Brandy Rayana Norwood (born February 11, 1979), known professionally by her mononym Brandy, is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, and actress. Born into a musical family in McComb, Mississippi and raised in Carson, California, she began her career as a child and performed as a backing vocalist for teen groups. In 1993, Norwood signed with Atlantic Records. The following year, she released her self-titled debut album, which was certified quadruple Platinum in the US, selling six million copies worldwide. Norwood starred in the UPN sitcom Moesha as the title character, which lasted six seasons and resulted in numerous other roles. She resumed her music career in 1998 with the wildly successful duet with fellow R&B contemporary Monica, “The Boy Is Mine”, which went on to become the best selling female duet of all time, and one of the longest running number one singles in history. Her second album, Never Say Never, sold 16 million copies worldwide, featured two number one singles, and earned Norwood her first Grammy Award. This launched her into international stardom, with films, endorsements, sold out concert tours, and her own line of Barbie dolls.
Throughout the 2000s, Norwood held a precarious position in the pop industry. In 2002, she starred in the reality series Brandy: Special Delivery, documenting the birth of her daughter. Her third and fourth albums, Full Moon (2002) and Afrodisiac (2004), were released to critical and commercial success. She served as a judge on the first season of America’s Got Talent before being involved in a widely publicized car accident in 2006. After several lawsuits stemming from the accident, Norwood’s fifth album, Human (2008), was released to commercial failure.
In the 2010s, Norwood received a critical and commercial resurgence. In 2010, she returned to television as a contestant on the eleventh season of Dancing with the Stars and starred in the reality series Brandy & Ray J: A Family Business. In 2012 she became a series regular in the BET series The Game, and released her sixth album Two Eleven to critical praise. In April 2015, Norwood made her Broadway debut in the musical Chicago. She starred in and executive produced a sitcom titled Zoe Ever After on BET which premiered in January 2016.
As of July 2018, she has sold over 40 million records worldwide, with over 8.62 million albums sold in the U.S., making her one of the best selling female artists of all time. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) lists Norwood as one of the top-selling artists in the United States, with 10.5 million certified units in album sales. Her work has earned her numerous awards and accolades, including a Grammy Award, an American Music Award, and seven Billboard Music Awards. She has become known for her distinctive sound, characterized by her peculiar timbre, voice-layering, and intricate riffs, which has earned her the nickname “The Vocal Bible” from industry peers and critics.