Brandy Norwood

Brandy Norwood

Brandy performing in July 2004
Background information
Birth name Brandy Rayana Norwood
Also known as B-Rocka, Bran'Nu
Born February 11, 1979 (1979-02-11) (age 32)
McComb, Mississippi,
United States
Origin Carson, California, U.S.
Genres R&B, pop, soul, hip hop
Occupations Singer-songwriter, actress, record producer, film producer, dancer
Years active 1993–present
Labels RCA
Associated acts Mike City, Rodney Jerkins, Monica Brown, Willie Norwood, Ray J, Snoop Dogg

Brandy Rayana Norwood (born February 11, 1979), known professionally as Brandy, is an American R&B singer-songwriter, record producer, television entertainer, actress, and film producer. In 2009, she introduced her rap alter-ego Bran'Nu.[1]

Born into a musical family in McComb, Mississippi and raised in Carson, California, Norwood first appeared in a supporting role on the short-lived ABC sitcom Thea in 1993. Her engagement led to her own star vehicle, successful UPN sitcom Moesha in 1996, and resulted in roles in the 1998 horror sequel I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, and the TV films Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella (1997) and Double Platinum (1999), two of television's best rated special programs.[2]

In 1993, she signed a recording contract with Atlantic, releasing her self-titled debut album a year after. Following a major success with Grammy Award-winning "The Boy Is Mine", a duet with singer Monica, and her second album Never Say Never in 1998, a series of successful records established her as one of the most successful of the new breed of urban R&B female vocalists to emerge during the mid-to late 1990s. Her latest studio album, Human (2008), was her first effort to be released on the Epic label after a label change in 2005.

The RIAA ranks Norwood as one of the best-selling female artists in American music history, having sold over 8.5 million copies of her five studio albums in the United States and over 30 million records worldwide, to date.[3][4][5] Additionally, she has won over 100 awards as a recording artist.[2] In 1999, Billboard ranked Norwood among the top 20 of the top pop artists of the 1990s.[6] Additionally, in 2010, Billboard included Brandy in their top 50 R&B and Hip Hop Artists list of the past 25 years [7]


Life and career

Early life and career beginnings

Norwood was born in McComb, Mississippi, the daughter of Willie Norwood, a former gospel singer and choir director, and his wife Sonja Norwood (née Bates), a former district manager for H&R Block.[8] She is the elder sister of entertainer Ray J, as well as a first cousin of rapper Snoop Dogg.[9]

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.[10] In 1983, her parents relocated to Los Angeles, California, where Brandy was schooled at the Hollywood High Performing Arts Center.[11] Norwood's interest in music and performing increased after becoming a fan of singer Whitney Houston at the age of seven,[12][13] but at school, she experienced trouble with persuading teachers to send her on auditions as she found no support among the staff.[11] Undaunted, Norwood began entering talent shows by the time she was eleven, and as part of a youth singing group, performed at several public functions.[13] In 1990, her talent led to a binding oral contract with Teaspoon Productions, headed by Chris Stokes and Earl Harris, who obtained her gigs as a backing vocalist for their R&B boy band Immature, and arranged the production of a demo tape.[12][13] 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.[11] To manage her daughter, Norwood's mother soon resigned from her job,[12] while Norwood herself dropped out of Hollywood High School later and was tutored privately from tenth grade on.[11]

During the early production stages of her debut album, Norwood was selected for a role in the ABC sitcom Thea, portraying the 12-year-old daughter of a single mother played by Thea Vidale.[10] Broadcasted to mediocre ratings, the series ended only 8 months after its premiere, but garnered her a Young Artist Award nomination for Outstanding Youth Ensemble alongside her co-stars.[14] 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, stating: "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."[15][16]

1994–1996: Brandy and Moesha

Williams hired producer Keith Crouch and R&B band Somethin' for the People to work with Norwood, and within eight months, the team crafted her debut album, Brandy.[16] A collection of street-oriented rhythm-and-blues with a hip-hop edge,[13] whose lyrical content embraced her youthful and innocent image in public,[16] Norwood later summed the songs on the album as young and vulnerable, stating: "I didn’t really know a lot — all I wanted to do was basically sing. You can just tell that it’s a person singing from a genuine place, and also a place of basically no experience. I was singing about being attracted to the opposite sex, but I had no experience behind it."[17] Released in September 1994, the album peaked at number twenty on the U.S. Billboard 200.[18] Critical reaction to Brandy was generally positive, with Allmusic writer Eddie Huffman declaring Brandy "a lower-key Janet Jackson or a more stripped-down Mary J. Blige [...] with good songs and crisp production."[19] Anderson Jones of Entertainment Weekly asserted, "Teen actress Norwood acts her age. A premature effort at best, that seems based on the philosophy 'If Aaliyah can do it, why can't I?'."[20]

