Regarded as the Vocal Bible, Brandy Rayana Norwood in 2012 is embarking on a career comeback that has ignited a loyal fan base to rally behind the star with their unflinching support. The reason why this triple-threat diva is hailed as such a masterful vocalist is simple: Her capabilities have afforded her the recognition. Brandy proficiently explores her range from a rich, deep alto that has the ability to effortlessly transcend into a piercingly bright and lighter soprano tone with ease. Musically - her precision and control is immaculate. Her live showings can easily vouch for this. Brandy's voice has always been distinctive and unique, but what's even more impressive is everything it captures. It's easy to go on about the emotion and character in her singing, but it's more than that contributing to her essence. Some may ask what is it that made people wait for Brandy's return? What feeling is being triggered in so many that she's touched?
Well for starters, Brandy's music is organic and she's honest in how she presents it to the public. Ms. Norwood's impact is felt because the sincerity in her music will have you holding on to everything in those songs. Brandy's innovative and the superior musicality she fuses in with her sound is so original, that's an important factor in what sends her following into a frenzy. She's also a versatile singer, possessing a unusual kind of styling that can handle traditional pop and R&B music, yet explore experimental elements that are unconventional. Her natural gifts: vocal agility, lush harmonies and ad-libs are where Brandy shines. Her voice is an instrument that can mesmerize whether she's sing over the track or make the actual music in the background.
In what seem like a wave of a wand, Brandy was a huge star - overnight! Her first single, 'I Wanna Be Down' released September 6, 1994 by Atlantic Records (her recording label at the time) scored her a #1 on the R&B Singles chart, which impressively - for a new artist - had a 4 week reign. It skyrocketed up the Hot 100 chart peaking at #6. Brandy was only 15 years of age at the this time. She carried a very innocent public image that would later make the singer America's sweetheart. She went on to become a cross-over success with the following singles: 'Baby'( #1 R&B , #4 Hot 100), Brokenhearted (#2 R&B, #9 Hot 100) from her quadruple platinum self- titled debut and 'Sittin Up In My Room' (#2 on both the Hot 100 and R&B Singles chart) off the Waiting To Exhale soundtrack, headed by her mentor/ inspiration, the late great Whitney Houston. Brandy was in constant demand and feverishly gaining popularity.
The teen sensation was practically thrown into a whirlwind of ground-breaking ventures. In 1996 she starred in her own sitcom 'Moesha' on UPN along with veteran actress Sheryl Lee Ralph (of Dream Girls fame) and Countess Vaughn, which became the most watched show broadcast on the television network during that time. She played the character Moesha Mitchell for 6 seasons. Brandy miraculously balanced her successful singing career while partaking in the lure of her acting bug.
In 1997 Brandy filmed Rodger and Hammerstein's Cinderella, along with her idol Whitney Houston (who played her fairy Godmother). She played the first African American starring in the role, along with a multi-cultural cast that included Whoopi Goldberg (Ghost, Sister Act) and Jason Alexander (Seinfeld). The network scored it's highest rating that week when the special aired on ABC, more than 60 million viewers tuned in.
Tidbit: Brandy didn't end her working relationship with Ms. Houston there, Whitney remained a constant in her life. she was hand picked by "The Voice" to record for the 1995 Waiting To Exhale soundtrack and featured on one of the most memorable Vh1 Divas Live specials (along with legendary divas like Cher and Tina Turner) in 1999.
After acing her run as a rookie in the industry, Brandy's sophomore album was due. In 1998 'Never-Say-Never' was released, which saw an already flourishing career catapult to new heights. The album housed her monster hit 'The Boy Is Mine' with her duet partner Monica, which topped the Hot 100 for a record breaking 13 weeks. It's the 2nd longest running duet of all time (only surpassed by Mariah Carey's duet with Boyz II Men, 'One Sweet Day'). It's also tied for 8th place (with Boyz II Men's, 'End Of The Road' ) as the longest running #1 on that chart ever. The song won a Grammy award for Best R&B Performance By Duo or Group With Vocal. Never-Say-Never went on to sell over 16 million worldwide and Brandy landed another #1 following the smash hit with the ballad, 'Have You Ever'.
Later that year Brandy was heading for the big screen starring in the horror flick, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer along with Jennifer Love Hewitt and Mekhi Phifer, who was her Boy Is Mine co-star, that was indeed just that in the film. She played the role of Karla Wilson and was nominated for an MTV Movie and Entertainment Blockbuster awards. The movie went on to gross over 84 million worldwide. In 1999, she joined the supreme legend, Diana Ross for their film Double Platinum.
After the release of 2002's platinum plus selling, 'Full Moon' (one of a Brandy fans' favorite albums), Ms Norwood became a mother for the first time. Brandy and Robert Smith welcomed their beautiful daughter, Sy'rai Iman Smith (see the Skechers add over to the bottom far right in the photos below) into the world in 2002. Brandy's final months of pregnancy was tracked by a four-part MTV series (Diary Presents Brandy: Special Delivery).
Were there endorsements? There were plenty! Brandy was modeling for the likes of DKNY and Candies Shoes. She was a Cover Girl for several years and the spokesperson for UNICEF. Doll figures were made in her image by Mattel. Though it wasn't fair to impose anything on Brandy, she was indeed, an exceptional role model. It comes to no one's surprise that Brandy was sitting on top of the world!
Tribute To The Braids:
Here are only a few of Brandy's different looks during the 90's. She made her signature braids trendy and she was always well known for adding variety to her hairstyles.
- Conquered film and Television
- Scored 2 Multi-platinum albums (one additional platinum plus)
- Won over 100 industry awards.
- Billboard Hot 100 record holder
- Ranked among the top 20 of the Top Pop Artists of the 1990's by Billboard in 1999
- Extraordinarily intricate singer whose influenced so many in the industry
Let's Play: How Do You Like Your Brandy? (That liquor come in handy)
A)Subtly Sexy/Flirty - ( 'I Wanna Be Down', 'Put It Down', 'Full Moon', 'Like This', '1st & Love')
B)Intricate, Complicated and Precise - ('Never-Say-Never', 'Angel In Disguise', 'Focus', 'A Capella (Something's Missing'), 'Drum Life').
C)Blazing Fireball - ('Baby', 'You Don't Know Me', 'What About Us', 'Boy Is Mine', 'Talk About Our Love')
D)Soft and Serene - ( 'Wildest Dreams', 'Almost Doesn't Count', 'Have You Ever', 'Long Distance', 'Camouflage')