Back in 1993, teen sensational Brandy Norwood burst on the scene with a heedful of braids and an impressive musical range. In the years that followed, she racked up accolades, earned her own TV series, “Moesha,” and various other film and television projects. Earlier this year she reemerged with Monica for the duet,
“It All Belongs To Me” Hip Hop Weekly was on the scene when Brandy performed at the annual Global Fusion Festival in Philadelphia, where she performed along with Kendrick Lamar, Kenny Lattimore, Elle Varner and Luke James. Brandy’s performance demonstrated enormous star power, leaving the crowed anxious for her forthcoming CD, Two Eleven. HHW: How do you feel about your return to the music industry and how do you juggle the numerous responsibilities? Brandy: I’m born to do this.
I have a lot of support with my family and I have a lot of help with my daughter. But it’s all about making quality time for the people that you love and the fans. It balances itself out. Once you have been away for a long time the understanding is better because it’s time to get out there and work. You have a new guy in your life and you seem to be very happy with your relationship? It’s all over my new album.
Music for me is therapeutic so whatever I have gone through is on the album. Music is supposed to come from an honest place, so whatever I am going through is in the music. Love has entered my life in a positive way. Tell us about some of the producers for the forthcoming CD. Frank Ocean is a genius. He’s great to work with; I have always had a good chemistry with him. On the album I also work with Sean Garret, Bangladesh, it’s good to be back doing core R&B music.
Is your album the main project you’re concentrating on right now? I am focusing on making sure the album comes out October 2 because it was pushed back. I am also thinking about going back to “The Game.” I’m trying to find a way to do both simultaneously. What about rapping? Is that something you’re still doing? The rapping is resting in peace…forever (laughs).
Which do you like better, singing or acting? I like them both. I have a passion for music. Music is me whereas acting is more of a challenge because I have to bring a reality and a truth to a character that doesn’t really exist, that’s more artistic. But with singing I don’t’ have to practice as much; it comes naturally to me. The acting is harder. You are a brand new Brandy. How does it feel? I try to stay in the moment as much as possible, but in making my come back, I feel like a brand new artist.
I feel like everything that has happened before hasn’t happened. And I am blessed to be here and share with the crowd at this Global Fusion concert in Philly where we are doing this interview. I take it all in. I’m in that place right now. We know that Whitney Houston meant the world to you. How are you adjusting to her passing? At the BET Awards, I chose the songs that I sang because I couldn’t get through a ballad. The album is going to be called Two Eleven because that was the day that I was born and the day that Whitney passed.
So this was my way of paying tribute to her. I promised her that I would dedicate my life to my music and live my life for purpose. I will pay tribute to her for the rest of my life. Is there any one producer that you really enjoyed working with on this album? Sean Garrett wasn’t afraid to give me something different. He has had 17 number ones and I got right in and we had a good time.
We had a lot of chemistry. But Breyon Prescott (Chameleon Entertainment) made it possible for all of us to get together. I would do it again in a heartbeat. I can’t wait to do the next album and this one hasn’t even come out yet. Since you are doing this concert in Philly, who are some of your favorite Philly artist? Jazmine Sullivan, Meek Mill, Jill Scott, Marsha Ambrosius, Patti Labelle and Bilal.
Every time my guy and I are listening to artist from there he says, “Philly.” And Is ay, “Philly has all the hottest artist!” Shout out to Philly. What has been your favorite movie role? It would have to be Cinderella because I got a chance to work with Whitney Houston and Double Platinum because I got a chance to work with Diana Ross. And that was so interesting because I would just stare at Diana Ross because she just didn’t seem like a real person. But I like playing Chardonnay on “The Game.” She is so ghetto and fabolous and loud and gives me a freedom, so I like her, too.
What about your daughter, Sy’rai? Is she following in your footsteps? She loves to dance and she loves to sing. She told me the other day to ‘make sure that you have my acting classes lined up for my after school activities next year.” She definitely has the bug, but I want to make sure that she is as normal as possible. I want her to get in touch with herself and maybe when she’s… 29, I’ll le her.
You’re here performing in front of a big crowd. Do you get stage fright? I get the stage fright. I go through my moments where I have to pray. I don’t want to talk to anybody, I rock back and forth, I rub my leg, but fear is just an illusion. The moment I step on stage, the courage comes through. Do you have trouble maintaining your identity? I have a great family, I’m close to my mom, I have my dad, normal frie4nds and my daughter loves me for me. It’s about keeping that normal energy around. And I know who I am. I had a chance to take a break and get in touch with myself. I read a lot of self-help books and apply all the positive energy in my life.
It is important for me to be a good person that people want to be around. I’m good. This has been one of the biggest crowds you have performed for in a while. How did you like it? The crowd was unbelievable. They were chanting. From the moment I got here I felt welcome. I like Philly; there are some good people from Philly (hint, hint, hint). What are some of the messages and themes on this album?
The chapters in my life over the past couple of years are represented on this album. But I just don’t sing about my story, I sing other people’s stories, what they go through. It’s definitely a celebration of me coming into my own. “And celebrating love coming back into my life. It’s sexy, too. You’re a fashion icon as well. Do you have any tips for your fans? I don’t have any fashion sense; it’s entirely the stylist! But I do my own makeup. I play around with the different colors.
Eyebrows are important because they frame your face. I like contouring because God forgot to give me a (nose) bridge. I love dressing upon. I like braids, weaves…I just love hair. Hair you can do whatever you feel, long, short, hair is like wardrobe, you can change it all the time.