Performances from last month’s ‘BET Honors’ aired last night! Alicia Keys honoured Academy Award-winning actress Halle Berry during a rousing performance of ‘Brand New Me’ from latest album ‘Girl On Fire’. Meanwhile, Brandy belted out her ‘Two Eleven’ album cut ‘Without You’. Nice performances from those two, especially Brandy. That chick certainly has a set of pipes on her. Lovely.
Over the weekend, Brandy performed in front of 40,000-plus people at the 2013 Honda Battle of the Bands in Atlanta, GA. Rocking jasepi boots and a bright yellow top, the singer sang some of her hit songs and new cuts, including ‘Put It Down’, ‘Wildest Dreams’ and ‘Full Moon’. Producer Bangladesh came out for the first number and the cheering crowd gave them both some love!
I’m still spinning her new album ‘Two Eleven’, so hopefully, we get a third single from the project soon. Until then, check out what she served up below!
Posted by Toya | Filed under Brandy
MTV’s ‘This Is How I Made It’ shines the spotlight on R&B veteran Brandy! The beginning of Brandy’s career stemmed from her father’s church where she performed for the very first time. The 33-year-old also shares her admiration for her idol, Whitney Houston‘s music and cherishes the friendship that they had.
Brandy looked up to the best vocalists in the world so it’s not surprising she scored herself a record deal singing classics such as Whitney’s ‘Greatest Love of All’ and Mariah Carey‘s ‘Vision of Love’. Check out the full segment below!
The BET Honors also celebrates the accomplishments of African Americans in varying fields. T.D. Jakes will be honoured with the Award for Education, Clarence Avant for Entrepreneur Award, Halle Berry for Award for Service, Chaka Khan for Award for Musical Arts and Lisa Leslie for Awards for Athletics. Be sure to tune in!
Rare rehearsal footage of Brandy performing her ‘Two Eleven’ album cut ‘Scared of Beautiful’ surfaced online today. Brandy delivered a raw and passionate presentation of the Frank Ocean-penned cut.
Frank did a lovely job with writing this song because the emotion truly comes out. Furthermore, that emotion is greatly heightened when someone like Brandy embraces the lyrics. She truly brings this song to life!
“Some of these music blogs could actually benefit from hiring people who REALLY understand the culture of R&B to write about R&B” wrote Solange on her Twitter last night. “Like you really should know about deep Brandy album cuts before you are giving a “grade” or a “score” to any R&B artist”. Giiiirl, you better stan.
Source: True Exclusives.
Brandy was the only R&B star to perform on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve last night. The performance took place at CBS studios on December 31st in Los Angeles, California and marked the first one without Mr Clark who died last year. She delivered a sizzling routine to ‘Put It Down’, as well as ‘Wildest Dreams’ from latest album ‘Two Eleven’. The newly engaged singer took to the stage in a sexy back baring white mini dress and the same snake skin knee-high boots that caused PETA to put Rihanna‘s head on the chopping block. The ‘Put It Down’ performance was good, a little obvious on the playback, but good. I wish she’d perform something else though as that track has already run its course.
Posted by Toya | Filed under Brandy
After US Weekly first reported of Brandy‘s engagement to music executive boyfriend Ryan Press, the singer made the news official to Entertainment Tonight through her rep. In the past, Brandy has always gushed about Ryan being the man that made her believe in love again, so it’s only fitting that they make honest people out of each other. Brandy’s latest album ‘Two Eleven’ was dedicated to him so much that she was literally encouraging him to take that step. A decade ago, Brandy had a faux-marriage to music producer Robert Smith, father to her 10-year-old daughter Sy’rai, so thankfully, this one will be the real deal. After confirming the news, Brandy and Ryan jetted off to Hawaii to celebrate. The pair got engaged over the Christmas holiday and we could not be more happy for them!
Congrats you two!
Posted by Toya | Filed under Brandy
We love Brandy! And here she shows us why, with an impromptu presentation of Rihanna‘s smash single ‘Diamonds’!
Ms Norwood owned all 22 seconds! Her smoky addlibs made for a stunning delivery and she sang every word effortlessly. Rihanna would really like it, no doubt! Cover songs aside, Brandy needs to start paying focus to her own album ‘Two Eleven.’
