Brandy Norwood

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

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.

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 15 million copies of her five studio albums in the United States and over 50 million records worldwide, to date. Additionally, she has won over 100 awards as a recording artist. In 1999, Billboard ranked Norwood among the top 20 of the top pop artists of the 1990s. In 2010, Billboard included Norwood in their top 50 R&B and Hip Hop Artists list of the past 25 years.

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.

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. In 1983, her parents relocated to Los Angeles, California, where Norwood was schooled at the Hollywood High Performing Arts Center. 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.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. 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. 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. 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.

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. 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. 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."

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