I will wrap up now but, if you have not heard B7 and wonderful songs like Borderline, then do so now and discover an iconic artist who…, PHOTO CREDIT: Maarten de Boer/Getty Images Portrait/Getty, https://open.spotify.com/artist/05oH07COxkXKIMt6mIPRee?autoplay=true&v=A, https://www.youtube.com/user/ForeverBrandy, FEATURE: Not a Bad Way to Start! Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Brandy attacks the track with pitch perfect harmonies and her legendary breath control as she scats all over the track like Ella Fitzgerald. What were the actions that you had to take in your life, besides getting out of that bad label contract, to feel that freedom on a day-to-day basis? Ultimately the singing: Brandy is the vocal bible and at the end of the day I saw her perform ‘When You Touch Me‘ live for the first time in the history books in London UK in 2013. But then I thought, "But this is the time where people need to feel like they have something to just escape and just help them heal." The singer, who last appeared at … The powerful part of this track is the lullaby element to the melody. I’d like to think that a lot of the new generation sang at church, but I think it is rare. It does seem insane that an artist takes a few years away and they are either forgotten about or people wonder whether their career has ended. I keep referencing the video, but it is a very powerful film, and it will stay in the memory for a while – kudos to director Derek Blanks and his team for creating a video where, for the most part, we just see Brandy on the screen (which gives it a very personal and, at times, claustrophobic feel). For me, I approached this album like this is my last project. “I hadn't heard anything else like it”. I will move on now, as I am keen to assess my favourite song from B7. When she was four, her family moved to LA. I’m glad Brandy is getting her flowers. Having previously had her experiences distilled into other people’s words, she is now credited as a co-writer on every song, often alongside her early mentor LaShawn Daniels, who helped turn those burning ambitions into reality. Brandy is a real black woman from the West-Coast of the USA and doesn’t play when it comes to her heart! It appears that this man is on her mind all of the time and, whilst she is feeling crazy and losing her mind a bit (again, that is perfectly reflected in the video), she knows that he really belongs with her – “You can feel it, you can't help it, baby/I'll give you this heart of mine”. There are so many aspects to the song as to why it is another Brandy CLASSIC! The start shows Brandy being led into a padded cell by two members of staff at a psychiatric ward, and that cuts to images of Brandy alone on stage as she looks up with a tear in her eye. [Brandy played Roxie Hart in Chicago during several stints between 2015 and 2017] I had never felt so inspired the way I felt when I was on Broadway, I felt so free every night when I was performing. Instead, Brandy knows that her personal life is not as ideal and settled as it could be, so she provides some form of explanation in the fourth verse: “Maybe in another lifetime (Right place)/Caught me at the wrong time (Wrong time)/In the end, I'm the only one/Gon' get torn apart (Oh)”. This track is light and dark at the same time. Arnold, some of the real greats sang at church and things grew from there. Long may it continue! The album established her smooth sound, and it afforded Brandy a way into film and T.V. Whilst Never Say Never’s success cannot be defined by a single factor, it seemed that the discovery of Rodney Jenkins was a real boost. This article discusses the success of Never Say Never, and how Rodney Jenkins helped expand and strengthen Brandy’s music: “Never Say Never was completed in the spring of 1998 and ready for a June 9 release. Brandy allowed herself to explore her craft without the goal of creating a "pop hit" and the album benefits from it greatly. As I have said many times, women have been leading and dominating the scene! The Best Debut Albums of 2020 (So Far), FEATURE: You Can’t Always Get What You Want: Wait for the Green Light: Politicians and the Unauthorised Use of Artists’ Songs. B7 is full of gems and great Brandy songs and, whilst I would urge people to listen to the whole album, I wanted to focus on Borderline, not only because of its excellent video, but I feel it is Brandy at her most revealing, honest and brilliant. When interviewed by Cragg Michael in The Guardian Newspaper Brandy opened up about working with Daniels on her lasted project before his death in September 2019; “it’s a little scary because I had to finish it without him […] I just wonder: would he be proud of what I was able to put together?” (Brandy. I do like the unconventional nature of the video, and how it helps bring the song to life in a way many people might not have considered! It is interesting to speculate, and I think the simple-yet-effecting words that end the song offer some form of resolution: “We can't cross the line/Borderline/Schizo this time/We can't cross the line/Borderline”. It's cohesive and perhaps the truest reflection of her artistry we've gotten in a while. In 2006, she was involved in a fatal road accident (a topic very much off the table during our interview) that