Brandy Rayana Norwood (born February 11, 1979), known professionally as Brandy, is an American R&B singer-songwriter, record producer, television entertainer, actress, and film producer. In 2009, she introduced her rap alter-ego Bran'Nu.
Born into a musical family in McComb, Mississippi and raised in Carson, California, Norwood first appeared in a supporting role on the short-lived ABC sitcom Thea in 1993. Her engagement led to her own star vehicle, successful UPN sitcom Moesha in 1996, and resulted in roles in the 1998 horror sequel I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, and the TV films Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella (1997) and Double Platinum (1999), two of television's best rated special programs.
In 1993, she signed a recording contract with Atlantic, releasing her self-titled debut album a year after. Following a major success with Grammy Award-winning "The Boy Is Mine", a duet with singer Monica, and her second album Never Say Never in 1998, a series of successful records established her as one of the most successful of the new breed of urban R&B female vocalists to emerge during the mid-to late 1990s. Her latest studio album, Human (2008), was her first effort to be released on the Epic label after a label change in 2005.
The RIAA ranks Norwood as one of the best-selling female artists in American music history, having sold over 10.7 million copies of her five studio albums in the United States and over 30 million records worldwide, to date.Additionally, she has won over 100 awards as a recording artist. In 1999, Billboard ranked Norwood among the top 20 of the top pop artists of the 1990s. Brandy has also been ranked among the top 50 greatest teen stars of all time.
Currently, Norwood is competing on the eleventh season of Dancing with the Stars, which premiered on September 20, 2010 on ABC.
Life and career
Early life and career beginnings
Norwood was born in McComb, Mississippi, the daughter of Willie Norwood, a former gospel singer and choir director, and his wife Sonja Norwood (née Bates), a former district manager for H&R Block. She is the elder sister of entertainer Ray J, as well as a first cousin of rapper Snoop Dogg.
Raised in a Christian home, Norwood started singing through her father's work as part of the local church choir, performing her first gospel solo at the age of two. In 1983, her parents relocated to Los Angeles, California, where Brandy was schooled at the Hollywood High Performing Arts Center. Norwood's interest in music and performing increased after becoming a fan of singer Whitney Houston at the age of seven, but at school, she experienced trouble with persuading teachers to send her on auditions as she found no support among the staff.Undaunted, Norwood began entering talent shows by the time she was eleven, and as part of a youth singing group, performed at several public functions. In 1990, her talent led to a binding oral contract with Teaspoon Productions, headed by Chris Stokes and Earl Harris, who obtained gigs for her as a backing vocalist for their R&B boy band Immature, and arranged the production of a demo tape. In 1993, amid ongoing negotiations with East West Records, Norwood's parents organized a recording contract with the Atlantic Recording Corporation after auditioning for the company's director of A&R, Darryl Williams. To manage her daughter, Norwood's mother soon resigned from her job, while Norwood herself dropped out of Hollywood High School later and was tutored privately from tenth grade on.
During the early production stages of her debut album, Norwood was selected for a role in the ABC sitcom Thea, portraying the twelve-year-old daughter of a single working mother, played by Thea Vidale. Broadcasted to mediocre ratings, the series ended only eight months after its premiere, but garnered her a Young Artist Award nomination for Outstanding Youth Ensemble alongside her co-stars.Norwood recalled that she appreciated the cancellation of the show as she was unenthusiastic about acting at the time and the taping caused scheduling conflicts with the recording of her album, stating: "I felt bad for everybody else but me. It was a good thing, because I could do what I had to do, because I wanted to sing."
1994–1996: Brandy and Moesha
"I Wanna Be Down" (1994)
"I Wanna Be Down" became Brandy's first single to top the Hot R&B Singles chart. The song features elements of hip hop soul.
Problems listening to this file? See media help.
