy’s parents found talents in their children and decided to move the whole family from Mississippi to Los Angeles. Brandy was four, and Ray J was two years old, and they had started their vocal training in a church youth choir. The church was Brandy’s first stage. Brandy stated, “My brother and I were always in the front as featured singers because our dad was the choir director.” Brandy also said that she began being a directress of the younger choirs.

Early Career

Brandy started her career at a young age after moving to Los Angles. Willie handled Brandy and Ray J’s musical grooming, while Sonia served as business manager and chaperon. Brandy calls Sonia her momager. Sonia must okay clothing, costume, diet, social and career choices. At 11 years old, Brandy won second place in a talent contest and was singing at a local event. One year later, at the age of 12, Brandy earned a spot singing backup for an R &B group entitled Immature. After that, brandy enrolled in the Hollywood High Performing Arts Center. In 1993 when Brandy was 14 signed her first recoding Contract with Atlantic Records. Then several months later, Brandy landed a role on the ABC sitcom Thea as Daneesha. Brandy’s character was the daughter of the title character Thea. Even though the show did not last long, Brandy was not upset she stated, “I’m always smiling and happy.” Though the show did not last long, it was monumental in launching Brandy’s career.

Debut Album

After Thea stopped airing, Brandy took it upon herself to work on her self-titled debut album “Brandy,” released in 1994. The album immediately produced Billboard Hot 100 Top Ten smashes such as “I Wanna Be Down” and “Baby.” Both songs were certified gold and platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. Brandy went on to sell over six million units worldwide. The album earned Brandy two Grammy Award nominations for Best New Artist and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. The album also won Brandy four Soul Train Music Awards, two Billboard Awards, and the New York Children’s Choice Award. Due to the album’s success, Brandy embarked on her first 13-city tour of U.S High schools and a two-month stint as the opening act for Boyz II Men’s national tour. Brandy also lent her voice to the Batman Forever and Waiting to Exhale, with the single “Sittin’ Up in My Room” another success. In 1996 Brandy collaborated with TamiaChaka Khan, and Gladys Knight on the single “Missing You,” released from the F. Gray Gray film Set It Off soundtrack. This single won her a third Grammy nomination in the Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals category. Also, in 1996 Brandy landed her sitcom entitled Moesha. Brandy played the lead role of Moesha, a Los Angeles girl coping with a stepmother and the pressures and demands of becoming an adult. Brandy was awarded an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Youth Actor/Actress for her role as Moesha.

Second Album

In 1997, Whitney Huston hand-picked Brandy to play Cinderella in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s television version. The two-hour Disney special gained an estimated 60 million viewers giving the network its highest ratings in 16 years. Brandy’s performance of Cinderella awarded her with an Emmy Award for Outstanding Art Direction for a Variety or Music Program in 1998. In 1998 Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins was asked to contribute to Brandy’s second album, Never say Never. Brandy co-wrote and produced six songs for the album, including her first number-one hit on the U.S Billboard Hot 100, “The Boy is Mine.” The single is a duet with R&B singer Monica that became one of the most successful songs by a female in the music industry. The song awarded the duo a Grammy Award for Best R & R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. Never Say Never was released in June of 1998, and it became Brandy’s best-selling album, selling over 16 million copies worldwide and reaching number two on the Billboard top 200. Brandy went on the Never Say Never Tour in 1999 with shows in Europe, Asia, and the United States to promote the album.

Third and Fourth Albums

Full Moon is Brandy’s third studio album, and it was released in February of 2002. It was composed of R&B and pop-oriented songs. The album debuted at number two on the Billboard Top 200 and topped the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. The album’s lead single is “What about Us?”. Brandy also started to dip into reality television in 2002 with the MTV series Diary Presents Brandy: Special Delivery. The show documents the final month of Brandy’s pregnancy and the birth of her daughter Sy” rai. After returning from another Hiatus, Brandy released her fourth studio album entitled “Afrodisiac” in 2004.

Fifth and Sith Albums

In February of 2006, Brandy appeared in a recurring role on the sitcom One on One. Brandy played the sister to brother Ray J’s character D-Mack. In June of 2006, Brandy was cast as one of America’s Got Talent judges. In 2007 Brandy did not retune to the show due to a fatal car accident she was involved in. Then Brandy released her fifth studio album, Human, in 2008. The album debuted at number 15 on U.S Billboard 200. In 2010 Bandy and Ray J debuted in the VH1 Reality series Brandy and Ray J: A Family Business. The show showed the backstage lives of both siblings while taking on more prominent roles in their family management and production business. In 2010 Brandy was a contestant on season 11 of Dancing With the Stars with partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy and placed fourth. Later in 2010, Brandy appeared on the series 90210 and the fourth season of Drop Dead Diva. In 2011 Brandy joined the cast of the BET comedy series the Game. Brandy played the role of Chardonnay. In 2012 Brandy teamed up with Monica to release a single, “It All Belongs to Me.” Brandy also collaborated with Chris Brown to release “Put It Down.” Later in 2012, Brandy released her sixth album entitled “Two Eleven.” This album was seen as her comeback to R&B, and it reached number 3 on the U.S billboard 200 and the top of the U.S Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.

Seventh Album and Queens

After filming the last season of The Game, Brandy went on to star in the Broadway hit “Chicago.” Brandy played the lead role of Roxie Hart at the beginning of 2015. In January 2016, Brandy played the lead role in the BET sitcom Zoe Ever After. Also, in January, Brandy released the single “Beggin & Paladin” through her record label Slayana Records. Brandy then released her seventh album, B7 (her first album in eight years); In 2020, the album debuted at number 12 on the Billboard 200. In 2021 Brandy was cast on the ABC show Queens. Many soundtracks have been released through the show, such as “Nasty Girl,” “Hear Me,” and “Lady Z Strikes Back (Can’t Stop You).

Works Cited

Bashir, I. (2019, September 27). What Brandy’s Debut Album Taught Black Girls. Teen Vogue. Retrieved February 19, 2022, from

Brandy – The Vogue. (n.d.). Thevogue. Retrieved February 19, 2022, from

Brandy Biography. (n.d.). Muisicanguide. Retrieved February 19, 2022, from

Brandy Norwood. (2019, November 11). World-Celebs. Retrieved February 19, 2022, from

Famous African Americans. (n.d.). Brandy Norwood – Biography and Facts. Retrieved February 19, 2022, from

Huey, S. H. (n.d.). Brandy Biography, Songs, & Albums. AllMusic. Retrieved February 19, 2022, from

Williams, S. W. (n.d.). Brandy Norwood. Brandy Norwood. Retrieved February 19, 2022, from

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