forced her to quit as a judge on America’s Got Talent. When asked by The Huffington Post’s Taryn Finley about the timing of her album release during the COVID19 pandemic Brandy confidently responded; “Well, I felt like I’m in a great place in my music. I’m thankful for the life that I’ve had and for the things I’ve been able to experience”. ‘Borderline‘ is the groundbreaking second single from Brandy’s seventh studio album ‘B7‘. BORDERLINE is that kind of song that is vintage Brandy: love, relationships, emotions---all over a great beat. “Borderline” is a warning to would-be playas and their treatment of women. Flick through the pages and click on the headings for more info! I didn't know how big it was gonna be; I had no idea that it would be No. From there, I started to go into the studio again and record. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. (Yeah)/Would you think about me?/I know there's something wrong with you” leads me to think that there was this relationship that has gone wrong, or there is a division between the two. Brandy Preps ‘Borderline’ Ahead of ‘b7’ Album Release Jul 20, 2020 Multi- platinum, Grammy Award-winning R&B singer/songwriter and actress Brandy, has come roaring back with a new fearless and inspiring attitude. I want to stay true to that because you never know who’s watching. How would I want to express myself? A playfully confrontational duet with fellow R&B upstart Monica, it spent 13 weeks at No 1 in the US, finishing as the year’s best-selling single. The repeat factor for this track is 100% as each time you hear something new about the vocals or production. Brandy sings how she is all alone and, whilst Borderline does not offer a catchy chorus or big hook, I think its consistency and directness is much more powerful. Grammy Award-winner Brandy delivered an emotional performance of her new album B7 for the 2020 Soul Train Awards show on Sunday (Nov. 29). ( Log Out /  They don’t come around like that every day. 'B7' Review: Brandy cements herself as R&B royalty with first album in 8 years and 'Borderline' video Brandy delivers flawless vocals, smooth vibes and effortless storytelling on comeback release and proves her crown is hers alone For the first time in decades it feels as if Brandy is speaking her mind. From the start of the track Brandy’s ad-libs hit you in the face with a haunting sadness that sounds like deja vu of a feeling you have felt before! The singer has been open about her battle with depression, following turmoil in her professional and personal life and a string of setbacks and missed opportunities. At such a competitive and busy time for music, taking a while between albums can be risky. A year later, now one of the biggest pop stars in the world, Brandy was given her own line of Barbie dolls. There was a sound that was created 20 years ago with Brandy’s vocals and Rodney’s production that is still unmatched. “People would never guess the dark space that I was in about a year ago and how long I was sad and depressed. B7 is her first studio album since 2012's Two Eleven.The album features lead single "Baby Mama" featuring Chance the Rapper, and "Borderline".Norwood's Grammy-nominated collaboration with Canadian singer-songwriter Daniel … Her second album, 1998’s Never Say Never, sold 16m copies worldwide, thanks in part to its lead single The Boy Is Mine. Cutting in from different angles and speeding the film up and stopping it, we get this real sense of motion and a racing mind! Tonight (August 31), the singers faced off in a hit-for-hit battle. She uses a vocal technique which almost mimics an auto-tuned vocal but is totally naturally performed. This year has been an incredibly strong and varied one, despite the fact it has been a very challenging time, some truly wonderful albums have been released! Brandy admitted she renewed her faith in God and focused on daughter Sy’rai, who is about to turn 14 and regularly features singing on her mother’s social media. B7 is the seventh studio album by American singer Brandy Norwood.It was released on July 31, 2020, through her own label, Brand Nu, Inc and eOne Music. I put everything I could into this project. TRACK REVIEW: Run the Jewels (ft. Mavis Staples & Josh Homme) - pulling the pin I really love her music and her last album, 2012’s Two Eleven, was a success. Album Review: Brandy, B7. Brandy has returned to us after an eight-year wait and she's coming with something different on her new album B7. The vocal bible has blessed us again, Brandy Norwood is back and she wrote this song and every song on her new album, B7. Certainly, an artist cannot release albums at their own speed, and the nature and sound of their music might not be what they wanted. (H.E.R., Mariah Carey), and the late LaShawn Daniels, the Grammy-winning producer and "Boy is Mine" co-writer who died last September in a car crash. “A black Barbie with braids and little baby hairs coming out,” she smiles. She can take her time with it, she can be known a little bit right now and then grow in privacy and then come out a little bit later. For Brandy, assuming assertion and taking her music where it needs to go was a big consideration when making this return. She is in a different position to many of her peers, but 2012 was when her last