Brandy went on to sell over six million units worldwide,[21] and produced three top ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100, including "I Wanna Be Down" and "Baby," both of which reached the top of the Hot R&B Singles chart and were certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.[22] "Brokenhearted", a duet with Wanya Morris of Boyz II Men, became a number-two hit on the charts.[18] The album earned Norwood two Grammy Award nominations for Best New Artist and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance the following year and won her four Soul Train Music Awards, two Billboard Awards, and the New York Children's Choice Award.[14] In 1995, she finished a two-month stint as the opening act on Boyz II Men's national tour,[23] and contributed songs to the soundtracks of the films Batman Forever and Waiting to Exhale, with single "Sittin' Up in My Room" becoming another top two success.[18] In 1996, Norwood also collaborated with Tamia, Chaka Khan, and Gladys Knight on the single "Missing You," released from the Set It Off soundtrack. The single won her a third Grammy nomination in the Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals category.[14]

In 1996, her short-lived engagement on Thea led to Norwood's own star vehicle: UPN-produced sitcom Moesha. Appearing alongside Sheryl Lee Ralph and Countess Vaughn, she played the title role of Moesha Mitchell, a Los Angeles girl coping a new stepmother as well as the pressures and demands of becoming an adult.[24] Originally bought by CBS, the program was first broadcast on UPN during January 1996, and soon became the most watched show broadcast on the television network.[25] While the sitcom managed to increase its audience every new season and spawned a spin-off named The Parkers, the network decided to cancel the show after six seasons on the air, leaving it ending with a cliffhanger for a scrapped seventh season.[26] Norwood was awarded a NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Youth Actor/Actress for her performance.[14]

1997–2000: Never Say Never and film career

In 1997, Norwood was hand-picked by executive producer Whitney Houston to play the title character in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s television version of Cinderella featuring a multi-cultural cast that also included Jason Alexander, Whoopi Goldberg, and Houston.[27] The two-hour Wonderful World of Disney special garnered an estimated 60 million viewers, giving the network its highest ratings in the time period in 16 years, and won an Emmy Award the following year.[28]

Beginning producer Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins was consulted to contribute to Norwood's second album Never Say Never, which was released in June 1998. Brandy co-wrote and produced six songs on the album which yielded her first number-one rated song on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, "The Boy Is Mine", a duet with singer Monica that has become the most successful song by a female duo in music history. Exploiting the media's presumption of a rivalry between the two young singers, the song was one of the most successful records in United States of all time,[29] spending record-breaking thirteen weeks on top of the Billboard charts, and eventually garnered the pair a Grammy Award for "Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal". The album's success was equally widespread, and after extensive radio play of the single overseas, the label released it globally during the summer. Never Say Never eventually became Brandy’s biggest-selling album, selling over sixteen million copies worldwide; and critics rated the album highly, with Allmusic`s Stephen Thomas Erlewine praising Brandy and her team for wisely finding "a middle ground between Mariah Carey and Mary J. Blige — it's adult contemporary with a slight streetwise edge".[30] Altogether the album spawned seven airplay and CD singles respectively, including Norwood's second number-one song, the Diane Warren-penned "Have You Ever?".[18]

After backing out of a role in F. Gary Gray's 1996 drama Set It Off,[31] Norwood made her big screen debut after winning the supporting role of sassy Karla Wilson in the franchise-flick I Still Know What You Did Last Summer.[31] The movie outperformed the original with a total of $16.5 million at its opening weekend but critical reaction towards the film was largely disappointing, with film review site Rotten Tomatoes calculating a poor rating of 7% based on 46 reviews.[32] Norwood, however, earned positive reviews for her "bouncy" performance,[33] which garnered her both a Blockbuster Entertainment Award and an MTV Movie Award nomination for Best Breakthrough Female Performance respectively.[14] In 1999, she co-starred with Diana Ross in the telefilm drama Double Platinum about an intense, strained relationship between a mother and daughter.[34] Shot in only twenty days in New York City, both Norwood and Ross served as executive producers of the movie which features original songs from their respective albums Never Say Never (1998) and Every Day Is a New Day (1999) as well as previously unreleased duets.[34]

