Brandy Norwood, better known professionally as Brandy, doesn’t seem to age. Seated in the plush living room of her LA home with her signature braids cascading down the sides of her face, the singer appears as youthful as when she was a ’90s teen superstar. “Cocoa butter!” she says with a laugh, offering up the simple secret to her fountain of youth. Her wide-set eyes still sparkle, but they’ve seen plenty in her 41 years of life, most of which were spent under the intense glare of the spotlight.
“I’ve been through so, so much,” she says of her past. Despite her one-time public image of bubbly positivity, Brandy found herself in a deep, dark depression that pushed her to the brink. “I’ve struggled with losing myself in ways where I didn’t feel like I could figure it out,” she says about her mental health. Back with her first album in nearly eight years, B7, “I’m in a place now where I can be proud of moving in the right direction,” says the singer and mum to 18-year-old daughter Sy’rai.
For years it seemed the only direction Brandy could go was up. At 15, she burst onto the music scene with her soulfully sweet and raspy tone on her debut single ‘I Wanna Be Down’. Nearly four years later came her sophomore album, Never Say Never, and the chart-topping duet with Monica, ‘The Boy Is Mine’, that earned her a Grammy.
Meanwhile, she cemented her fame on TV, starring on the coming-of-age sitcom Moesha and being the first Black actress to play Cinderella on-screen in ABC’s 1997 musical, with her real-life mentor Whitney Houston as her fairy godmother.
But after reaching a career peak, trouble arose in her personal life. In 2004, she drew criticism from fans when her daughter’s father, music producer Robert Smith, revealed they had never wed, though they pretended to be married while filming a reality show during her pregnancy.
You can read up to 3 premium stories before you subscribe to Magzter GOLD
Log in, if you are already a subscriber
Get unlimited access to thousands of curated premium stories, newspapers and 5,000+ magazines
READ THE ENTIRE ISSUE
September 21, 2020