Each week composing a post presents a different challenge. Most of the time the planning is done well in advance and the context of each post developed previously. One of the struggles I normally will run into is the choice of a title. My goal is to choose something that will convey the thought of the entire post and in some way identify the featured artist. A while ago, I knew that the featured musician this week would be Brandy Norwood, but I struggled with the idea of the post title. As I researched a little more I found something that struck like lightning. During a recent interview of Brandy on the Wendy Williams Show, Wendy made the statement that eventually became my title, “Our Girl has Grown Up.” The perfect title!
When I hear the name Brandy, I always think back to her beginning in 1994, as a teenager with her first and very popular album titled Brandy. Of course, I also think to a year later as she starred in her own sitcom Moesha. I became a regular viewer of the show that had a six-year run on UPN. Like so many other viewers, I feel like the show came along at a time when everyone could relate to one or more of the situations presented. Moesha featured a middle class family in Los Angeles with a stepparent, older sister and younger brother, and a host of interesting close friends and acquaintances. As an adult and even as a young parent then I, like many other viewers, pictured young Brandy as “our girl”. Definitely, I knew exactly what Wendy Williams was thinking when she made the statement I used for my title.
Brandy Norwood has definitely grown from teenager to young woman in front of us via television, movies and music. Of course, Brandy has been no stranger to reality television as she appeared in season eleven of Dancing with the Stars, as well as Brandy and Ray J: A Family Business, which also featured her family members. The reality television appearances in general bear the lives of artists to their fans and others, and thus Brandy’s young adult life (good and bad) has been showcased to the world. She has grown in her personal life as well, becoming a mother herself (daughter Sy’rai will turn eleven next month) and soon to marry music executive Ryan Press. It is easy to notice that the roles on television and movies have changed right along with Brandy growing up. At this moment, Brandy has a regular role in the BET series The Game and Tyler Perry’s film Temptation. Both roles are a long way from Moesha and I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. I must admit I really appreciate how Brandy has continued to find roles successfully throughout her years. It is not easy for child and/or teen stars to translate into adult stars, but Brandy has done it well.
With all of her success acting, it is hard to imagine Brandy doing much recording. However, her first five studio albums have sold over eight million copies worldwide and her sixth album Two Eleven released October 2012, reached number three on the US Billboard 200. I have always been impressed with how Brandy’s team has selected music and paired her with producers who make sure her music is tailored her voice and personality. The choice of good material has been consistent throughout Brandy’s career and is one of the main factors in her musical success. Another factor in Brandy’s success is her material always seems to be current. The balance between commercial validity and musical adaptability is hard to achieve as the performer grows in age. However, a few performers have done so successfully and are enjoying long musical careers. Brandy Norwood must be included in that number.
It appears that Brandy will enjoy at least a few more years producing in three fazes of the entertainment industry: film, television and music. Of interest will be how she juggles the fourth ball thrown in – family. I cannot imagine her husband withdrawing support of her entertainment career, but there is the possibility Brandy will prefer to concentrate on family only in years to come. She would not be the first performer to make such a choice. Nevertheless, Brandy has grown up in front of us. Now she faces adult decisions for her future.