Williams hired producer Keith Crouch and R&B band Somethin' for the People to work with Norwood, and within eight months, the team crafted her debut album, Brandy. A collection of street-oriented rhythm-and-blues with a hip-hop edge, whose lyrical content embraced her youthful and innocent image in public, Norwood later summed the songs on the album as young and vulnerable, stating: "I didn’t really know a lot — all I wanted to do was basically sing. You can just tell that it’s a person singing from a genuine place, and also a place of basically no experience. I was singing about being attracted to the opposite sex, but I had no experience behind it." Released in September 1994, the album peaked at number twenty on the U.S. Billboard 200.Critical reaction to Brandy was generally positive, with Allmusic writer Eddie Huffman declaring Brandy "a lower-key Janet Jackson or a more stripped-down Mary J. Blige [...] with good songs and crisp production."Anderson Jones of Entertainment Weekly asserted, "Teen actress Norwood acts her age. A premature effort at best, that seems based on the philosophy 'If Aaliyah can do it, why can't I?'."
Brandy went on to sell over six million units worldwide,and produced three top ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100, including "I Wanna Be Down" and "Baby," both of which reached the top of the Hot R&B Singles chart and were certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. "Brokenhearted", a duet with Wanya Morris of Boyz II Men, became a number-two hit on the charts. The album earned Norwood two Grammy Award nominations for Best New Artist and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance the following year and won her four Soul Train Music Awards, two Billboard Awards, and the New York Children's Choice Award.In 1995, she finished a two-month stint as the opening act on Boyz II Men's national tour, and contributed songs to the soundtracks of the films Batman Forever and Waiting to Exhale, with single "Sittin' Up in My Room" becoming another top two success. In 1996, Norwood also collaborated with Tamia, Chaka Khan, and Gladys Knight on the single "Missing You," released from the Set It Off soundtrack. The single won her a third Grammy nomination in the Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals category.
In 1996, her short-lived engagement on Thea led to Norwood's own star vehicle: UPN-produced sitcom Moesha. Appearing alongside Sheryl Lee Ralph and Countess Vaughn, she played the title role of Moesha Mitchell, a Los Angeles girl coping with the pressures and demands of becoming an adult. Originally bought by CBS, the program was first broadcast on UPN during January 1996, and soon became the most watched show broadcast on the television network.While the sitcom managed to increase its audience every new season and even spwaned a spin-off named The Parkers, the network decided to cancel the show after six seasons on the air, leaving it ending with a cliffhanger for a scrapped seventh season. Norwood was awarded a NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Youth Actor/Actress for her
1997–2000: Never Say Never and film career
In 1997, Norwood was hand-picked by executive producer Whitney Houston to play the title character in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s television version of Cinderella featuring a multi-cultural cast that also included Jason Alexander, Whoopi Goldberg, and Houston. The two-hour Wonderful World of Disney special garnered an estimated 60 million viewers, giving the network its highest ratings in the time period in 16 years, and won an Emmy Award the following year.
"The Boy Is Mine" (1998)
A duet with singer Monica, inspired by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson's 1982 song "The Girl Is Mine," the single became a worldwide success.
Problems listening to this file? See media help.
Beginning producer Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins was consulted to contribute to Norwood's second album Never Say Never, which was released in June 1998. Brandy co-wrote and produced six songs on the album which yielded her first number-one rated song on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, "The Boy Is Mine", a duet with singer Monica that has become the most successful song by a female duo in music history. Exploiting the media's presumption of a rivalry between the two young singers, the song was one of the most successful records in United States of all time, spending record-breaking thirteen weeks on top of the Billboard charts, and eventually garnered the pair a Grammy Award for "Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal". The album's success was equally widespread, and after extensive radio play of the single overseas, the label released it globally during the summer. Never Say Never eventually became Brandy’s biggest-selling album, selling over sixteen million copies worldwide; and critics rated the album highly, with Allmusic`s Stephen Thomas Erlewine praising Brandy and her team for wisely finding "a middle ground between Mariah Carey and Mary J. Blige — it's adult contemporary with a slight streetwise edge". Altogether the album spawned seven airplay and CD singles respectively, including Norwood's second number-one song, the Diane Warren-penned "Have You Ever?".
