Mississippi Writers and Musicians
MISSISSIPPI MUSICIANS: Brandy Norwood


Brandy Norwood Brandy

Major Works

Songs

  • Baby
  • I Wanna Be Down
  • Brokenhearted
  • Sittin Up In My Room
  • The Boy  Is Mine
  • Angel Have You Ever

Albums

  • Brandy (1994)
  • Never Say Never (1998)

Television Shows

  • Moesha Brandy Norwood
  • Cinderella

Films

  • I Still Know What You Did Last Summer

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Brandy Norwood: A Biography
By Shea Williams (SHS)

Brandy, Brandy, Brandy!  This famous Rhythm and Blues "Soul" singer began her career at the age of fifteen. Her first album, Brandy, opened up a whole new world for her.  This talented, intelligent female from Mississippi did not just stop at singing but went on to acting.  She has her own sitcom, Moesha, and she also had a minor role in the sitcom, Thea.

Brandy co-writes some of her  material.  She has recently made history by having the major role in the first mixed-cast performance of Cinderella.   Brandy also won the 1996 Lady Of Soul "Entertainer" of the Year" Award, and her career continues to move forward.  But where did Brandy begin?

Brandy Rayanna Norwood was born February 11, 1979, in McComb, Mississippi. Her parents are Sonja, a former financial analyst, and Willie Ray Norwood, Sr., a minister of music. Brandy sang her first song in the church choir in Southaven, Mississippi, at the age of two. She later told her father that she wanted to be a singer after hearing Whitney Houston for the first time.Brandy Norwood and Whitney Houston When Brandy was fours years old, the family moved to Carson, California. In 1990 Brandy began participating in talent shows and charity events. At the age of eleven she met a producer who took her to auditions with various record labels (brandy-fan). She also sang back up for Immature, a young male trio (Norment). At the age of fourteen, she signed with Atlantic Records.

Brandy finally recorded her first album, Brandy, which was released in 1994. This album certified gold in just two months, and it went on later to be triple platinum, selling more than three million copies (Brandy Norwood Gallery). In 1995 she went to the Billboard Music Awards. In 1996 Brandy won the Music Television Award for the Best Movie Song, Sittin' Up In My Room (casenet). She was also nominated for the Best New Artist Grammy Award during this year. However, she did not stop at those but went on to win the NAACP Image Award for the Best New Artist, and she also won the Soul Train Award for the Best New Artist (casenet). Brandy also did a duet with Lenny Kravitz. She made a video with Boyz II Men, and she was on the Waiting To Exhale soundtrack. Brandy has also performed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (Carson). Brandy's second album, Never Say Never, was released in 1998. In 1999 this album was nominated for a Rhythm and Blues Grammy, and it was also nominated for the Record of the Year Grammy. Brandy co-hosted the American Music Awards during this year. She was also nominated for the Favorite Female Artist in the Pop and Rock category. Brandy  received the nomination for the Favorite Female Artist in the Soul category. A big duo hit, The Boy Is Mine, was released with Monica in 1998. In 1999 this big hit won the Best Rhythm and Blues Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal Grammy (casenet).

Brandy has also taken up acting as a career.   In 1990 Brandy appeared in Arachnophobia with a minor role. Three years later she had a minor role in Demolition Man. Brandy's biggest sitcom, Moesha, premiered in 1996 with Brandy starring. The next year Brandy starred in the musical production of Cinderella (Carson).  She also won the Image Award for Outstanding Youth Actor/Actress Award. In 1998 Brandy was nominated for the Image Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in the Comedy Series Moesha, and she was also nominated for the Image Award for the Outstanding Lead Actress in Cinderella (casenet).   During this year Brandy had her first major role in a featured film, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. She also had a major role in the television movie with Diana Ross called Double Platinum. Shea Williams, SHS researcher

Today, Brandy still lives at home with her mother, father, and  brother, Ray J (Carson). Brandy and Ray J. have their own company called Movin' On Productions, which handles their touring and performances (Norment). Brandy made straight A's in high school and began attending Pepperdine University in the spring of 1997 where she majored in psychology and music (brandy-fan). This university is located in Malibu, California (Carson). Her roots are still in McComb, Mississippi, where Brandy's grandfather, Fred "Paw Paw" Bates, has run several businesses, including a taxicab service and a liquor store (BET Soul Chat). Brandy adores Whitney Houston. Some other people she really enjoys listening to are Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, and Toni Braxton ( Brandy Story). Her favorite movie is Clueless. Wanya Morris, from Boyz II Men, was her first boyfriend. She became acquainted with him in 1995 while touring with them. They became serious when she was eighteen; however, it did not work out. Their busy careers and the distance between them was just too much. Kobe Bryant took her to his 1996 high school prom. In 1997 Brandy got a fully loaded Range Rover for Christmas ( Norment).

In conclusion, Brandy is a living example of the belief that dreams do come true. Her dream of singing that sparked at the age of two has indeed come true. She has also pursued a successful acting career. Brandy is truly one of many talents.

