R&B singer/pop star Brandy jumped into the entertainment spotlight in the '90s as both a young songstress and actress.
Songs such as "I Wanna Be Down," and "Baby" from her debut album hit high on the charts in the mid-'90s, and her duet with singer Monica on "The Boy is Mine" was a catchy hit on the pop charts. She charmed family television audiences on the sitcom "Moesha" and later starred in a popular remake of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella" among other films and television appearances.
Born Brandy Norwood in Mississippi, and raised in California, Brandy has successfully juggled the roles of singer and actress through the years. For the last decade, however, her music has taken a backseat to other projects. But last fall, Brandy's release of her latest album "Two Eleven" has fans and the industry welcoming her back into the musical spotlight.
Region fans will get the chance to enjoy the new music as well as familiar tunes when Brandy brings her show to The Venue at Hammond's Horseshoe Casino on Saturday.
"There's a lot of love for me there so I'm actually very excited about it," said Brandy, during a phone interview last week. "It's been awhile since I've performed in that area. It's always great to perform in places you haven't performed in a long time because you can feel that love and build a connection and it kind of reminds you that you need to come back more often."
Brandy's show at The Venue is her first major concert of the year and she said she's slowly adding more dates.
In concert, Brandy said fans will hear "a lot of the baby Brandy and the new Brandy."
The singer said she's overjoyed about the response to "Two Eleven," which features the chart topper "Put it Down" with singer Chris Brown.
'It's the feeling of why I do what I do. I feel embraced. When people are receiving what you're giving, it just takes it to another level. And for me to have music out there I'm really connected to, that's a great feeling," Brandy said.
She said she worked really hard on "Two Eleven," an album whose title evokes her birthday, having been born on Feb. 11.
"The fans always let me know what they feel whether it's through Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. I care about what they think. It's great to have them on board and to have an album they can be proud of. That's one of the things I wanted to do is give them something they've been waiting for from me," Brandy said.
Through "Two Eleven," Brandy also pays homage to the late Whitney Houston, who died on Feb. 11 and was a mentor of hers.
"I can't really put into words what it really truly means. I don't think there are enough words in the English vocabulary for what she means to me. I just feel like she was the possibility, she was the vision that I related to. I just felt like watching her growing up, I felt like my dreams could come true and it was possible. She just touched me in a way that no artist has ever touched me. I just wanted to do that with my voice with people and I wanted to share the way she shared with me. Just before she passed, I promised her that I would take care of my responsibilities in terms of being the best artist that I can be and that I would be true to myself. So for her to pass on my birthday, it's a bond and a rebirth for me. And it's me continuing her legacy and continuing on," Brandy said.
In addition to the music, Brandy said she wants to continue to get involved in more acting projects. But, she said, she has no plans to do another reality show such as the one she did with her family titled "Brandy and Ray J.: A Family Business."
"I've been rediscovering that I love acting. I love comedy and sitcoms and I'd love to get more into that."
Up next for Brandy in the acting realm is the new season of BET's "The Game," beginning in March. She also stars in Tyler Perry's film "Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor," due out in March.