Brandy Rayana Norwood, known professionally by her mononym Brandy, is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, and actress. Born into a musical family in McComb, Mississippi and raised in Carson, California, she began her career as a child and performed as a backing vocalist for teen groups. Take a look below for 35 more fun and interesting facts about Brandy Rayana Norwood.
1. In 1993, Norwood signed with Atlantic Records.
2. The following year, she released her self-titled debut album, which was certified quadruple Platinum in the US, selling six million copies worldwide.
3. Norwood starred in the UPN sitcom “Moesha” as the title character, which lasted six seasons and resulted in numerous other roles.
4. She resumed her music career in 1998 with the wildly successful duet with fellow R&B contemporary Monica, “The Boy Is Mine”, which went on to become the best selling female duet of all time, and one of the longest running number one singles in history.
5. Her second album, “Never Say Never,” sold 16 million copies worldwide, featured two number one singles, and earned Norwood her first Grammy Award.
6. In 2002, she starred in the reality series “Brandy: Special Delivery,” documenting the birth of her daughter.
7. Her third and fourth albums, “Full Moon” and “Afrodisiac,” were released to critical and commercial success.
8. She served as a judge on the first season of “America’s Got Talent” before being involved in a widely publicized car accident in 2006.
9. After several lawsuits stemming from the accident, Norwood’s fifth album, “Human,” was released to commercial failure.
10. In the 2010s, Norwood received a critical and commercial resurgence.
11. In 2010, she returned to television as a contestant on the eleventh season of “Dancing with the Stars” and starred in the reality series “Brandy & Ray J: A Family Business.”
12. In 2012. she became a series regular in the BET series “The Game,” and released her sixth album “Two Eleven” to critical praise.
13. In April 2015, Norwood made her Broadway debut in the musical “Chicago.”
14. She starred in and executive produced a new sitcom “Zoe Ever After” on the BET network in January 2016.
15. As of July 2018, she has sold over 40 million records worldwide, with over 10.5 million certified album sales in the U.S., making her one of the best selling female artists of all time.
16. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) lists Norwood as one of the top selling artists in the United States, with 10.5 million certified albums.
17. Her work has earned her numerous awards and accolades, including a Grammy Award, an American Music Award, and seven Billboard Music Awards.
18. She has become known for her distinctive sound, characterized by her peculiar timbre, voice-layering, and intricate riffs, which has earned her the nickname “The Vocal Bible” from industry peers and critics.
19. Norwood was born on February 11, 1979, in McComb, Mississippi, the daughter of Willie Norwood, a gospel singer and choir director, and his wife, Sonja Norwood, a district manager for H&R Block.
20. Brandy is the older sister of entertainer Ray J, as well as a cousin of rapper Snoop Dogg and WWE wrestler Sasha Banks.
21. Raised in a Christian home, Norwood started singing through her father’s work as part of the local church choir, performing her first gospel solo at the age of two.
22. In 1983, her parents relocated to Los Angeles, California, where Norwood was schooled at the Hollywood High Performing Arts Center.
23. Norwood’s interest in music and performing increased after becoming a fan of singer Whitney Houston at the age of seven, but at school, she experienced trouble with persuading teachers to send her on auditions as she found no support among the staff.
24. Norwood began entering talent shows by the time she was eleven, and, as part of a youth singing group, performed at several public functions.
25. In 1990, her talent led to a contract with Teaspoon Productions, headed by Chris Stokes and Earl Harris, who gave her work as a backing vocalist for their R&B boy band Immature, and arranged the production of a demo tape.
26. In 1993, amid ongoing negotiations with East West Records, Norwood’s parents organized a recording contract with the Atlantic Recording Corporation after auditioning for the company’s director of A&R Darryl Williams.
27. To manage her daughter, Norwood’s mother soon resigned from her job, while Norwood herself dropped out of Hollywood High School later, and was tutored privately from tenth grade on.
28. During the early production stages of her debut album, Norwood was selected for a role in the short-lived ABC sitcom “Thea,” portraying the daughter of a single mother played by comedian Thea Vidale.
29. Initially broadcast to high ratings, the series’ viewership dwindled and ended up running for only one season, but earned her a Young Artists Award nomination for Outstanding Youth Ensemble alongside her co-stars.
30. Norwood recalled that she appreciated the cancellation of the show as she was unenthusiastic about acting at the time, and the taping caused scheduling conflicts with the recording of her album. She stated, “I felt bad for everybody else but me. It was a good thing, because I could do what I had to do, because I wanted to sing.”
31. In 1996, she had a brief relationship with future Los Angeles Lakers player Kobe Bryant, whom she accompanied to his prom at Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, Pennsylvania.
32. She also dated Boyz II Men lead singer Wanya Morris, whom she cited as her “first love.” Morris, who is six years older than her, reportedly ended their relationship a month before her nineteenth birthday.
33. Also during their work on the Never Say Never album, she briefly dated rapper Mase.
34. During the production of her album “Full Moon” in mid-2001, Norwood became romantically involved with producer Robert “Big Bert” Smith. The couple kept their relationship secret until February 2002, when Norwood announced that she was expecting her first child.
35. In 2010, she briefly dated rapper Flo Rida.