Being the slow burner that it is, the announcement of a third single would be a good start at least. Don’t you just hate it when such good albums go to waste?
Posted by Toya | Filed under Brandy
Brandy sits down with her former America’s Got Talent co-judge Piers Morgan for an insightful and emotional face to face conversation.
Here’s a quickie recap from her interview with CNN’s ‘Piers Morgan Tonight’, in which she:
*describes her painful reaction upon learning that her childhood mentor Whitney Houston passed away
*discusses new album ‘Two Eleven’
*speaks on motherhood, and more
Brandy says her album is therapeutic music, which is more or less true. The production and vocals are really soothing and she really opens up. To date, ‘Two Eleven’ has only sold 137k copies since its release on October 16th. I’m mad that she stopped plugging the album because I feel it is too good of an album to waste like that. I’d like her to release ‘Do You Know’ next. That track is screaming to be released as the third single.
The music video for Brandy‘s new single, ‘Wildest Dreams’, premiered on BET’s ’106 & Park’ last night. The cut is lifted from her latest album, ‘Two Eleven’ which to date, has sold 87k units in the States.
Sadly, the video was not distributed to VEVO straight after, so for now, you’ll have to make do with this bootlegged, home-recorded clip until the high quality video surfaces.
The video did not really match the song as there was no concept to it whatsoever. While Brandy clearly had fun shooting the visual, it would have been nice to see her channeling how happy she is in her new relationship and seeing how in love she is. She’s been unlucky in the past, so she could have portrayed previous relationship traumas, leading up to finding her prince charming. She did look lovely of course but I expected a little bit more depth from the visual.
R&B songstress Brandy delivered a sizzling performance at ‘Black Girls Rock’, taking to the stage to perform her new single ‘Wildest Dreams’. Brandy released her new album ‘Two Eleven’ on October 16th, so if you enjoyed the performance, support it. Or better yet, you can check out my album review for ‘Two Eleven’ by clicking here.
This was a nice performance. Brandy’s vocals were as smooth as warm honey. You can always count on Brandy to deliver a very solid live vocal. Unfortunately, I was slightly distracted by her wig. It looked like it was slapped on by Ike Turner. Bad wig aside, Brandy received a standing ovation from the crowd, so clearly they were feeling her. The question is, were you?
Posted by Mikey | Filed under Brandy
Ever since her 1993 singing debut, Brandy Norwood has always been respected as a nuanced R&B singer with skill and technique far beyond her years. Sure, she’s not a booming powerhouse like her idol Whitney Houston, nor does she possess a [seemingly] infinite range like Mariah Carey—but what she does have is an innate ability to weave her raspy alto into a web of complex harmonies and technical runs that sets her in a league, vocally, of her own.
Brandy’s unique timbre allows her the freedom to wrap her voice around a melody in a variety of different ways that many of her peers admittedly tried to recreate in their own recordings like India Arie, Chris Brown and Melanie Fiona to name a few.
With that being said, I cannot think of a more befitting song than 2002?s ‘Nothing’ to better exemplify Brandy’s proficiency’s as one of contemporary R&B’s most dynamic vocalists. Listen after the jump and sound-off below.
‘Nothing’, written by LaShawn Daniels (‘Tamar & Vince’) and produced by Uncle Freddy, is a lovesick ballad about missing someone and no one being able to understand the pain. It starts off mellow and lush before building up to an emotional climax lead by Norwood’s raspy contralto. As an expert technician in the studio, Brandy demonstrates her skill as a vocal producer by layering the verses with low bottom harmonies and her signature ghostly falsetto on top to create the feeling of vocal massiveness throughout—a signature that’s become her staple post-‘Never Say Never.’
Songs like ‘Nothing’ and the album ‘Full Moon’ represents an important time in Brandy’s career as it brought about what many consider to be her greatest body of work and most artistic era.
What did you think?
Brandy‘s aggressive promo trail for new album ‘Two Eleven’ was pretty intense, but not enough to secure her those solid first week numbers. According to Hits Daily Double, the ‘Put It Down’-preceded opus is set to debut at #3 on the Billboard 200. First week sales are enclosed below.