album arrived, so many people have been asking whether she has disappeared, or her career has ended. Brandy is not just; the first African-American Cinderella, Moesha, Teenaged Covergirl, Black Barbie or a Middle-Class Christian. The discussion about gaps between albums is one that frequently comes up. From Haim and Phoebe Bridgers to Fiona Apple, Brandy, Waxahatchee, Dua Lipa and Jessie Ware – and so many others -, it is the album from women that has made the biggest impact, I feel. Brandy and Monica were the latest stars to challenge each other on Verzuz. “I’m scared of that. The aforementioned article from The Guardian documents the success of Never Say Never, and how Brandy navigated some difficult years that followed: “For a period in the late 90s and early 00s it felt as if Brandy, AKA the fan-ordained “vocal Bible”, was being fast-tracked for Houston-level success. I didn’t know. I think rushing albums and releasing material that is not to her best could have been damaging. It was so freeing for me, because I did get a chance to really dig in and write from my heart of hearts. The song’s title, I feel, has more than one meaning. To the death Daniels made hits and I’m sure he would be very proud of Brandy! In a review for the album, Soul Bounce called "Borderline" a "standout", adding that the track would "definitely [be] going to get many repeat spins." I knew that it was a special record before I got on it, before Monica got on it. Though she only co-wrote a few songs on the album, I think her personality shines through, and that record is a lot more than a template for her voice. The blend between the lead vocal, backgrounds and the beat is iconic. Towards the last section of ‘Borderline’ Brandy hits a haunting raspy high note using her perfect pitch control. It is good that, on her seventh album, Brandy is looking ahead and has found fresh spark. 1, a feat that only eight songs have ever accomplished, including “The Boy Is Mine.” Thinking back, did you have any idea how big of a hit it would become? Brandy’s daughter, Sy'rai Iman Smith, is following in her mother’s footsteps, and she appears on a track from B7, High Heels. Her first album came out when she was a teenager and, at forty-one, Brandy is still a young woman! Though Brandy’s voice remains a beautiful, resonant instrument, her songwriting here is so often functional and humdrum, and her performances rarely sparkle with personality or feeling. I don’t ever want to get to a point where I’m doing music for the wrong reasons”. When would you say that the process for this album started for you? ‘B7’ is a triumph. Brandy, Darkchild, Foster and so many others had no idea that this album would go on to be the singer’s best-selling album to date. Let's not get started with the lack of diversity within staff that is 100% contributing to customers feeling the blatant judgement / borderline racism.. Brandy has now reached a level in her career where her music is simply a tool for her to spread love, peace, relatability, and healing to others. This is my first time … Her entire Pandora set was fire! I’m also able to protect my daughter. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. That last question-and-answer is quite striking! It is not the case that women from a certain genre have been leading the charge: artists from various corners have added so much brilliance. Some of Camper’s stand-out tracks include; Krysiuk is new on the music scene and co-wrote with Ariana Grande on the number 1 pop smash ‘7 Rings’ (2019). Brandy Norwood made her triumphant return to the Billboard Music Awards stage on Wednesday for a triple performance of songs new and old. She can wait until she’s in her mid-twenties. 2020 has been a good year for her. The last article I want to quote from is from The Guardian. Tragically, Daniels died last September during the making of the album. Love that Brandy has given us new music at a time where people are looking for something that can make them feel good. In several interviews Brandy explained her creative process. Borderline: The best song on the album and a smart choice for second single, even though sadly it won't chart well due to R&B of this nature not being popular with the mass market. A master of the form, it’s a joy to have Brandy back in our lives. “I just wonder: would he be proud of what I was able to put together?” She takes a breath. When chatting with Rolling Stone, Brandy talked about the process of putting her album together: “This is the longest between two albums for you in your career. Maybe the ‘borderline’ refers to the two lovers being close to chaos and stability; teetering between the two, and maybe it is referencing to the two becoming too involved, and the fact that there will be problems if they do. I was a little hesitant with putting out music in this time because, of course, you want to speak to the times. Brandy co-wrote every one of the fifteen tracks on B7, and I think that is a reason why the album has resonated with so many people. I have talked a lot about Brandy and her impact. I do worry about the sort of pressure artists face to keep putting out material, and that is true of Brandy. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Fans worldwide will remember being satisfied after watching ‘Borderline‘ for the first time. In this interview with The Guardian from this year, she discussed her bond with the church: “Brandy Norwood was always destined to be a singer. Borderline is a terrific song that packs a powerful video. I was balancing television and studio time. She’s set to release her brand new highly anticipated album “ … But then when the song was written on top of it, and then ... when it all came together, I was like, "OK, this is different." I put that on everything! A sound that gave us Never Say Never, a sound that birthed the Vocal Bible. If an artist self-pens and produces material, I guess they can mould and progress their own sound but, in the case of so many R&B and Pop artists, they have teams behind them that help define the sound of an album. If artists hurry and put out albums every year, they can rush and create something quite disposable and untrue to them! Actually, I want to bring in an interview from Advocate as it discussed Brandy’s role in supporting the L.G.B.T.Q.I.A.+ community…but she was also asked about her legacy: “These days, Brandy is well aware of her legacy and understands the importance of where it carried this generation’s young artists. After an eight-year hiatus, Brandy has returned to music with her seventh album “B7,” which released July 31 via her record label Brand Nu and … In the meantime, go buy or stream B7, as it is one of the year’s best albums and, as I said, women are dominating with so much variety and strength. I believe in it, and I just felt like this was the time.” Brandy (HuffPost/Taryn Finley/2020). It would appear that the song is going to be quite heavy and something that reveals her scars, but it less about personal tragedy and depression and more to do with the perils and unpredictable nature of relationships. But I did know that it was a special record. Although one cannot experience the same bounce and lightness in vocal terms as on hits like The Boy Is Mine, this more mature and different-sounding Brandy is wonderful – and, to be fair, there are so many different moods on B7, that we get an essence of who she is now, in addition to a nod to her past days (as I mentioned earlier on). This song is so easy on the ear and has a majesty to it. Its opulent sound – fluttering harps, cascading backing vocals, elasticated bass – rewired the genre, with its then-unknown co-producer Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins and co-writer LaShawn Daniels going on to craft era-defining hits for the likes of Destiny’s Child, Jennifer Lopez and Houston herself. Brandy – Borderline (Review) ‘ Borderline ‘ is the groundbreaking second single from Brandy’s seventh studio album ‘ B7 ‘. As a young child she would accompany her dad, a gospel vocalist and choir director, to their local church in Mississippi. Brandy’s songs hit different and sound fresh too. On top of all of this, the pair were so young, with Brandy being 19, and Darkchild 20 when the album was released. The third verse, again, takes us into Brandy’s psyche and offers reason as to why she has found herself in a strange and lonelier space “I'm so dangerous, baby/I need you to see/Believe what you see/Feel what I feel/And my feelings don't die/It's why I cry (Cry)”. Though the music scene is different to the one Brandy entered in the 1990s, there are definite hazards to navigate. And I think music is the best way to feel that. A talent show regular, her demo CD eventually found its way to Atlantic; when the label signed her, Brandy’s mum became her manager”. I always want to be mindful”. Though it is great that Brandy has a daughter with a flair for music, there comes with that a sense of protection: a need to make sure that she does not fall into the same traps as she did. It just took me 10 years to look back at her growth. Looking at the video, and it is clear that the scenes of torment and psychological distress are more a metaphor; the padded cell is Brandy feeling trapped, misunderstood, and castigated, whilst her on the stage is a feeling of isolation and trying to connect. The track was co-written by Brandy and Darhyl “ DJ ” Camper, Kimberly “ Kaydence ” Krysiuk and Al Sherrod Lambert. In conceptualizing and executing B7, Brandy shows us that time, honesty and strength are the keys to becoming your most authentic self. I was able to really get a lot of things off of my chest, really use music as a way to escape and heal. That said, the chorus does offer some honest and insight that may explain why this current relationship is not working out as harmoniously as it should: “Don't wanna be schizo this time (Oh)Never ever cheat, never lie to meI'm the most jealous girl (Girl)”. There are various reasons why it has been a while since her last record but, with B7, we get some classic on her seventh album! Before I look at a few different aspects of Brandy and her music, I want to nod to one of my favourite songs of the 1990s: The Boy Is Mine. Looking at the video, and we get fast-forward scenes of Brandy in a cell and, whilst it is quite unsettling, there is something quite stirring and striking. She has enjoyed major success, and there have been some years where things have been a little less stable. "It’s not that I had no creative control before but I was inspired to be more