After backing out of a role in F. Gary Gray's 1996 drama Set It Off,Norwood made her big screen debut after winning the supporting role of sassy Karla Wilson in the franchise-flick I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. The movie outperformed the original with a total of $16.5 million at its opening weekend but critical reaction towards the film was largely disappointing, with film review site Rotten Tomatoes calculating a poor rating of 7% based on 46 reviews. Norwood, however, earned positive reviews for her "bouncy" performance, which garnered her both a Blockbuster Entertainment Award and an MTV Movie Award nomination for Best Breakthrough Female Performance respectively. In 1999, she co-starred with Diana Ross in the telefilm drama Double Platinum about an intense, strained relationship between a mother and daughter. Shot in only twenty days in New York City, both Norwood and Ross served as executive producers of the movie which features original songs from their respective albums Never Say Never (1998) and Every Day Is a New Day (1999) as well as previously unreleased duets.
2001–2004: Full Moon and Afrodisiac
After a lengthy hiatus that saw the end of the Moesha sitcom, and a flurry of tabloid headlines discussing her long-term battle with dehydration, Norwood returned to music in 2001 when she and brother Ray-J were asked to record a cover version of Phil Collins' 1980s hit "Another Day in Paradise" for the tribute album Urban Renewal: A Tribute to Phil Collins. Released as the album first single in Europe and Oceania, the song became an instant international success overseas, scoring top ten entries on the majority of all charts it appeared on.
Full Moon, Norwood's third studio album, was released in February 2002. It once again comprised a row of R&B and pop-oriented songs with adult contemporary, many of them co-created with Jerkins, Warryn Campbell and Mike City. While its lead single "What About Us?" became a worldwide top ten hit, the album's title track failed to chart or sell noticeably outside the United States and the United Kingdom, where it managed to enter the Top 20 of charts. Media reception was generally lukewarm, with Rolling Stone describing the album as "frantic, faceless, fake-sexy R&B." Within the coming year, Norwood and Robert "Big Bert" Smith began writing and producing for other artists such as Toni Braxton, Kelly Rowland, Tarralyn Ramsey, and Kiley Dean. Norwood's foray in reality television started in 2002 with the MTV series Diary Presents Brandy: Special Delivery; the show documented the final months of Norwood's pregnancy with her daughter Sy'rai.
Returning from yet another hiatus, Brandy's fourth album Afrodisiac was released on June 29, 2004 in North America, amidst the well-publicized termination of her short-lived business relationship with entertainment manager Benny Medina. Norwood ended her contract with his Los Angeles-based Handprint Entertainment after less than a year of representation following controversies surrounding Medina's handling of the lead single "Talk About Our Love", and failed negotiations of a purported co-headlining tour with R&B singer Usher. Upon parting Norwood admitted her switch to Medina made her appreciate what she had with her mother, stating that "it was such a drastic change that it didn't work for me. Nobody out there can match her passion for me." Despite the negative publicity, Afrodisiac became Brandy's most critically acclaimed album to date, with some highlighting the "more consistently mature and challenging" effect of Timbaland on Brandy's music, and others calling it "listenable and emotionally resonant," comparing it to "Janet Jackson at her best". Norwood described the CD as her most mature and versatile effort by then: "I just wanted to sing my heart out and connect with people. I wasn’t old enough or mature enough before to get into people’s hearts. Now I am." Nevertheless Afrodisiac became a moderate seller: While the album debuted at number three on the Billboard 200, selling only 416,000 copies to date, it generally failed to chart or sell noticeably outside the United States. "Talk About Our Love" reached number six in the United Kingdom but later singles failed to score successfully on the popular music charts.
2005–2009: America's Got Talent and Human
After eleven years with the company Norwood asked for and received an unconditional release from Atlantic Records in the end of 2004, citing her wish to "to move on" as the main reason for her decision. Completing her contract with the label, a compilation album compiling her first four studio albums with Atlantic, entitled The Best of Brandy, was released in March 2005. Released without any promotional single, it reached the top 30 in Australia, the United Kingdom and the U.S., where the collection was appreciated by contemporary critics who noted the creativity of Norwood's back-catalogue.Andy Kellman of Allmusic expressed: "This set, unlike so many other anthologies from her contemporaries, hardly confirms dwindling creativity or popularity." Thereupon she reportedly started shopping for a new record deal under Knockout Entertainment, her brother's vanity label.
