There are few singers as universally liked as Brandy. After getting starstruck by Whitney Houston's voice as a child, the songstress went on to achieve some immediate commercial success in 1994, with her self-titled debut album at the age of 15. The effort wasn't perfect, but it set a template: a mix of R&B and hip-hop that concentrated on the former, unlike the edgier New Jack Swing-era jams that were reaching the end of its heyday.
She grew into that aesthetic four years later with her sophomore effort, the multi-platinum 'Never Say Never.' The album became the highest-selling of Brandy's career, as well as one of the most commercially successful R&B records ever. The fiery 'The Boy Is Mine' duet with Monica and 'Have You Ever?' still sound fresh over 15 years later.
Brandy's flame didn't extinguish right after, though. After a short hiatus, she strode into the millennium with quality songs like her comeback hit, 'Full Moon,' and the underrated Kanye West-produced jam, 'Talk About Our Love.' Her achievements are impressive, but what's even more applause-worthy is how she's still in the orbit of pop relevancy after two decades in the game.
The 35-year-old still isn't done creating music. After all, she has a storied life that sounds just as good when she sings about it. While we're waiting for her to release some new gems, let's talk about the 25 Facts You Probably Didn't Know About Brandy.
She was Kobe Bryant's prom date in 1996, long before he became the Black Mamba.
Before recording her debut LP, Brandy provided background vocals for a boy group named Immature, which featured a young Marques Houston.
The singer is Snoop Dogg's first cousin.
Kelly Rowland's debut album, 'Simply Deep,' features Brandy's writing credits on the song 'Love/Hate.'
Brandy briefly dated Mase during the 'Never Say Never' era.
Her first role in the entertainment business was starring in a sitcom called 'Thea.'
The Los Angeles native briefly lost her voice the day she was set to perform at VH1's 'Divas Live '99, which featured Chaka Khan, Whitney Houston and Mary J. Blige.
She turned down a chance to star in 'Set It Off' alongside Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett Smith,
Whitney Houston was originally set to play the part of Cinderella in the 1997 TV movie. She asked Brandy to take the role, to which she only agreed upon if Houston played her fairy godmother.
Although 'Never Say Never' is her highest-selling album, Brandy says 'Afrodisiac' is her favorite.
She is one of the last people to see Whitney Houston, her idol, alive.
Brandy was a part of some notable television firsts. 'Thea' is the first television show to be named after and star a black female comedienne. Brandy is also the first African-American to play Cinderella on television.
While most women get killed off in horror flicks, her character in the scary movie 'I Still Know What You Did Last Summer' lives until the very end.
Sonja Norwood, her mother, quit her job at H&R Block to manage her daughter and son Ray J.
She briefly attended Pepperdine University, but didn't complete her studies because of her busy schedule.
Michael Jackson provided background vocals for her song 'It's Not Worth It' off her 'Full Moon' album.
Despite its popularity, 'Moesha,' the sitcom Brandy starred in for five years, was canceled in 2001, and ended with one of the more notorious unsolved cliffhangers in sitcom history. Her character's brother gets kidnapped and she faints. That storyline was supposed to get resolved in the following season.
Personal and career stress were the leading factors in her experiencing a nervous breakdown in November 1999.
'Best Friend,' the third single off Brandy's self-titled debut, was dedicated to her brother Ray J.
'I Wanna Be Down' was extraordinarily successf ul for her first single. It landed at No. 6on the Billboard Hot 100, topped the Hot R&B Singles Chart for four weeks and received a hip-hop remix from Queen Latifah, MC Lyte and Yo-Yo -- all at the age of 15.
Brandy's daughter's name, Sy'rai, means "princess" in Hebrew.
She's an honorary member of the sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha.
Perhaps the least known Brandy album is 'A Family Business,' which was a 2011 compilation that stemmed from the family reality series, 'Brandy and Ray J: A Family Business .' The album failed to chart.
Brandy was engaged to former NBA star Quentin Richardson in 2005.
'The Boy Is Mine' is unquestionably Brandy's most famous song, but she only performed it once on television with Monica at the MTV Video Music Awards in 1998. The duos only other collaboration is 2012's 'It All Belongs to Me.'