A very lukewarm 66,856 copies is what Brandy has pushed this week. Soundscan numbers may be a little higher but we’re not expecting a dramatic difference to be honest. We’d be lying if we said we expected a tad bit higher than that, but now her role is to keep up the momentum by releasing more singles.
R&B is not selling as well as it use to in this recessional era and most R&B stars feel they only need to promote their albums during ‘release week’ and then abandon the project altogether after that. Of course it would be a shame if that were the case because ‘Two Eleven’ is actually a very solid body of work. Click here to read my album review if you have yet to do so.
What do YOU think the next single should be?
Brandy‘s aggressive promo trail for new album, ‘Two Eleven’, shows no sign of letting up. She visits Vh1?s ‘Big Morning Buzz’ for an interview, performs ‘Wildest Dreams’ on The Wendy Williams Show and ‘Put It Down’ on ABC’s ‘Kelly & Michael’. Despite her predicted lukewarm sales, we love an artist that passionately fights for something they’ve worked so hard for no matter what the odds are.
‘The Wendy Williams Show’:
‘Kelly & Michael’:
‘Big Morning Buzz’:
Brandy takes her ‘Two Eleven’ album promo to Good Morning America early this morning. Showing off her leggy pins in black hot pants and matching blouse, she rocked out to a full live band and was assisted by backing dancers. During the performance, she swagged it up on stage to her urban hit single ‘Put It Down’. Feel the energy.
The singer delivered studio vocals while owning that stage. Hot. The promo will continue throughout the week when she makes appearances on ‘Watch What Happens’ (October 18th), ‘The Wendy Williams Show’ (October 19th), ‘LIVE! With Kelly & Michael’ (October 19th) and ‘Piers Morgan Tonight’ (October 19th)’.
Brandy did some serious promotion on BET’s ’106 & Park’ last night. Taking over the entire show, she promoted new album ‘Two Eleven’ with an interview, two performances and an exclusive preview of her ‘Wildest Dreams’ video. Brandy did her little two-step during ‘Put It Down’, but appeared to hold back vocally. She stepped up during ‘Wildest Dreams’, giving us some killer vocal runs mid-performance.
The performances were good, but she seemed a little tired after that Best Buy concert the night before. She also delivered a more energetic showing at The Factory last week, but at least she was giving live vocals. All the action, including the sneak peek to her Matthew Rolston-directed visual is in the playlist below.
1. ‘Put It Down’ (performance)
2. ‘Wildest Dreams’ (performance)
3. ‘Wildest Dreams’ (preview)
4. Interview (part one)
5. Interview (part two)
6. Interview (part three)
Posted by Toya | Filed under Brandy
Brandy is VIBE Vixen‘s October/November cover girl! The singer looked glamorous and sexy for their latest digital issue. Clearly, this never-aging R&B star has all the right qualities worth being envious of! Sultry looks, tiny waist, busty on top and a hot new album to go a long with it! Hits Daily Double have reported that ‘Two Eleven’ is set to debut at #2 on the Billboard 200 next week. She is predicted to sell between 65k – 70k.
The singer’s previous release, 2008’s ‘Human,’ sold 73,000 copies in its first week and to date has sold just over 215,000 copies in the States. Here is more from her Vixen spread:
“Unsaturated R&B is a sometimes forgotten acquired taste, yet Brandy is equipped with a fully loaded record and the old hand know-how to make us fall in love again” – Niki McGloster.
Truer words have never been spoken. Read excerpts from the interview here.
Whitney Houston received some love from Brandy during a concert at the Best Buy Theater in New York City. Last night’s gig was to promote her new album ‘Two Eleven’, where she also performed her own material (new and old). The husky-voiced songstress did her thang, and I truly hope people support this album even if it’s just to put R&B back on the map again.
In the footage below, Brandy performs:
Whitney Houston medley (‘I’m Your Baby Tonight’, ‘How Will I Know’)
‘What About Us?’
‘Have You Ever?’
‘Almost Doesn’t Count’
‘I Wanna Be Down’
‘Put It Down’
‘Two Eleven’ is out now.