In June 2006, Norwood was cast as one of three talent judges on the first season of America's Got Talent, an amateur talent contest on NBC with executive producer Simon Cowell and host Regis Philbin. The broadcast was one of the most-watched programs of the summer, and concluded on August 17, 2006 with the win of 11-year-old singer Bianca Ryan.Norwood was originally scheduled to return for a second season of the America's Got Talent in summer 2007, but decided eventually not to do so, feeling that "she couldn't give the new season the attention and commitment it deserved," following the fatal 2006 car accident, in which she was involved. She was eventually replaced by reality TV star Sharon Osbourne.
"Right Here (Departed)" (2008)
Brandy's musical reunification with Rodney Jerkins on the Human`'s leading single garnered the singer her biggest chart success in years.
Problems listening to this file? See media help.
Norwood's fifth studio album Human was released in December 2008, involving production by Toby Gad, Brian Kennedy, and RedOne.Distributed by Koch Records and Sony Music, the album marked Brandy's debut on the Epic Records label, and her reunion with long-time contributor and mentor Rodney Jerkins, who wrote and executive produced most of the album.Generally well-received by critics, Human debuted at number fifteen on the U.S. Billboard 200 with opening week sales of 73,000 copies.With a domestic sales total of 196,000 copies, it widely failed to revive the success of its predecessors and became the singer's lowest-selling effort to date.While leading single "Right Here (Departed)" scored Brandy her biggest chart success since 2002's "Full Moon", the album failed to impact elsewhere, resulting into lackluster sales in general and the end of her contract with the label, following the appointment of Amanda Ghost at Epic Records and her split with rapper Jay-Z's Roc Nation management. In December 2009, she officially introduced her rapping alter-ego Bran'Nu with two credits on Timbaland's album Timbaland Presents Shock Value 2, and was cast in the pilot episode for the ABC series This Little Piggy, also starring Jeff Davis, Rebecca Cheskoff and Kevin Rahm, which was recast the following year.
2010–present: A Family Business, Dancing with the Stars, and sixth studio album
In 2010, Norwood and her brother Ray J premiered the VH1 reality series Brandy and Ray J: A Family Business along with their parents. The show debuted in April 2010 and chronicled the backstage happenings of both siblings, while taking a bigger role in their family's management and production company, R&B Productions. The show concluded after eleven episodes and was renewed for a second season, which is said to be broadcasted in fall 2010 and will track the recording of a collaboration album with brother Ray J, tentatively titled R&B. The joint record is currently scheduled for a fourth-quarter of 2010 release on the Time–Life imprint Saguaro Road Records, its first single being "Lifeguard."
After collaborating with Timbaland, it was also reported that Norwood would begin work on her sixth solo studio album which Timbaland revealed was going to embrace her new rap alter-ego, as well as her singing. The project, which is slated for release in early 2011, is involving heavy production from Tricky Stewart, The-Dream, Danja, production duo Kadis & Sean, Akon, and Bangladesh, the latter of who was commissioned to helm the major production of the album.
Norwood is appearing as a contestant on season 11 of Dancing with the Stars and she is partnered with Maksim Chmerkovskiy.
Themes and genres
Norwood, stylistically, has evolved since her 1994 start in music, at the age of 15. With her mother as her manager and stylist, Brandy developed a “good girl” image and a “hip-yet-wholesome” appeal. She often cited Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, and Mariah Carey, as her biggest musical inspirations.
