Brandy Norwood put 'entire heart and soul' into 'B7,' her first album in eight years
We watched her grow up in the spotlight.
Grammy-winning R&B singer Brandy Norwood signed her first record deal in 1993, when she was still a teen. Her 1994 debut, "Brandy," was certified quadruple platinum. Two singles from that album made it to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot R&B chart: "Baby" and "I Wanna Be Down."
She spent her formative years making music and starring on the UPN network's "Moesha," from 1996 to 2001.
Over the years, Norwood stayed busy, appearing on multiple TV shows, including BET's "The Game." She also had a role in the Broadway production of "Chicago" and starred in and served as executive producer for "Zoe Ever After."
Now, after an eight-year hiatus from music, Norwood is back with a new 15-track album, "B7," out July 31.
"I've completely evolved as a human being, as a woman," Norwood, 41, tells USA TODAY. "Growing up in this business and just going through life in general I feel like I'm a very solid person. I know a lot but then I don't know a lot."
"B7" is rooted in classic R&B, Norwood says, and is her most personal album yet.
"This is a very heartfelt album," she says. "I put my entire heart and soul into this album. I love the body of work. I like the story it tells. I feel like it's something where people can really just press play."
The lead single, "Baby Mama," dropped just in time for Mother's Day. It's a collaboration with Chance the Rapper. (Norwood is a mother herself, having given birth to daughter Sy'rai in 2002.)
The video for "Baby Mama" shows off the smooth, soulful voice and slick dance moves we've come to expect from Norwood over the years. Nothing dusty or rusty after taking time away.
Norwood's favorite track? That'd be "Borderline," which she describes as 1998 hit "'Angel In Disguise' on steroids."
The lyrics are deeply personal, with Norwood calling herself "the most jealous girl in the whole wide world" and vowing that she'll get "skitzo" if her man cheats.
"What would you do if you’re alone? // Would you think about me? // I know there’s something wrong with you on my mind all the time // It is what it is // Feel it crazy // Wanna be with me deep down, deep down // You can feel it you can’t help it baby // I’ll give you this heart of mine."
The album was initially set to be released earlier this year, but was delayed — like many others — due to the coronavirus pandemic. But, "people need music right now," Norwood says, so the album is coming.
"There's nothing like music right now," she says.
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