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Timeline

1979 - Born in McComb, Mississippi
1981 - Sang first solo in choir in Southaven, Mississippi
1983 - Moved to Carson, California
1990 - Began performing in talent shows
1990 - Appeared in the movie Arachnophobia
1993 - Signed with Atlantic Records
1993 - Appeared in the movie Demolition Man
1993 - Received the daughter role in the sitcom Thea
1994 - Released first album called I Wanna Be Down
1995 - Went on four week national tour performing and talking to students
1995 - Met her first boyfriend Wanya Morris
1996 - Won the NAACP Image Award for the Best New Artist
1996 - Won the Music Television Movie Award for the Best Movie Song Called Sittin Up In My RoomBrandy CD
1996 -
Won Soul Train Award for Best New Artist
1996 - UPN sitcom Moesha premieres with her starring role
1996 - Goes to prom with NBA player Kobe Bryant
1997 - Starred in the movie Cinderella
1997 - Enrolled into Pepperdine University in Malibu
1997 - Gets a fully loaded Range Rover
1997 - Won the Image Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in Moesha
1997 - Won the NAACP Image Award Best Youth Actor/Actress
1998 - Nominated for the Image Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in Cinderella
1998 - Had first major role in featured film Still Know What You Did Last Summer
1998 - Released second album Never Say Never
1999 - Co-hosts American Music Awards
1999 - Nominated for Favorite Female Artist in the Pop and Rock category
1999 - Nominated for the Record of the Year Grammy for her second album, Never Say Never
1999 - Won the Best Rhythm and Blues Performance by a Duo or Group with vocal Grammy for The Boy Is Mine
1999 - Nominated for the Rhythm and Blues Album Grammy for Never Say Never
1999 - Won the Image Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in Moesha
1999 - Made Television Movie with Diana Ross called Double Platinum

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A Review of I Wanna Be Down
by Shea Williams (SHS)

Brandy's first album, Brandy, characterizes Brandy Norwoods's  fifteen-year-old personality very well. Through her songs on this album, Brandy is portrayed as just another teen experiencing attraction, acceptance, temporary happiness, and heartbreak. The songs I Wanna Be Down, Baby, and Brokenhearted are expressed in a simple yet sincere way. These songs appeal to me as well as to other listeners; and as a result, they have made Brandy just what she is today, a star.

Brandy acknowledges her inspiration for singing from Whitney Houston. There are three interludes throughout the album which she dedicates to Whitney. I especially like the nice, soft music played with these dedications. In conclusion, this album is indeed a successful work of art. 

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Related Websites

This is the Brandy Norwood Gallery which includes numerous photos, a biography, and other links.
This is an informative website which includes a biography, list of awards, fan e-mail access, lyrics, and a picture gallery.
This is the Citizen of Carson website which includes a great biography and audio links.
Biography and other info about Brandy are found here at this up-to-date site.
Amazon site has reviews of CD's and audio clips of songs.

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Bibliography

"BET/Video Soul Chat with Brandy." http://www.ctrl-c.liu.se/~dreamlover/BRANDY/brandychat.html 9 April 1999.

"Brandy." http://www.casenet.com/people/brandy.html April 17, 1999.

"Brandy and Monica's managers deny backstage fight." Jet. v. 94.  5 Oct. 1998: 39-40.

"Brandy's Biography." http://www.brandy-fan.com/bio April 15 1999.

"Brandy Celebrates 18th birthday." Jet  v. 91. 14 April 1997: 22-23.

"Brandy Comes of Age." People Weekly. March 24, 1997: 119-120.

"Brandy Leads Moesha cast in Third Season." Jet v.92. 8 Sept. 1998: 58-60.

"Brandy Links." http://vip.ubl.com/ubl/cards/003/3/47.html, 9 April 1999.

"Brandy's Magic Hour." Seventeen v. 56. Nov. 1997: 122-123.

"Brandy Norwood Gallery." http://energy4life.com/BlackWomen/BRANDY/BRANDY.htm 9 April 1999.

"Brandy Story." http://www.ctrl-c.liu.se:81 /~dreamlover/BRANDY/story.html, 9 April 1999

"Carson Citizens." http://www.gjw.com/Fans/Brandy.htm, 9 April 1999.

"Cinderella." Ebony. 3 Nov.  1997: 44-47.

Cox, James. "Profiles of Famous and Notable Mississippians." Mississippi Almanac:  1997-98. Yazoo City, Mississippi: Computer Search and Research, 1997. 8.

Marin, Rick. Samuels, Allison.  "Brandy: Keeping it Real." Newsweek. 25 March 1996: 69.

Norment, Lynn. "Brandy." Ebony. Aug. 1998: 80.

Roberts, Tara. "Brandy (cover story)." Essence. May 1997: 116.

"Top 10 Trendsetters' 98." People Weekly. 16 Feb. 1998: 66.

"The Unofficial Brandy Site." http://www.brandy-fan.com/ April 9, 1999.

Zevin, Dan. "Hot Television Star." Rolling Stone. August 22, 1996: 74.

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Last updated in 1999
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