Norwood’s initial sound was contemporary R&B, heavily rooted in gospel and soul music.Her lyrics described various types of love, from casual and friendly love, to romantic and spiritual affairs. Influenced by Houston and Carey, she incorporated a ballad-heavy style and an adult contemporary feel into her urban-pop sound, for her second studio album, Never Say Never. Her third studio album, Full Moon, saw Norwood abandon her teenage appeal for a more adult and sensual edginess. Along with her image, her voice had gone through a major change, losing the "girly-rasp" that she once had, for a now deeper and warmer voice, that had acquired a scratchy, evocative edge. The music also reflected the change, as songs like "When You Touch Me" and "Like This" explored more adult, sexual topics, and a sound that blended her previous urban-pop sound with heavy influences of UK garage, dubstep, and progressively futuristic tones. In 2004, her recent motherhood, life experiences, and growing affinity toward English rock band Coldplay, caused her to shift toward a more matured outlook and raw nature with her fourth studio album Afrodisiac, a venture into the organic sounds of soul blues and the nostalgic street-wise sound of 90’s hip-hop. A four year hiatus, and a few life-changing occurrences caused Brandy to return to the music scene, in late 2008, with Human, her fifth studio album, which lyrically discussed topics of spiritual love, genuine heartache, and universal honesty, and musically explored combining her urban pop sound with elements of country and inspirational pop.
Voice and influences
"Long Distance" (2008)
Norwood had been complimented for her smoky, slightly worn tone and the caliber of her voice.
Problems listening to this file? See media help.
Norwood has a contralto vocal range that spans three octaves. Often referred to as “B-Rocka”, Norwood had been commended for her smoky, slightly worn tone and the caliber of her voice. Josh Love of Stylus Magazine calls her voice “gorgeous” and “un-histrionic”, while Nicolas Paul Godkin of Designer Magazine comments, saying “…her husky, dulcet tones impresses the most.” Andy Kallman of Allmusic mentions that her voice is a treat to her, and she wears a slightly worn scratchy-ness surprisingly well. David Browne of Entertainment Weekly calls her voice "down-pillow soft," and Keya Modessa of The Situation describes her voice as “deep, sultry, and different.” While having been noted for her skilled vocal melismas and gospel-tinged ad-libs, Norwood is most known and praised for her heavy use of multitrack recording toward her own voice, to create highly elaborate and harmonically complex backing vocals, a technique that has become her signature. Terry Sawyer of Pop Matters Online comments, saying “While it's been said that Brandy's voice isn't exactly a barn burner, it's not mentioned enough that she does more than enough with what she's got. She never leaves her voice hanging in spotlit scarcity, folding it variegated terracing, whispering out the lead track, shouting in the back-up, and piling each song with enough interlocking sounds to create the tightly packed illusion of vocal massiveness.”
Many of Norwood’s peers count her as a vocal influence including Kanye West, Chris Brown, Keyshia Cole, John Legend, Tyrese, Ciara, and Kelly Rowland among others. Barbadian singer Rihanna revealed in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that her 2007 multi-platinum album, Good Girl Gone Bad, was primarily influenced by Brandy. In the interview she stated, “[Brandy] really helped inspire that album, I listened to [Afrodisiac] everyday [while in the studio]. Rock musician John Frusciante, former guitarist of legendary rock group Red Hot Chili Peppers praises Brandy, calling her voice “multi-dimensional” and “inspiring”. In describing her voice and signature sound he said, “You can't hear [the elaborate harmonies] with your conscious: you have to hear her voice with your subconscious.” He also mentioned that Norwood was the “main inspiration” behind the guitar work on the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s 2006 Grammy winning album, Stadium Arcadium.
However, on many occasions, Norwood has been thought of as merely a talented muse, that music producers and songwriters have used to exercise their own artistic and creative energies. This theory has been most notably linked with Norwood’s most frequent collaborator, producer Rodney Jerkins, and his own Darkchild imprint, on which many of their collaborations do not include songwriting or production from Norwood herself. Her work with Timbaland and other producer/songwriters outside of her usual circle has also seen Brandy responsible for only vocal arrangements and delivery, rather than actual writing or producing. However, throughout her musical career, Norwood has received numerous awards and accolades, and remains one of the most influential artists of her time.
Norwood attended Hollywood High Performing Arts Center, but didn't finish high school, as she hired a private tutor from tenth grade on. In 1996, she became a freshman at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California.