2001–2004: Full Moon and Afrodisiac

After a lengthy hiatus that saw the end of the Moesha sitcom, and a flurry of tabloid headlines discussing her long-term battle with dehydration, Norwood returned to music in 2001 when she and brother Ray-J were asked to record a cover version of Phil Collins' 1980s hit "Another Day in Paradise" for the tribute album Urban Renewal: A Tribute to Phil Collins.[35] Released as the album first single in Europe and Oceania, the song became an instant international success overseas, scoring top ten entries on the majority of all charts it appeared on.[36]

Full Moon, Norwood's third studio album, was released in February 2002. It once again comprised a row of R&B and pop-oriented songs with adult contemporary, many of them co-created with Jerkins, Warryn Campbell and Mike City. While its lead single "What About Us?" became a worldwide top ten hit, the album's title track failed to chart or sell noticeably outside the United States and the United Kingdom, where it managed to enter the Top 20 of charts.[37][38] Media reception was generally lukewarm, with Rolling Stone describing the album as "frantic, faceless, fake-sexy R&B."[39] Within the coming year, Norwood and Robert "Big Bert" Smith began writing and producing for other artists such as Toni Braxton, Kelly Rowland, and Kiley Dean.[40] Norwood's foray in reality television started in 2002 with the MTV series Diary Presents Brandy: Special Delivery; the show documented the final months of Norwood's pregnancy with her daughter Sy'rai.

Returning from yet another hiatus, Brandy's fourth album Afrodisiac was released on June 29, 2004 in North America, amidst the well-publicized termination of her short-lived business relationship with entertainment manager Benny Medina.[41] Norwood ended her contract with his Los Angeles-based Handprint Entertainment after less than a year of representation following controversies surrounding Medina's handling of the lead single "Talk About Our Love", and failed negotiations of a purported co-headlining tour with R&B singer Usher.[41] Upon parting Norwood admitted her switch to Medina made her appreciate what she had with her mother, stating that "it was such a drastic change that it didn't work for me. Nobody out there can match her passion for me."[41] Despite the negative publicity, Afrodisiac became Brandy's most critically acclaimed album to date,[42] with some highlighting the "more consistently mature and challenging" effect of Timbaland on Brandy's music,[43] and others calling it "listenable and emotionally resonant," comparing it to "Janet Jackson at her best".[44] Norwood described the CD as her most mature and versatile effort by then: "I just wanted to sing my heart out and connect with people. I wasn’t old enough or mature enough before to get into people’s hearts. Now I am."[45] Nevertheless Afrodisiac became a moderate seller: While the album debuted at number three on the Billboard 200, selling only 416,000 copies to date, it generally failed to chart or sell noticeably outside the United States.[46] "Talk About Our Love" reached number six in the United Kingdom but later singles failed to score successfully on the popular music charts.[47]

2005–2009: America's Got Talent and Human

After eleven years with the company Norwood asked for and received an unconditional release from Atlantic Records in the end of 2004, citing her wish to "to move on" as the main reason for her decision.[48] Completing her contract with the label, a compilation album compiling her first four studio albums with Atlantic, entitled The Best of Brandy, was released in March 2005. Released without any promotional single, it reached the top 30 in Australia, the United Kingdom and the U.S., where the collection was appreciated by contemporary critics who noted the creativity of Norwood's back-catalogue.[49] Andy Kellman of Allmusic expressed: "This set, unlike so many other anthologies from her contemporaries, hardly confirms dwindling creativity or popularity."[50] Thereupon she reportedly started shopping for a new record deal under Knockout Entertainment, her brother's vanity label.[51]

