COVER STORY: Brandy Is Baring It All On ‘B7’

Hype Hair x Brandy Norwood
Photographer: Derek Blanks | Wardrobe: Ashley Sean Thomas | Makeup: Gabriela Torell | Hair: Kim Kimble

There aren’t many performers who can say they’ve enjoyed a fruitful career for nearly three decades. But Grammy-winning R&B singer Brandy Norwood has done just that. She captivated audiences when she hit television screens as a teen on Moesha. We quickly fell in love with the relatable spirit of her character and watched every week to see how her hair would be styled next. At a time when representation was limited, watching a coming-of-age show revolving around a young, Black girl with braids was significant.

When she wasn’t gracing the silver screen, she was contributing heavily to the ‘90s R&B sound with hits like “I Wanna Be Down,” “Sitting Up In My Room,” and the unforgettable duet, “The Boy Is Mine” with fellow songstress Monica. Her work didn’t stop there. Brandy gave us six albums, countless appearances on the silver screen, and ever-changing protective styles that we wanted to try on our own at home.

She took a break from recording to focus on raising her daughter, but that didn’t stop her creativity.  She starred in Broadway’s “Chicago,” and even dropped a tune here and there. But, now, the braided diva is back with a new album and a new vibe. Her latest project, B7, is her seventh studio album. Not only is this the first project to be released through her imprint, Brand Nu, Inc., but it’s also her most personal album to date and her first one in eight years.

The singer tells Hype Hair that she penned much of the album herself and is eager to see what her fans will think of her latest project. We caught up with Brandy to get the details on her new album and get a few of her hair and beauty secrets.

HYPE HAIR: I know your fans are very excited to hear this new album from you. What was the creative process like for you on this project? 

BRANDY: It was definitely different because it’s like my own perspective of myself; finding ways to trust my own lyrics and to go with my creative gut. Being around people who are rooted and solid in that craft, being nurtured… I felt like I’m being honest; I’m being transparent, and that felt right to me. That was something that was needed, and I hope people can respect that and appreciate that and relate to that and feel like when they hear the music, they’re listening to all of you and the truth of who you are. 

HH: What are your favorite tracks?

BRANDY: My favorite track is called “Borderline.” I just absolutely love it. It embodies everything that I am as a vocalist, as a lyricist. It just tells such an amazing story about love, and I just feel like it’s the sound of the album. And, I love the new song that I just released on Apple Music called “Rather Be.” It’s a love song. It’s the kind of song that my fans expect me to sing and it’s beautiful. I love that I was able to take the time to put together a body of work of quality R&B music that I can look back and be proud of. And people can really listen to it and play it from top to bottom and escape, you know. That’s what it’s all about. 

HH: Well, you’ve inspired so many people with your music and voice. After all, you’re known for being “The Vocal Bible.” 

BRANDY: It was off-putting at first, but I didn’t really understand it. With so many amazing vocalists out there that don’t get the credit they deserve, I just feel like that’s kind of a huge thing to call someone. That’s like big time, but then a lot of pressure came with that, having to live up to having amazing, amazing vocals. But then when I thought about it and lived with it for a little bit, I’m just super humbled by it. 

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