In 1996, she shared a short "chaste" relationship with Los Angeles Lakers player Kobe Bryant, whom she accompanied to his prom at Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. Between February 1997 and February 1998, she dated Boyz II Men lead singer Wanya Morris, who she cited her "first love." Five year elder Morris reportedly ended their relationship a month before her nineteenth birthday.Also during their work on the Never Say Never album, she briefly dated rapper Ma$e.
During the ensuing production of the Full Moon album, Norwood became involved romantically with producer Robert "Big Bert" Smith. The couple quietly began a regular relationship during the summer of 2001, but their union did not become known until February 2002—the same month Norwood revealed that she was expecting her first child. However, a year after the birth of their daughter Sy'rai Iman Smith on June 16, 2002—an event tracked by the four-part MTV reality series Brandy: Special Delivery—Norwood and Smith officially announced their separation. It was not until 2004, that Smith revealed that the pair was actually never legally wed but they just had portrayed the notion of nuptials to preserve Norwood's public image. Norwood later stated that she regarded her relationship with Smith as a "spiritual union and true commitment to each other."
By the following year, Norwood had entered a relationship with Orlando Magic guard Quentin Richardson. The couple soon got engaged in July 2004 but Brandy eventually ended her 15-month engagement with the NBA player in October 2005. As reported, Norwood had to get a tattoo of Richardson's face on her back transformed into a cat. In 2010, she briefly dated rapper Flo-Rida, though their mild flirtation didn't lead to a romance.
During late 2006, TMZ publicized the story that Brandy was involved in a car wreck on a Los Angeles freeway on December 30. Following the accident, a statement to TMZ from Brandy's publicist, Courtney Barnes, confirmed her involvement in the fatal crash: "Brandy was involved in a car accident on December 30, 2006 in Los Angeles where there was a fatality. She wishes to express her condolences publicly to the family of the deceased. Brandy asks that you respect the privacy of everyone involved at this time". The accident claimed the life of 38-year-old Awatef Aboudihaj—the driver of the Toyota that was struck by Brandy's Range Rover. Aboudihaj was taken to Holy Cross Hospital in critical condition, and she died the next day. The man driving directly behind Brandy at the time of the crash had an exclusive conversation with TMZ; he revealed that the singer repeatedly blamed herself at the scene of the accident. Norwood was not arrested and there was no evidence of use of drugs or alcohol. Norwood was not charged with vehicular manslaughter, due to "insufficient evidence". Law enforcement sources told TMZ that Brandy was driving her 2007 Range Rover at 65 mph and did not notice that cars in front of her had slowed considerably. Brandy's vehicle then slammed into the back of a 2005 Toyota, causing the Toyota to strike another vehicle before sliding sideways and impacting the center divider. As the Toyota came to a stop, it was hit by another vehicle. A well-placed source in the California Highway Patrol, however, told TMZ Aboudihaj actually struck the car in front of her and then slammed on her brakes before Brandy made contact. The sudden stop caused Brandy to hit Aboudihaj's car.L.A. County Coroner spokesman Captain Ed Winter told TMZ that toxicology reports show Aboudihaj had "slight traces" of marijuana in her system at the time of the crash. In December 2007, Brandy's attorney, Blair Berk, released the following statement exclusively to TMZ: "We are extremely pleased that after a more thorough and extensive investigation by authorities, the Los Angeles City Attorney has determined that Brandy Norwood should not be charged with any crime whatsoever relating to the accident back in 2006." She continued, "These past 12 months have posed an extraordinary hardship for Brandy and her family, who have been unfairly forced to live under a cloud of suspicion initially caused by the ill-advised and premature press release sent out by the California Highway Patrol accusing Brandy of wrongdoing before the police investigation was even finished. However, Brandy continues to be mindful that she was so fortunate to be uninjured in this accident and there was a life lost that should be remembered". Meanwhile, speaking in May 2009 to noted R&B writer Pete Lewis of 'Blues & Soul', Brandy herself stated: "The whole experience did completely change my life, and I can say that I think I'm a better person from it. You know, I still don't understand all of it and why all of it happened, but I definitely have a heart, and my heart goes out to everyone involved. I pray about it every single day, and that's all I can really say on the subject." In December 2008, while on the Tyra Banks show, Brandy revealed that due to how the media covered the accident she hadn't gone outside for three months.