Urban-pop fans are in for one hell of a treat this fall. With so many singers releasing albums in the last quarter, we’re quite spoilt for choice. Established songstresses Brandy, Ciara, Keyshia Cole and Christina Aguilera all took to different promo platforms to speak about their new albums and more.
Brandy makes a guest appearance on ‘The Breakfast Club’!
Brandy releases her new album ‘Two Eleven’ today! Of course she talks about the project, as well as her scrapped summer tour with fellow R&B vet Monica! If you’ve yet to read our album review for the project, you can do so here. Tell us what you think!
Ciara visits Vh1?s ‘Big Morning Buzz’!
Ciara’s new album ‘One Woman Army’ drops in December. The gleeful singer took the time out yesterday to chat about the record. She recently performed at the ‘Black Girls Rock’ showcase, so she touched on that and more.
Christina Aguilera appears on Australia’s ‘Sunrise’!
Christina releases her new album ‘Lotus’ on November 13th. The subject on whether she uses image-altering software to make herself appear slimmer in photoshoots was also raised. Aggy will perform at the 2012 American Music Awards on November 18th, and be sure to look out for a forthcoming album review from Mikey!
Keyshia Cole visits ’106 & Park’!
Keyshia chats about her new reality show, ‘Keyshia & Daniel: Family First’. She also speaks briefly about her upcoming fifth studio album, ‘Woman To Woman’, which drops in stores on November 19th. KC will be going head to head with Island pop babes Rihanna and Nicki Minaj!
After a four year hiatus, Brandy is back with her sixth studio album, ‘Two Eleven’. The album title tributes two significant dates in her life; her birthday, and the day that one of her idols, Whitney Houston passed away. The album (out on October 16th) serves as the follow-up to 2008?s ‘Human’, and she’s worked with some top notch producers. Some of those include hitmakers Sean Garrett and Bangladesh, as well as Mario Winans, The Bizness, Rico Love and Jim Jonsin, just to name the few. Today we review the album which drops in Stateside stores this week.
(Sean Garrett, Justin Henderson, The Bizness)
This is the type of record that will have all the single people out there WISHING they were in love with someone. That knock and bass instrumentation with this melody is tight and it’s a real throwback to the R&B of the early 2000s. Brandy’s usage of layering her voice on this beat is reminiscent to the era of ‘Full Moon‘. It’s a good song but I can’t say for sure if it’s strong enough to serve as the official second single. Nonetheless, I’m excited for the music video which Brandy shot a few days ago.
(Sean Garrett, Bangladesh, Breyon Prescott)
This one isn’t so sweet and gooey. Brandy finds that her relationship is now in trouble. She’s so disappointed over those broken promises and wishes that she did not have to experience this emotional hurt. Her conflicted vocals glide over a drum machine beat, combined with a synth and bass accompaniment. It closes with some stunning vocal riffs ‘so sick’, you’ll never tire of hearing this song.
(Chris Brown, Brandy Norwood, Breyon Prescott, Amber Streeter, Dave Taylor)
Brandy puts her foot on the breaks in terms of how fast she tends to go when taking the next step in her relationship. “I know you wanna beat it up, but I’m sorry, that ain’t really my thing” she tells her new beau. The singer adopts smooth and alluring vocals throughout the laidback, clappy number.
No Such Thing As Too Late
(Richard Butler, James Scheffer, Daniel Morris Jim Jonsin, Mr. Morris, Rico Love)
This mid-tempo groove is centered around the importance of not rushing a new romance and taking her time so that it can progress to bigger and better things. The cut consists of sparse keyboard notes, and programmed beats with similar arrangement comparable to Kelly Rowland‘s ‘Motivation’ (also helmed by Rico). Nice song, but nothing new or spectacular.
Let Me Go
(Bangladesh, Sean Garrett, Lykke Li Zachrisson, Björn Yttling)
Five tracks in and we finally get to the album’s first real club banger. The hard-hitting production is built around reverb-heavy beats, buzzy synths and boom-bapping bass. The track interpolates the hook from Swedish pop singer Lykke Li‘s ‘Tonight’, and in the song, Brandy adopts a staccato vocal delivery. Lyrically, Brandy keeps a firm grip on her man simply because he is just too good to lose. In fact, she’s so sprung, he has her acting in ways her mama wouldn’t approve of! The beat is typical Bangladesh, but this will undoubtedly become a bouncing success on those club floors!
