Brandy has new music out and she says her eight-year hiatus from recording is due to her journey of self-discovery. The R&B singer’s resume is impressive, with multi-platinum selling albums, classic duets, and iconic television roles. But, Brandy says the road hasn’t been easy, explaining that her perfectly crafted image nearly cost her everything.
Brandy’s perfectly crafted image
Brandy burst onto the music scene at just 15-years-old. With the release of her first album, her popularity grew more thanks to landing the lead role on the UPN sitcom Moesha, which ran for six seasons. Her acting career continued exploding, with her starring as the first Black Cinderella alongside her musical idol Whitney Houston.
In a new interview with People Magazine, Brandy says she initially felt “pure joy” about her career. But as she grew and matured as a woman, she began feeling trapped by her “perfect” image.
Much of her image crafting is thanks to her momager, Sonja Norwood. During Brandy’s teen years, Norwood refused to allow Brandy to come outside of her girl next door persona, whether through her daughter’s music lyrics or Brandy’s fashion.
As Norwood explains in Brandy’s VH1 Driven special, it was important for Brandy to look and act her age.
Brandy says an unplanned pregnancy and lying about being married ruined her reputation
Brandy also took her role as a role model to her fans and upholding a clean image became just as important to her. That’s why when she became pregnant in 2002, an unwed Brandy did the unthinkable.
In her VH1 Behind the Music special, Brandy says her record label pressured her into marrying her then-partner, producer Robert Smith.
“That was something that was not okay for the Brandy brand. That wasn’t cool. I was raised with the Christian foundation that it’s a sin to get pregnant out of wedlock, that’s not allowed so I was scared. I didn’t know what to do. Everybody around me is trying to force me to get married and so I said, “Why don’t I just say I’m married? Because I don’t want to get married. So why don’t I just say it.”Brandy, VH1’s Behind The Music
Smith later revealed that he and Brandy were never married during an interview with Wendy Williams. Looking back, Brandy says she regrets the way she handled the ordeal.
“If I was woman enough to lay down and get pregnant by someone then I should’ve been woman enough to admit that that’s what took place,” she says during her Behind the Music episode.
Brandy says lying about her marriage was the “fall of her career.” In her interview with People, she says the public lost trust of her over lying about her marriage. “It changed people’s perspective of me.”
Brandy also admits to suicidal thoughts after a fatal car accident
Things for Brandy didn’t get easier. In 2006, she was involved in a car accident that killed another driver. Though Brandy was not criminally charged with a crime, she settled out of court.
The guilt of someone losing their life took a toll on the singer. She even contemplated suicide but says her daughter, Sy’rai, is her saving grace.
“If Sy’rai wasn’t here, I wouldn’t be either,” she tells People. “The place that I was in, it just felt like I wasn’t going to make it through.”
Brandy says her new album B7 is her most honest and vulnerable work of art thus far. Without her tough journey, musically, she says she would not be the same.