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Although her fans have never forgotten the teen star that broke into the R&B scene years ago, Brandy Norwood feels now is the time for her to revive all the talents she has to offer.

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by Steven J. Horowitz // Photography by Miguel Starcevich // Styling by Darius Baptist // Hair by Kim Kimble for Margaret Maldonado // Makeup by Eric Ferrell/dion peronneau L.A.

Brandy is definitely in her zone. Following the release of her underrated, under-promoted 2008 album, Human, the former teen star retreated from the spotlight – a place she’s been centered since her first meeting with Atlantic Records at 15 years old. After several years of personal strife, including sagging sales of Human and severing ties with her recording label, Epic Records, the 33-year-old talent is ready to shed her skin and start anew.

“I think a lot of the struggles I’ve had are what I needed to go through to get to another place,” she says. “Everything is pretty sudden. One day I just woke up and I changed my mind about everything. I felt like I wasn’t fulfilled. I was acting simultaneously with singing as a kid, and I just felt like I have this talent, why am I not using it? Why am I not trying everything and doing everything I can do?” Snapped back to reality after a near four-year hiatus from her solo career, Brandy is back to basics with the upcoming release of her sixth album, Two Eleven, releasing in June. The LP, which features production and writing from Sean Garrett, Bangladesh, Rico Love, Frank Ocean, Drake and Noah “40” Shebib, comes on the heels of reality show stardom with her family (VH1’s Brandy and Ray J: A Family Business) and hand wave appearances at red carpets. Her public standing shrunk; her star dimmed.

But with Two Eleven, a reference to her birthday (February 11th) and the day her mentor Whitney Houston passed away, Brandy is signifying a reinvention of sorts: she’s signed with a new label, RCA Records, shifted out of her comfort zone and is embracing reality. It’s a near confrontational way to reclaim her artistry. “It’s taken a minute for me to really figure out the type of artist that I am, the type of music that I need to sing to reconnect with my audience. I just know with this album, I wanted it to be as honest and as real as possible,” she says. “Sometimes, you can get caught up in wanting to make hits and wanting to get on the radio and performing on everything that’s out there. I just wanted to stay true to who I was. That’s why it’s taken me so long to figure out the right home for me to put my music out there with. Other than that, I wanted my album to represent honesty and clarity and struggle and pain, as well as love, with a different sound and a different edge. That’s what this album is.” Her first steps back into the pop culture arena came with a handholding counterpart. Fourteen years after their chart-rocking, she-for-all “The Boy is Mine,” Brandy and Monica reunited to record the Rico Love-penned “It All Belongs to Me,” the first single from both Two Eleven and Monica’s upcoming album New Life, due in April. On the sassy back-and-forth, the two unite instead of fight, staking materialistic territory in the wake of a breakup (“That MacBook, that shit belongs to me / So log off your Facebook,” they sass on the chorus). For Brandy, the intention was to release a solo single, but opportunity was too sweet to dismiss.

About joanna behar


  1. I love this short hair on her. I can’t wait to hear her solo material on the radio. I want her to win this time around and re-shape music again.

  2. Thanks for posting! Brandy is timeless and she’s always remain relevant. Be sure to look out for her 6th album TWO ELEVEN due out in stores this summer in June!

  3. i luv her cant wait for 2/11 to drop



  5. Bran u are a real life barbie…

  6. why is her face civered with that spade? how dare you.

  7. Looking forward to her new album, but the hair must go! I’m glad it was just for a photoshoot. The long works better. Plus, she looks too much like Dawn Richards.

  8. I’ve been a huge Brandy fan since her first album, but let’s be real, Human did poorly not because it was under-promoted, but because it was her worst album – there is no comparison to her previous works.

  9. Brandy I’m a big fan. But the short hair look? No B-Rock No! Am sorry but it doesn’t suit u. Please bring the long black hair Please!!!

  10. Sanele Lembethe

    I’m surprised to read ‘Human’ didn’t do well in sales ’cause I thought it was one of (if not the) best albums she’s done. Brandy will always remain relevant, I don’t care what people say. She’s formed part of a legacy that is the root r’nb soul music that has meaning and touches peoples lives. Keep rocking Brandy we love you in South Africa

  11. She is and has always been my idol. I love her and can’t wait for her new album!

  12. Brandy is GREAT!!!!!Good to put her on the Magazine she looks so fresh! Like a new Talent but we know and can tell it’s her time! She’s about to lock the charts! If she goes back to singing REaL R&B like the first Album!!!!I’m feeling like she is probably going to be getting her Whitney On!!!!Really singing!!!

  13. Thanks so much for this Brandy interview!! I’m so excited for her album because it’s been a long time coming! I just know that it will be the best album of 2012 and years to come! Brandy is BACK and I am READY!

  14. She looks absolutely amazing!! This is one of the most shocking and interesting shoots she’s ever done. It is great to see her and YRB push the image and the “idea” of who Brandy is. I love it!

  15. i really like brandy but why is her skin so white?

  16. Good girl with good music. Why shouldn’t I fall in love with her work? Go for the prizes my girl, as you launch yet another of your tantalizers.

  17. LOVE the interview!! LOVE the short do and the photo shots are outstanding!! loking forward to 2/11…

  18. Don’t call it a comeback coz she’s been here for years. B.ROCKA for ever. She’s a relevant force in rnb and it feels so good that she’s dropping a new album. Can’t wait, love you B.Rocka, God bless every single effort of yours. I love It All Belongs To Me.

  19. Brandy, i can’t wait to have this new music and all of your new pictures. I truly missed you.

  20. Ewww. Why is her skin so white??? She’s a beautiful brown girl! What happened?