In June 2006, Norwood was cast as one of three talent judges on the first season of America's Got Talent, an amateur talent contest on NBC with executive producer Simon Cowell and host Regis Philbin. The broadcast was one of the most-watched programs of the summer, and concluded on August 17, 2006 with the win of 11-year-old singer Bianca Ryan.[2] Norwood was originally scheduled to return for a second season of the America's Got Talent in summer 2007, but decided eventually not to do so, feeling that "she couldn't give the new season the attention and commitment it deserved," following the fatal 2006 car accident, in which she was involved.[52] She was eventually replaced by reality TV star Sharon Osbourne.[52]

Norwood's fifth studio album Human was released in December 2008, involving production by Toby Gad, Brian Kennedy, and RedOne.[53][54] Distributed by Koch Records and Sony Music, the album marked Brandy's debut on the Epic Records label,[55] and her reunion with long-time contributor and mentor Rodney Jerkins, who wrote and executive produced most of the album.[53] Generally well-received by critics, Human debuted at number fifteen on the U.S. Billboard 200 with opening week sales of 73,000 copies.[56] With a domestic sales total of 196,000 copies, it widely failed to revive the success of its predecessors and became the singer's lowest-selling effort to date.[57] While leading single "Right Here (Departed)" scored Brandy her biggest chart success since 2002's "Full Moon", the album failed to impact elsewhere, resulting into lackluster sales in general and the end of her contract with the label, following the appointment of Amanda Ghost at Epic Records and her split with rapper Jay-Z's Roc Nation management.[58][59][60] In December 2009, she officially introduced her rapping alter-ego Bran'Nu with two credits on Timbaland's album Timbaland Presents Shock Value 2,[1] and was cast in the pilot episode for the ABC series This Little Piggy, also starring Jeff Davis, Rebecca Cheskoff and Kevin Rahm, which was recast the following year.[61]

2010–present: A Family Business and sixth studio album

In 2010, Norwood and her brother Ray J premiered the VH1 reality series Brandy and Ray J: A Family Business along with their parents. The show debuted in April 2010 and chronicled the backstage happenings of both siblings, while taking a bigger role in their family's management and production company, R&B Productions.[62] The show concluded after eleven episodes and was renewed for a second season, which began broadcasting in fall 2010. A compilation album with previously unreleased content from the entire cast, entitled A Family Business, was released on the Time–Life imprint Saguaro Road Records on June 21, 2011,[63] its first single being "Talk To Me."[64]

Norwood appeared as a contestant on season 11 of Dancing with the Stars and was partnered with Maksim Chmerkovskiy. She ultimately placed only fourth in the competition, which was a shock to the judges, viewers, studio audience, and other contestants that considered her one of the show's frontrunners throughout her entire competition.[65]

After artistic experimentation with rap via Timbaland,[66] critical praise toward her 2010 string of a cappella performances of soul music classics, and venturing into reality television with her family, Norwood revealed her intentions to begin working heavily on her sixth studio album. According to Norwood, the album will see a return to her authentic R&B sound, but with a "progressive" edge. Hip-Hop producer Bangladesh has been commissioned to helm the bulk of the album, while Norwood has expressed her intent to connect with a variety of musicians,[67] including producer Danja, production duo Kadis & Sean,[68] Jim Beanz,[69] WyldCard,[70] newcomers Kevin McCall,[71] D.C. native Rich Harrison, Rico Love,[72] production collectives The Woodworks and The Runners,[73][74] singers Sean Garrett,[75] Chris Brown and Frank Ocean,[72] and songwriters Ester Dean and Stacey Barthee.[76][77] In August 2011, it was confirmed that Norwood signed a joint record deal with RCA Records and producer Breyon Prescott's Chameleon Records and will release her sixth studio album in early 2012.[78][79] In addition, it was announced that Norwood is planning to record of a joint album with brother Ray J, tentatively titled R&B.[80]

In November 2011, it was announced, that Norwood has joined the cast of Tyler Perry's The Marriage Counselor, expected to be released in 2012.[81]

Recently, Norwood was on Ustream with Sean Garrett and revealed the new album should be out by March or April of next year. A new song "Silent Night" leaked on to the internet and was confirmed to be on the new album.