There have been multiple lawsuits filed against Norwood. Aboudihaj's parents filed a $50 million wrongful death lawsuit against Norwood. The suit was filed on January 30, 2007. Lawyers for the family of the deceased claim, "Defendant Brandy Norwood was driving recklessly on the freeway when her car collided with Awatif Aboudihaj's car". The $50 million lawsuit seeks both compensatory and punitive damages. TMZ has obtained Brandy's response to the wrongful death suit filed against her. In the papers, filed May 23, Brandy says she "denies each and every allegation in the complaint and further denies that plaintiffs have been damaged in any sum or sums whatsoever." In addition, Brandy "alleges and asserts her Fifth Amendment privileges" and asks that the matter go to trial before a jury. The lawsuit was initially set to go to trial in April 2009. However, on November 13, 2009, TMZ reported that Norwood will not be going to a civil trial because she settled with Aboubihaj's parents. TMZ stated that the terms of the settlement are secret.
Another car that was involved in the accident was Donald Lite’s, who also filed a lawsuit against Norwood. Lite filed the lawsuit against Norwood, and the estate of the woman who died in the crash. Lite filed suit on December 8, 2008 claiming Norwood and Aboudihaj both failed to follow road regulations. Lite says their failure to keep a safe distance, mixed with their inability to travel at a safe speed, caused Brandy to rear-end Awatef, which sent Awatef's car smashing into his. Lite says he's suffered "serious and permanent injuries" and that he has incurred large hospital bills. He is suing for an undetermined amount. Norwood has denied all of Lite's allegations and wants the matter to be decided by a jury.
The other car that was involved in the accident was Mallory Ham's, who also filed a lawsuit against Norwood. Ham filed suit on May 25, 2007 claiming that Brandy "recklessly, wantonly, unlawfully, and maliciously" operated the car. According to the document, Ham, who says he was "severely injured" as a result of the multi-car accident, is demanding that the singer pay for unspecified medical bills, pain and suffering, legal costs and punitive damages. On July 14, 2009, it was announced that Ham settled with Norwood for an undisclosed amount.
Awatef Aboudihaj's husband, Marouane Hdidou, also filed a lawsuit against Norwood. The suit was filed on May 3, 2007. He claims that Brandy and another motorist named Mallory Ham were "recklessly and carelessly ... traveling too fast for conditions and "following too closely" on the 405 Freeway, which factored into the collision that killed his wife. Hdidou is suing for an undisclosed amount of financial relief to cover medical and funeral expenses, as well as legal costs and other damages. He also said that as a result of his wife's death, he has, "forever been deprived the support and maintenance, services, guidance, companionship, comfort, affection, solace, moral support, society, care, love, consortium and other benefits" from his wife. Hdidou has not yet settled with Norwood. He rejected a $1.2 million settlement offer in February 2009.
Aboudihaj's two children also filed a lawsuit against Norwood. The two children will receive $300,000 each, according to court documents filed in L.A. County Superior Court on June 2, 2009.
Marc Mysterio "Shout It Out" Breach of contract lawsuit
TMZ & Popeater reported that on August 23, 2010, Marc Mysterio filed a lawsuit against Brandy seeking up to $6,000,000 in damages. According to reports, Brandy had been paid $10,000 as a side artist fee to feature on Marc Mysterio's Debut Album's Lead Single, 'Shout It Out'. The invoice and an email from her manager Ryan Ramsey confirming receipt of the funds have been published by British Tabloid, Anorak. but then backed out of the deal and never returned the $10,000 to Mysterio.
The lawsuit is ongoing, and a subpeona was issued by the court ordering copies of videotapes of conversations between Marc Mysterio and Brandy which were recorded by VH1 for her Family Business Season 2 Reality Show. The single without Brandy has thus far reached number 2 on Mediabase's New Airplay Top 40 Chart for the week of October 3rd.