(Eric Bellinger, Courtney Harrell, Brandy Norwood, Harmony Samuels)
Brandy can’t ever contemplate a life without the man she almost lost in this piano-laced ballad, backed by thumping bass lines. Brandy brings back those multi-layered vocals to true form, as well as conveying one of her strongest vocal performances to date. Initially, this was tipped to become the second or third single so hopefully this track is next to get the full treatment. A definite album stand-out.
Put It Down (featuring Chris Brown)
(Dwayne ‘Dem Jointz’ Abernathy, Chris Brown, Bangladesh, Sean Garrett)
Classic R&B fans were disappointed in this because they felt this was not Brandy’s style at all. She needed to put herself back on the map with something fun and contemporary. She needed something that the younger crowd would sit up and pay attention to (which is where a rapping Chris Brown comes in). As a result, I can see why they opted to go with this as the lead single. The bass-heavy cut is playful and Brandy doesn’t take herself too seriously. The song does its job accordingly.
(Pierre Medor, Rico Love, Jim Jonsin)
This brooding mid-tempo ballad entails a pecking drum beat where Brandy is suffering prior to her lover walking away from their relationship. The chorus and overall production is simply stunning and Brandy returns to some of her best work yet this era. Hurrah!
Do You Know What You Have?
(Sean Garrett, Brandy Norwood, Breyon Prescott, Pierre Slaughter, Mike L. Williams Mike WiLL Made It, P-Nasty)
Brandy berates her man for failing to return her affections on this atmospheric number. The down-tempo cut entails thumping, sparse production, accented by handclaps and electronic synthesizers. It has that car cruising feel to it and of course Brandy sounds hella sexy on this beat while giving her man what for.
Scared of Beautiful
(Frank Ocean, Warryn Campbell, Breyon Prescott)
Dark times enable Brandy to finally face her reflection on this introspective number where she answers only to herself, looks forward and not back. Brandy’s soft vocals soar against the atmospheric instrumental, and the production itself is sublime. The song finishes beautifully with an electrifying guitar solo. This was originally intended to be a duet between Ocean and Brandy but the end result just features Brandy (Ocean’s demo has been floating around for a while now). The ‘Channel Orange’ crooner also submitted the track for Rihanna‘s ‘Loud’ album but it didn’t make the cut. Ocean’s influences are drenched all over this song but Brandy does a remarkable job making it her own.
Wish Your Love Away
(Brandon Ramon Johnson, Tiyon ‘TC’ Mack, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Mario Winans)
This mid-tempo is built around a mellow drum and flute accompaniment where Brandy bitterly cuts down a man for taking her for a fool. “Remember that you told me you were with it, and all them other bitches you could do without?” she scorns. The track contains a sample from ‘Seven Samurai: Ending Theme’ by Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto. It’s the first glimpse of feisty we see from the normally reserved singer and I love it!
Paint This House
(Butler, Eric Goody II, Earl Hood, Medor Rico Love, Earl, E., Pierre Medor)
Brandy closes the album with this smooth, hypnotic and warm scorcher of a track about domestic intimacy. This is beautifully arranged, beautifully sung and I could not have asked for more gratifying album closure.
Standouts: So Sick, Slower, Without You, Hardly Breathing, Wish Your Love Away, Scared of Beautiful, Paint This House
Conclusion: The album is packed with hard beats throughout and even the ballads have some thump. The singer blends post-2000 sounds with atmospheric, contemporary R&B. A lot of the feel-good cuts are inspired by her real-life boyfriend Ryan Press. Noticeably, Sean Garrett received top billing on this album, and I can’t even be mad.
Sidenote: Many of my readers were devastated when I announced on Twitter that I would be taking a break from writing album reviews. It’s not that my enjoyment for writing them ceased. I just got lazy. I’ve been writing reviews for six years now and I missed that aspect of blogging. This one made me realise how much fun I had! I hope my writing hasn’t become too rusty since then, ha. So now that I’ve officially brought back the reviews, you can let me know what forthcoming albums you’d like a review for (sorry I didn’t get round to writing one for the widely requested Tamia, I did enjoy it by the way).