Musical style

Themes and genres

Norwood, stylistically, has evolved since her 1994 start in music, at the age of 15. With her mother as her manager and stylist, Brandy developed a “good girl” image and a “hip-yet-wholesome” appeal.[82] At the start of her career, she often cited Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, and Mariah Carey, as her biggest musical inspirations.[83][84] Her current musical influences are Sade, Kim Burrell, Boyz II Men, The Clark Sisters, Enya, and her father Willie Norwood.[85]

Norwood’s initial sound was contemporary R&B, heavily rooted in gospel and soul music.[86] Her lyrics described various types of love, from casual and friendly love, to romantic and spiritual affairs.[86] Influenced by Houston and Carey, she incorporated a ballad-heavy style and an adult contemporary feel into her urban-pop sound, for her second studio album, Never Say Never.[30] Her third studio album, Full Moon, saw Norwood abandon her teenage appeal for a more adult and sensual edginess.[87] Along with her image, her voice had gone through a major change, losing the "girly-rasp" that she once had, for a now deeper and warmer voice, that had acquired a scratchy, evocative edge.[88] The music also reflected the change, as songs like "When You Touch Me" and "Like This" explored more adult, sexual topics, and a sound that blended her previous urban-pop sound with heavy influences of UK garage, funktronica, and progressively futuristic tones.[89] In 2004, her recent motherhood, life experiences, and growing affinity toward English rock band Coldplay, caused her to shift toward a more matured outlook and raw nature with her fourth studio album Afrodisiac, a venture into the organic sounds of soul blues and the nostalgic street-wise sound of 90’s hip-hop.[90] A four year hiatus, and a few life-changing occurrences caused Brandy to return to the music scene, in late 2008, with Human, her fifth studio album, which lyrically discussed topics of spiritual love, genuine heartache, and universal honesty, and musically explored combining her urban pop sound with elements of country and inspirational pop.[91]

Voice and influence

Norwood has a contralto vocal range that spans three octaves.[citation needed] Often referred to as “B-Rocka”, her distinctive voice has been commended for its smoky, slightly worn timbre and for the caliber of its colorful tone quality. Josh Love of Stylus Magazine calls her voice “gorgeous” and “un-histrionic”, while Nicolas Paul Godkin of Designer Magazine comments, saying “…her husky, dulcet tones impresses the most.”[92] Andy Kallman of Allmusic mentions that her voice is a treat to her, and she wears a slightly worn scratchy-ness surprisingly well. David Browne of Entertainment Weekly calls her voice "down-pillow soft," and Keya Modessa of The Situation describes her voice as “deep, sultry, and different.”[20][93] While her vocal melismas and ad-libs have been noted for their developed sense of harmony, Norwood is most known and praised for her consistent use of multitrack recording toward her own lead and backing vocals, creating various extended chords and elaborate textures of counterpoint and polyphony, a technique that has become her signature. Terry Sawyer of Pop Matters Online comments, saying “While it's been said that Brandy's voice isn't exactly a barn burner, it's not mentioned enough that she does more than enough with what she's got. She never leaves her voice hanging in spotlit scarcity, folding it variegated terracing, whispering out the lead track, shouting in the back-up, and piling each song with enough interlocking sounds to create the tightly packed illusion of vocal massiveness.”[94]

Norwood's vocal stylings have had a significant impact on the music industry, most notably with contemporary R&B and gospel genres. Many of Norwood’s peers laud her as a vocal inspiration and influence, including Kanye West, Chris Brown, Tank, Keyshia Cole, John Legend, Tyrese, Ciara, Jazmine Sullivan, and Kelly Rowland among others.[95][96][97][98] Barbadian singer Rihanna revealed in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that her 2007 multi-platinum album, Good Girl Gone Bad, was primarily influenced by Brandy. In the interview she stated, “[Brandy] really helped inspire that album, I listened to [Afrodisiac] everyday [while in the studio].[99] Rock musician John Frusciante, former guitarist of legendary rock group Red Hot Chili Peppers praises Brandy, calling her voice “multi-dimensional” and “inspiring”. In describing her voice and signature sound he said, “You can't hear [the elaborate harmonies] with your conscious: you have to hear her voice with your subconscious.” He also mentioned that Norwood was the “main inspiration” behind the guitar work on the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s 2006 Grammy winning album, Stadium Arcadium.[100]

