R&B superstar Brandy has partnered with Motown Records with plans to release a new album soon, the company tells Billboard.
“I’ve always wanted to work with Ethiopia [Habtemariam, Motown’s CEO and chairwoman],” says Brandy. “I’ve just always thought that she was just a bad-ass Black woman who loves music, knows music, and I saw her work her way up because she’s so talented. So when I heard that she was who she is now at Motown, I was like, ‘If I ever were to go back to a major label, I would want to work with Ethiopia.’ And it happened.”
Adds Habtemariam in a statement: “Brandy is one of the most prolific voices in the history of music. Her contribution to R&B continues to influence newcomers and contemporaries around the world. We are ecstatic to welcome Brandy to the Motown family and eager to join her in making musical history.”
With the news on Friday (June 24), Brandy also released a performance of her song “Rather Be” from her last album, B7, for COLORS SHOW — a stylistic exclusive performance and content series by Mowtown and COLORSxSTUDIOS celebrating Black Music Month. Previous performers in the series include Quavo and TakeOff of Migos, Elhae and Ne-Yo, among others, all of whom are Motown signings.
Brandy notes she thrilled she is to be a part of “the legacy of Motown.” She says, “I used to always wonder when I would watch Diana Ross, Michael Jackson and all of the amazing Motown artists, ‘Would I ever be able to make it in that time? What would I have sounded like on Motown?’ I would have loved to have that Motown sound. And then, years later, I get this opportunity to do this unbelievable partnership with them. And it’s Ethiopia. And it’s Motown. And I’m like, ‘Wow, this is the universe! I’m going with this! I have to go with this.’ They’ve just been so supportive of me.”
The Grammy-winning hitmaker, 43, has maneuvered through the label system many times throughout her career. Brandy initially signed to Atlantic Records in 1993, where she released her first four albums — 1994’s Brandy, 1998’s Never Say Never, 2002’s Full Moon and 2004’s Afrodisiac — which all peaked in the top 10 of Billboard‘s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. Then she briefly signed to Epic Records in 2008 to release Human that same year. Three years later, she inked a joint deal with RCA Records and Breyon Prescott‘s Chameleon Entertainment, which she sued in 2016 after alleging Chameleon did not allow her to record or release new music. They reached a settlement in 2017.
Brandy’s last full-length studio album, B7, was released in 2020 under her own imprint, Brand Nu, and distributed through eOne. The album landed at No. 1 on Billboard‘s Independent Albums chart, her debut on the tally. Now, she’s prepping her eighth studio album and first under Motown, which she says is coming soon.
“I can’t wait to get started on the music because it’s going to be so refreshing, so different. And I’m just looking forward to singing and listening and learning and growing all over again. I feel like I’m reborn,” Brandy says. “I feel like I have a whole new energy, a whole new spark, to keep going, to keep moving, and to keep doing what I love to do, which is sing, rap, act and dance.”
Brandy is managed by Ryan Ramsey of SALXCO.