FOX Sports Radio 96.9FM/1340AM’s “Listen In With KNN” presenter, Kelsey N.Nelson, briefly caught up with GRAMMY Award-winning R&B legend, actress and TV personality, Brandy Norwood, backstage at the prestigious Urban One Honors event to positively discuss the latest endeavors relating to “The Boy Is Mine” hitmaker and a whole lot more in a very special exclusive interview.
The 41-year-old star, honorifically titled “The Vocal Bible”, who made her music debut on Atlantic Records as a prodigious 15-year-old R&B sensation in 1994 with the six-times platinum self-titled debut album “Brandy”, achieved crossover mainstream pop superstardom at 19 with the global chart success of the critically heralded 1998 sophomore album “Never Say Never”, which sold 16 million (Norwood’s biggest-selling album) worldwide and triumphantly earned a litany of accolades at various high-profile industry awards shows; “Never Say Never” successfully spawned two #1 Billboard Hot 100 hits (“The Boy Is Mine” and “Have You Ever?”). The singer has sold 40 million records since debuting in 1994.
Throughout her storied and relatively underrated 26-year music career, which has witnessed well-documented commercial peaks and valleys, Norwood, however, has released records which have served as the proverbial soundtrack to a generation of avid R&B aficionados, including noteworthy tracks, such as, the idyllically enticing “Sittin’ Up In My Room” (from the “Waiting to Exhale” motion picture soundtrack, the heart-warming duet “Brokenhearted” with Boyz II Men’s Wanya Morris, the female empowering R&B all-star collaboration “Miss You” with Tamia, Chaka Khan and Gladys Knight, 1998 studio album title track “Never Say Never”, coupled with signature hit duet “The Boy Is Mine” with Monica, as well as the feel good, hip-pop laced “Sitting on Top of the World” featuring Mase; the laid-back, dimple faced, Harlem-raised former Bad Boy Records rapper, who famously relinquished the incandescent lights of fame at 24 when the radio friendly “What You Want” hitmaker (real name: Mason Betha) retired from the music industry thereafter so-so gold selling sophomore studio album “Double Up”, featuring Shalamar-sampled single “Get Ready” with “No Diggity” R&B act Backstreet (formed by New Jack Swing pioneer Teddy Riley), to devoutly commit his life to God as a Christian Pastor in Atlanta, Georgia in 1999.
Also, to the aforementioned category, the safe yet vocally elegant R&B rendition of GRAMMY Award-winning “Summer of ’69” veteran rocker Bryan Adams’ crooning 1991 power ballad “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You”, universally synonymous with box office hit “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”, which initially witnessed the Canadian reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, saw Norwood’s interpretation gain no traction on the Billboard charts. Furthermore, the compelling mystique and sublime trademark vocal layering of “Full Moon” and the oft-underappreciated “What About Us?”; all of which adequately served as artistic maturation and growth with varying measures of commercial success. Norwood’s sincere cover of Michael Jackson’s flawless R&B/Pop dance floor filler “Rock With You”, taken from the King of Pop’s irrepressible 1979 studio album “Off The Wall”, which also featured the glittering, disco-Esque groove “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough”, illustrated Norwood adding a female perspective to the timeless track; Norwood incidentally provided additional backing vocals on Jackson’s lukewarm 2001 studio album “Invincible” where she contributed to the opening track “Unbreakable” featuring The Notorious B.I.G.
Moreover, Norwood’s otherwise credible 2001 hit duet cover of the legendary Phil Collins’ 1989 smash hit “Another Day In Paradise” with Ray J, which peaked at #5 on the Oficial UK Top 40 Singles Chart, moderately added a new lease of life to the former Genesis frontman’s classic. Norwood’s version of “Another Day In Paradise” was not released as a single in the United States and subsequently featured as a European bonus track on the 2002 studio album “Full Moon”. 2004’s “Afrodisiac”, “Talk About Our Love” featuring Kanye West, the epic vocal runs of the emotional “Right Here” (Departed) and 2012’s criminally unsung “Put It Down”, also collectively stand as staples and moments for the singer/actress, who has influenced: “When Love Takes Over” singer Kelly Rowland and BRIT Award-winning singer-songwriter Emeli Sandé, to name just a few of the many female artists who have officially cited Norwood as a musical inspiration.
Elsewhere, Norwood, who starred in the popular UPN hit television sitcom “Moesha”, a show that aired for five seasons from 1996 until 2001, successfully propelled the angelic voiced, trademark braided R&B songbird to further heights in entertainment; “Moesha” won two NAACP Image Awards.
The seven-time Billboard Music Award recipient, affectionately nicknamed B Rocka, also made history when she starred as the first-ever African-American princess in 1997’s family film “Cindarella” alongside 2020 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and GRAMMY Award-winning music icon, Whitney Houston; “Cindarella” received an NAACP Image Awards nomination. Norwood later starred in 1998 film “I Still Know What You Did Last Summer”, which grossed $84 million at the box office, as well as “Double Platinum” co-starring “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” Motown megastar, Diana Ross. Norwood furthermore holds the distinction of being the first-ever African-American female recording artist in history to be bestowed with the great honor of having an officially licensed, custom made Brandy Barbie doll commissioned and sold commercially.
The accomplished GRAMMY Award-winning vocalist, a long-time collaborator with the well-respected Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins (Destiny’s Child “Say My Name”, Michael Jackson “You Rock My World”, Ray J “One Wish”), furthermore cordially set the record straight as the R&B veteran revealed to the ever-enthusiastic and excessively jubilant Nelson, alongside the self-confident “One Wish” R&B lothario, Ray J, Norwood’s brother, regarding the speculation surrounding the widely rumored television reboot of “Moesha”.