hands-on with this project because I was approaching it as if it could be my last time making music.” Brandy co-wrote and -produced all but one of the new project’s 15 songs, and worked with an impressive group of collaborators, including Kim “Kaydence” Krysiuk, songwriter/producer Darhyl Camper Jr. Camper is a young talent from New Jersey, best known for his collaborations with artists including; Mariah, Mary J Blige & Keyshia Cole. Brandy Norwood’s 1994 album, Brandy, was a great introduction to a wonderful vocalist. So that's what made me feel better about releasing [the album]. This article from Entertainment Weekly talks of Brandy putting out B7 on her own label: “B7, meanwhile, marks Brandy’s first independent release on her own Brand Nu Entertainment/eOne label (2012’s Two Eleven was released by RCA). She is an incredible singer and puts so much emotion into the song. I feel like it started about three years ago. That said, many people have been wondering about Brandy and what started the process for B7. It showed in my physical frame and in my eyes,” Brandy said in 2014”. In the case of many singers, they learned about singing and a different way of performance from the church. If R&B, in recent years, has seen men make big strides, 2020 is the year where women have regained assertion and power. This song is a nice way to remember his legacy and impact on the music industry. Brandy is still dat girl from LA the home of her 1st cousin Snoop Dogg and the drama filled television show ‘Love & Hip-Hop LA‘ starring her famous brother Ray J. It’s easy for people to forget that Brandy has real life issues like normal women because her pop persona is so well known. Music is the language that we all speak. And then when Monica put her stamp on it, you just heard the contrast between her and I. I knew that it was gonna be something special, but I had no idea it was going to do what it did. I do not want to dwell on the rough years, but the fact that Brandy has just released one of her best albums and is still hugely important shows her incredible spirit and resilience! The switch from verse to chorus is effortless. Today, as in years past, there is this sense of expectation from fans and record labels. ( Log Out /  While in many ways B7, released via her own label, is classic Brandy, off-kilter production anchored by a voice still deep enough to swim in, it also feels like a fresh start. I think a lot of artists face struggles and pressures, and after such a blockbuster album like Never Say Never, I can only imagine what life was like for her. Brandy is in complete head voice for verse one. Labels, especially big labels, help get the music out there, but some of the autonomy and flexibility artists enjoy can be stripped. The 2012 follow up, Two Eleven, fared even worse. “Truly unbelievable.”. We need to feel community, we need to feel togetherness, we need to feel love right now. She doesn’t have to come out at 18. “Just musically, production-wise and the writing, it was really good,” Badu told ET in 2016. As this article highlights, Brandy faced a low point and battled depression and disorientation: “Despite working with everyone from Frank Ocean to Bruno Mars, by 2008 Brandy’s music career was flagging — even she recognised writer/producer Rodney Jerkins didn’t give her his best work on the project. Conversely, it is impressive that she remains composed and does not succumb to the tension that is clearly there! This isn't the same ol' Brandy. “Watching what people’s voices did to audiences, I wanted to see if my voice could do a little of that,” she recalls. In terms of sounds, one can notice a definite shift from Brandy’s earlier work to now, not just in terms of the production but her voice. To go in a slightly different direction, and it is amazing to consider where great singers started out; what was the root of their soulfulness and ability. There is little in the way of real anger and blame through the song. Before I wrap up, I want to  return to the article/interview from Entertainment Weekly. Brandy spoke with them last month and, whilst she discussed how great it would be to collaborate with Enya (a dream collaboration for her), she also highlighted how music has acted like therapy and a source of guidance: “For now, Enya can wait. A special behind the scenes video was released to show how much work went into producing the visuals for the video. But then also, I had to grow up in front of the public. It is great to have Brandy back and, with her own label and a sense of personal control, I can imagine that future albums will come fairly frequently. “He knew how to bring out the best in me. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. She's new, improved and only getting better with time. Brandy recorded her 7th album via her OWN record label ‘Brand Nu Inc‘ and Capital Records. “Music is my therapy,” she nods, almost to herself. Some artists might feel slightly regretful being linked to just the one song or people talking about it so much but, for Brandy, it gave her some fresh exposure and took her music to new levels. I have been listening a lot to music from the ‘90s, and there was something about the time that was electric and hugely inspiring! 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