However, on many occasions, Norwood has been thought of as merely a talented muse, that music producers and songwriters have used to exercise their own artistic and creative energies.[101][102] This theory has been most notably linked with Norwood’s most frequent collaborator, producer Rodney Jerkins, and his own Darkchild imprint, on which many of their collaborations do not include songwriting or production from Norwood herself. Her work with Timbaland and other producer/songwriters outside of her usual circle has also often seen Brandy responsible for only vocal arrangements and delivery, rather than actual writing or producing. However, throughout her musical career, Norwood has received numerous awards and accolades for her vocal abilities, and remains one of the most influential artists of her time.[2]

Personal life

Norwood attended Hollywood High Performing Arts Center, but studied with a private tutor from 10th grade on.[11] In 1996, she became a freshman at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California.[11]

In 1996, she shared a short "chaste" relationship with Los Angeles Lakers player Kobe Bryant, whom she accompanied to his prom at Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, Pennsylvania.[103][104] Between February 1997 and February 1998, she dated Boyz II Men lead singer Wanya Morris, who she cited as her "first love."[105] Five year elder Morris reportedly ended their relationship a month before her nineteenth birthday.[106] Also during their work on the Never Say Never album, she briefly dated rapper Ma$e.[107]

During the ensuing production of the Full Moon album, Norwood became involved romantically with producer Robert "Big Bert" Smith. The couple quietly began a regular relationship during the summer of 2001, but their union did not become known until February 2002—the same month Norwood revealed that she was expecting her first child. However, a year after the birth of their daughter Sy'rai Iman Smith on June 16, 2002—an event tracked by the four-part MTV reality series Brandy: Special Delivery—Norwood and Smith officially announced their separation.[108] It was not until 2004 that Smith revealed that the pair had never been legally wed but they just had portrayed the notion of nuptials to preserve Norwood's public image.[109] Norwood later stated that she regarded her relationship with Smith as a "spiritual union and true commitment to each other."[109]

By the following year, Norwood had entered a relationship with NBA guard Quentin Richardson, then playing for the Los Angeles Clippers. The couple soon got engaged in July 2004 but Brandy eventually ended their 15-month engagement in October 2005.[110] It was reported that Norwood had to get a tattoo of Richardson's face on her back transformed into a cat.[110] In 2010, she briefly dated rapper Flo-Rida, though their mild flirtation did not lead to a romance.[111]

2006 car accident

On her way back home on December 30, 2006, Norwood was involved in a fatal car accident at the Los Angeles freeway.[112] The accident claimed the life of 38-year-old Awatef Aboudihaj—the driver of the Toyota that was struck by Norwood's Range Rover—who succumbed to her injuries at the L.A. Holy Cross Hospital the next day.[112] Norwood was neither arrested, nor charged with vehicular manslaughter, due to "insufficient evidence."[112] Unauthorized law enforcement reported that Norwood was driving her car at 65 mph and did not notice that cars in front of her had slowed considerably. Her vehicle then slammed into the back of Aboudihaj's, causing the Toyota to strike another vehicle before sliding sideways and impacting the center divider. As the Toyota came to a stop, it was hit by another vehicle.[113] A well-placed source in the California Highway Patrol, however, later reported that Aboudihaj actually struck the car in front of her and then slammed on her brakes before Brandy made contact. The sudden stop caused Norwood to hit Aboudihaj's car.[114] As confirmed, toxicology reports showed that Aboudihaj had "slight traces" of marijuana in her system at the time of the crash.[115]

In December 2007, Brandy's attorney, Blair Berk, stated "that after a more thorough and extensive investigation by authorities, the Los Angeles City Attorney has determined that Brandy Norwood should not be charged with any crime whatsoever relating to the accident back in 2006." She continued, "These past 12 months have posed an extraordinary hardship for Brandy and her family, who have been unfairly forced to live under a cloud of suspicion initially caused by the ill-advised and premature press release sent out by the California Highway Patrol accusing Brandy of wrongdoing before the police investigation was even finished. However, Brandy continues to be mindful that she was so fortunate to be uninjured in this accident and there was a life lost that should be remembered."[116] Meanwhile, speaking in May 2009, Norwood herself stated: "The whole experience did completely change my life, and I can say that I think I'm a better person from it. You know, I still don't understand all of it and why all of it happened, but I definitely have a heart, and my heart goes out to everyone involved. I pray about it every single day, and that's all I can really say on the subject."[117]

