Norwood's father was a pastor, and by the age of two, she was singing at his church. Brandy became a fan of Whitney Houston, and she told her father that she wanted to be a singer, like Houston. At the age of four, the Norwoods moved to California, where Brandy began her artistic career singing at talent shows in 1990. At 11, she met a record producer who took her to various record companies and led her to backup singing jobs with two groups: Norment and the more successful Immature.
She starred in a couple of television shows in the 1990s, including the popular Moesha in which she played the lead character, a rambunctious young teen. Later, she starred in Rodger And Hammerstein's television version of Cinderella (see fan site).
When Brandy was 14, she was finally able to land a record deal, with Atlantic Records, and in late 1994 her first album, Brandy, was released, reaching gold status in less than two months. It quickly went on to achieve triple platinum, thanks to its popular singles "Best Friend," "Brokenhearted (featuring Wayna Morris of Boyz II Men," "Baby," and "I Wanna Be Down". Brandy quickly became an MTV star and was all over the channel and the radio in 1995.
Towards the end of that year, she contributed a song to the Waiting To Exhale soundtrack, called "Sittin' Up In My Room". It became a huge hit in early 1996, in part thanks to a popular rap remix that featured LL Cool J.
Awards started to come by soon after, and in 1995 she attended the Billboard Music Awards. Her next award show, the 1996 MTV Awards brought her better luck, and she won the Best Movie Song award for Sitting Up In My Room. She was also nominated for a Grammy in the Best New Artist category, and won the NCAAP Image Award in that same category, as well as the Soul Train Award, also as Best New Artist.
That same year, Brandy teamed up with Tamia, Chaka Khan, and Gladys Knight, for the single "Missing You," off of the ... soundtrack. Even with the superstar lineup, it was Brandy's least successful single yet, but was still a moderate hit.
In late 1998 Brandy released her second album, Never Say Never, shortly after its first single, a duet with media "rival" Monica called "The Boy Is Mine," spent eleven weeks on top of the Hot 100 chart that summer. The album was also a number one smash on the Billboard 200 Albums chart, eventually becoming multi-platinum. The album's other singles "Top Of The World," a duet with rapper Mase; "Almost Doesn't Count;" and "U Don't Know Me (Like U Used To)," which had a hip hop remix version which was used for the video and featured rappers Da Brat and Shaunta; were more minor hits in late 1998 and through 1999. The album's third single, "Have You Ever," was a big number one pop and R&B hit in early 1999.
The successful album was also nominated for a Rhythm and Blues Award and a Grammy award, both as Best Album Of The Year, and she co-hosted the American Music Awards, where she was nominated for Favorite Female Artist Of The Year in both their Rock & Pop and Soul categories. "The Boy Is Mine" won the Best Rhythm and Blues Performance by a Duo/Duet Of The Year award at the Grammy's.
Brandy's third album, Full Moon was released in early 2002 and spawned the hits "What About Us" and "Full Moon," whose video featured a five-month-pregnant Brandy and whose lyrics explain how Brandy felt when she first saw her husband.
Brandy has also tried her hand at acting, and her credits include a small role in Arachnophobia, a hit series named Moesha (where she played the main character), a minor part in Demolition Man, the main character in Cinderella (tv movie), a television movie with Diana Ross called Double Platinum, and one of the main characters in I Still Know What You Did Last Summer.
Some of her biggest songs include:
She is currently married (it was kept a secret for months) to Robert Smith and has a daughter, Sy'rai, who was born in the summer of 2003.