Best Of Brandy - Q&A With Ms Norwood
Music superstar, actress, and performer Brandy is
celebrating her first decade of hit-making with the
release of The Best of Brandy, a first-of-its-kind,
18-track retrospective drawn from the Los Angeles
resident’s four best-selling albums for Atlantic
Records. The CD includes 16 top-20 pop and R&B charted
singles, a remix of the 1994 R&B chart-topper “I Wanna
Be Down” (featuring Queen Latifah, YoYo, and MC Lyte)
and a cover of the Phil Collins classic “Another Day
in Paradise,” a duet with brother Ray J., previously
only available in Europe.
In addition to five number 1 R&B and two number 1 pop
hits, The Best of Brandy also includes a duet with
producer and hit maker in his own right Kanye West and
the 1998 number 1 crossover duet with Monica, “The Boy
Known for her leading role in the top-rated sitcom
Moesha, the Mississippi-born entertainer—who is
currently developing a TV series with Fox and
Touchstone Television—first hit the charts in 1994
with the gold single “I Wanna Be Down,” produced by
Keith Crouch. Drawn from her self-titled
quadruple-platinum Atlantic debut, that first hit was
followed by the million-selling single “Baby.” She
subsequently scored another gold single in 1995 with
“Brokenhearted” (featuring Wanya Morris from Boyz II
Men) and started 1996 with another million-seller,
“Sittin’ Up In My Room,” produced by Babyface and
featured on the soundtrack of the blockbuster movie
Waiting to Exhale, starring Whitney Houston.
By the time Atlantic Records released Brandy’s 1998
sophomore album, Never Say Never, the singer’s
starring role on Moesha (which ended its successful
five-year run in 2001), along with key appearances
starring in the Disney television adaptation of
Cinderella in 1997 and the 1998 movie I Still Know
What You Did Last Summer, had catapulted Brandy into
the upper echelon of young across-the-board
entertainers. The key single from the album, “The Boy
Is Mine,” a duet with singer Monica, became a
double-platinum best-seller and helped propel Never
Say Never to sales of over six million worldwide.
Subsequent hits have included “Have You Ever?” (1999),
written by Diane Warren and produced by David Foster;
“Full Moon” (2002), written and produced by Mike City;
“Who Is She 2 U?” (2004), produced by Timbaland; and
“Talk About Our Love” (2004), her top-5 pop and R&B
duet with Kanye West.
Here the singer talks to her gay fans about her
musical past, her spiritual present, and her future
How does it feel, personally and musically, to be
compiling all of these songs on one album?
When they told me they wanted to do The Best of
Brandy, I was like, “Oh, my God, I can’t believe I’m
already doing an album like that.” I didn’t realize
how long I’d been in the game. Of course, you know how
long in your mind, but you don’t feel it and you don’t
realize it until something like this comes along. I
just thought it was a great idea—to put 18 songs
together of the best of everything that I’ve done made
me feel really good. Also it is giving me a reason to
move on from everything I’ve done. I’m excited about
putting it out and also putting it behind me.
When you look at the track listing, can you see how
much you’ve changed from song to song and album to
With each album I was a different person. On the songs
from the first album, I was really young and
vulnerable. I didn’t really know a lot—all I wanted to
do was basically sing. You can just tell that it’s a
person singing from a genuine place, and also a place
of basically no experience. I was singing about being
attracted to the opposite sex, but I had no experience
behind it. And then when you get into the songs on
Never Say Never, the songs started to get a little
deeper. I was about 17 or 18, and I was starting to
experience how it felt to be in love, going through
the different emotions of growing up. I felt like I
had the pressures of the world on me, but I also felt
on top of the world. With Full Moon, I had gone
through a lot of big changes personally, particularly
having a baby. And with Afrodisiac I was falling in
love and feeling really good about myself, really
On The Best of Brandy, you get a chance to witness a
young girl coming of age and growing up and making so
many different mistakes. You really get to know me as
a person and everything that I’ve gone through. That’s
what I’m most proud of because a lot of people are in
it just to be in it, but I’m in it because it means a
lot to me.
Do you have any regrets about the past?
I know that I’ve made some mistakes in my life, and I
don’t want to repeat them. But at the same time I
wouldn’t know that they were mistakes if I hadn’t made
them. I just feel that with life comes challenges, and
you have to see it as a learning experience and move
on. You can’t spend time regretting. I mean, life is
basically right now anyway.
Let’s talk about your fans, specifically your gay fan
base. Does it seem to you that you have a lot of gay
Yes, it does. It’s funny, recently I was in a parking
lot, and one of my gay fans came to the car and
knocked on the window. He said, “Oh, my God, Brandy,
you’re so beautiful, I want to be straight!” It was
the funniest thing. I knew that he was just playing
with me, but that was his way of saying I was
beautiful to him, and I was really flattered by that.
A lot of gay men seem to like glamorous,
larger-than-life singers. Do you have any idea why?
I do get that sense, but I don’t know why that is. I
mean, I like glamorous divas too!
Do you have an opinion about gay marriage?
I just think that love is free, that’s what I think. I
feel like if people want to be committed to each
other, I don’t think there should be any problem with
that. I don’t judge people on what they do. I just
know that love is free, and anybody can feel it,
whether it be with someone of the same sex or the
I imagine that being in show business since you were
young, you have been around gay people for a long
time. Do you have a lot of gay friends?
I do. And I love them—it’s no different. I don’t even
like to categorize anybody, saying they’re this way or
that. If I have a great chemistry with someone, that’s
Do you have definition of moral values that you live
Well, of course, there are a lot of things I wouldn’t
do, and a lot of things I would do, but what I
wouldn’t do is what I wouldn’t do—I don’t want to put
that on anybody else. That’s just me, but everybody is
different. For the most part I just try to live in the
moment. That’s what I’m trying to do now. That’s the
hardest thing because the mind always wants to
think—to live in the past or be in the future. The
mind doesn’t want to stay in the moment, but I’m
practicing that right now.
How would you react if your daughter or a future child
told you they were gay?
I don’t know because that hasn’t happened yet. But my
reaction wouldn’t be judgmental, I know that. I would
just be there for them with whatever they need from
me, whenever they need it.
You’ve done a lot of acting in your career. Would you
ever play a lesbian in a movie or television show?
There was this documentary called The Execution of
Wanda Jean, and I thought her story was so great. She
was a murderer who changed her life in jail. And she
was a lesbian, and she had murdered her lover. And I
was so touched by her story, I thought, I would want
to play her in a movie, if that ever happens. I really
feel like I could give so much to that role if they
ever made a movie of her story.
What’s next for you musically?
I really don’t know. All I know is that whatever I do,
I want it to be amazing, I want it to be heartfelt.
But I really don’t know. I feel like I’m in one of the
best positions in my life—I’m just off a major label,
and I have the choice of going back to another major
or to do everything independently my own way. I’m
really taking my time because I don’t want to make the
wrong decision. At this point in my music career I
can’t make any bad decisions. I have to make all the
right decisions. I just have to be patient.
What about your acting career?
I have a television show I’m working on. I’m acting as
a producer right now, developing the show with
Touchstone, and we’re getting it ready to go for Fox.
Hopefully that will happen the beginning of next year.
In closing, anything you want to say to your gay fans?
I really appreciate their support. I appreciate the
support of all my fans. I just hope they can continue
to stay with me and continue to support me in
everything I do.