Nevertheless, there have been multiple lawsuits filed against Norwood. Aboudihaj's parents filed a $50 million wrongful death lawsuit against Norwood. Filed on January 30, 2007,[118] the lawsuit was initially set to go to trial in April 2009,[119] but eventually canceled as Norwood had settled extrajudicially with Aboubihaj's parents.[120] Aboudihaj's husband also filed a lawsuit against Norwood, suing her for an undisclosed amount of financial relief to cover medical and funeral expenses, as well as legal costs and other damages.[121] He rejected a $1.2 million settlement offer in February 2009, and has not yet settled with Norwood.[122] The couple's two children, who also filed a lawsuit against Norwood, received $300,000 each, according to court documents filed in L.A. County Superior Court on June 2, 2009.[122] Two other drivers, who were involved and injured in the accident, also filed a lawsuit against Norwood.[123] They settled with Norwood for an undisclosed amount.[124]

Marc Mysterio "Shout It Out" Breach of contract lawsuit

TMZ[125] & Popeater reported that on August 23, 2010, Marc Mysterio filed a lawsuit against Brandy[126] seeking up to $6,000,000 in damages.[127] According to reports, Brandy had been paid $10,000 as a side artist fee to feature on Mysterio's debut album's Lead Single,[128] 'Shout It Out'.[126] Radar Online has subsequently reported that on November 30, 2010, the judge in the case denied Norwood's motion to dismiss the case and ordered a jury trial to take place, to begin on July 27, 2011.[129]

On July 8, 2011, Radar Online reported that the two parties had agreed on an out of court settlement. The terms of the agreement were confidential, according to Mysterio's attorney Laurence Clarke.[130]


Studio albums
Extended Plays
Compilation albums


Year Title Role Notes and Awards
1997 Cinderella Cinderella also executive producer
television movie
Nominated — NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Television Movie or Mini-Series
1998 I Still Know What You Did Last Summer Karla Wilson grossed $84,002,112 worldwide[131]
Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Actress - Horror
Nominated — MTV Movie Award for Best Female Breakthrough Performance
1999 Double Platinum Kayla Harris television movie
2001 Osmosis Jones Leah (voice) grossed $14,026,418[132]
2012 The Marriage Counselor Melinda
Year Film Role Notes and Awards
1993–1994 Thea Danesha Turrell Nominated — Young Artist Award for Outstanding Youth Ensemble in a Television Series
1997 Jungle Cubs Latecia Voice acting
1996–2001 Moesha Moesha Mitchell also executive producer
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Youth Actor/Actress
Nominated — Kid's Choice Award Favorite Television Actress (1998, 2000, 2001)
Nominated — NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001)
Nominated — Teen Choice Award for Choice Actress - TV (1999)
Nominated — Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a TV Comedy Series (1997, 1998, 1999)
Nominated — YoungStar Award for Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Comedy TV Series (1996)
2000 The Parkers crossover appearance
2004 American Dreams Gladys Knight performed "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" (1967)
2005 House Herself
2006 One on One Michelle McGinty four-episode guest stint
2009 This Little Piggy Tina Sitcom pilot
2011 90210[133] Marissa Harris-Young recurring role
2011–2012 Drop Dead Diva [134] Elisa Shyne recurring role
2012 The Game[135]
Year Film Role Notes and Awards
2002 Brandy: Special Delivery Herself Reality show documenting Brandy's pregnancy
2005 Sesame Beginnings: Beginning Together Herself TV programme targeted towards infants and their parents
American Idol Guest judge Reality singing competition
2006 America's Got Talent season one judge Reality talent competition
2008 The Hills Herself Cameo appearance
2009–2010 For the Love of Ray J Herself guest appearances for three episodes
Dating show starring her brother Ray J
2010 Dancing with the Stars 11th season contestant Reality competition, fourth place
2010–2011 Brandy & Ray J: A Family Business Herself Reality show starring her and her brother Ray J as well as their parents Sonja and Willie Norwood
2011 Brandy: On My Own[136] Herself Documentary series following the process of the making of Brandy's sixth studio album.
Majors & Minors[133] Mentor also executive producer
Reality singing competition

See also

  • Brandy Norwood videography
  • List of Brandy Norwood songs
  • List of awards and nominations received by Brandy Norwood


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  3. ^ Hebert, Chris. "Dancing With The Stars - The Stars - Brandy". ABC. Retrieved 2010-09-09. 
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