This year on UrbanBridgez.com we are starting an ongoing series entitled “R&B Bridgez.”
R&B Bridgez will spotlight artists, albums and projects that we feel made a major impact on R&B Music.
We couldn’t think of a better release to start with, than Brandy‘s “Full Moon.”
Earlier this month the album celebrated it’s 14th year anniversary, as it was released on March 5th, 2002. This release is very personal to us as a brand, as it was the first project Aries of Urban Bridgez Group worked with Brandy‘s team throughout the project. We were T M H Entertainment then, until we folded that & started Urban Bridgez Group.
This year we’re celebrating the 10th year anniversary of UrbanBridgez.com #UB10
“I’ve focused on getting to know who I am inside. I took a break to reflect on myself as a person and I’ve grown a lot. There was a side of me that I’ve known and people close to me have known, which was different from the public image of who I was.”
– Brandy (Full Moon)
Brandy – “Full Moon”
Release date: March 5, 2002
Record label: Atlantic
Production by: Rodney Jerkins, LaShawn Daniels, Big Bert, Stuart Brawley, Warryn Campbell, Mike City, Keith Crouch, Jason Derlatka, Fred Jerkins III, Kamillion
“He Is” (Pop Radio Remix)
“Full Moon” Publicity Pics
“I don’t think that you really understand how influential you are to singers, I don’t think you really get it!” – India.Arie to Brandy
When “Full Moon” dropped it made a triumphant #1 debut on Billboard’s “Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums” chart, marking Brandy‘s first time at the top of the magazine’s urban chart! The album also premiered at #2 with-a-bullet on the Billboard 200, her highest-ever first-week position on the chart. As a result, “Full Moon” earned dual “Hot Shot Debut” crowns. In addition, the album a was huge international success, quickly achieving gold certification in the United Kingdom, Canada and Japan.
Brandy scored her 7th Top 10 Pop hit and her 9th Top 10 R&B single with “What About Us” on Billboards Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart. The song premiered on AOL: ‘First Listen’. The exclusive global premiere was streamed 750,000 times in the first day. The song was ultimately heard 1.15 million times in only a week, setting a record breaking new precedent in online streams.
“Full Moon” the single reached the top 20 of Billboards Pop and R&B charts. “He Is” was released as the third single but failed to chart outside of #86 on Billboards R&B charts. Brandy was close to delivering her daughter Sy’Rai during the period of that single and a video was never shot.
Brandy in recent years spoke to Complex about the release of “Full Moon” saying “There was no pressure at all. I just know it took me a minute to find out what I wanted to do, because Never Say Never was a hard act to follow. People responded to that album well; I actually loved that album, as well. I just wanted my work to be just as good, and I wanted it to be up a notched.”
“I was comfortable. I was in a zone with a team that I’d did Never Say Never with, from LaShana Daniels, to Rodney Jerkins to Fred Jerkins. We were all there, and it was interesting because Rodney was doing Michael Jackson [Invincible] at the time and we were all in the same place. I didn’t get a chance to see Michael a lot, but a lot of the energy he was giving Michael, he shared it with me. I felt comfortable. We were in Miami and it was definitely a step up from Never Say Never. I’d say [Full Moon] is my favorite album that I’d ever done.”
We spoke to Brandy about the release of “Full Moon” at the time and she told us “the album, is based on my experiences over the past three years. Falling in love, falling out of love, being hurt and then finding someone really special.”
UrbanBridgez.com: Everybody knows you have the craziest vocal runs and that beautiful texture in your voice that has inspired so many vocalists. How do you come up with those runs? What’s your process in recording?
Brandy: I just hear crazy things in my head and just go with it. I’ve been hearing different melodies and different things in my head since I was a kid and my dad used to have this 4-track and I would just always record on it and put it down. So I started very young doing that and I do the same thing in the studio to this day. I just do it and even if I mess up. It’s interesting because even when I mess up in the studio, that’s when something good is born. I always mess up in the studio (laughs).
UrbanBridgez.com: What are Brandy’s favorite Brandy songs? Like top 4 or 5?
Brandy: Top 4 or 5? Hmm, I gotta get these answers together (laughs) like… I don’t even know. Let me see! One of my favorite songs would have to be “Almost Doesn’t Count.” I love that song. I love “Nothing,” too, as well. I also love “When You Touch Me” off of the Full Moon album. And then some other songs that I’ve done that have never been released. Like a song called “Sweet Nothings” I love. It’s been all over the internet but it’s never been on an album. And I love a song called “Open” I did on the Osmosis Jones Soundtrack.
UrbanBridgez.com: What’s the most emotional song you’ve ever recorded?
Brandy: Most emotional, oh my god I got so many emotional songs. My whole life, before I even knew what love was. I would have to say one of the most emotional songs I’ve ever done is called Freedom, it was very emotional for me because that was the time I was going through the whole accident experience. I was very sad and I didn’t know how to feel at that time. That song came to me through Frank Ocean and TK, his writing partner at the time. I just wanted to be free from the slander, I wanted to be free from blame, I wanted to just be happy again. Apart of me at that time didn’t even feel like I deserved to be or whatever because I was apart of something that was so tragic. It was a crazy time, that was one of the songs I was able to go in the studio and really release. Freedom means so many things, I know in the song the lyrics describe it to be freedom in terms of just being free. But it meant alot of different freedoms for me at that time. But I sang my heart out on so many songs, Never-SAY-Never was about a breakup. So that whole album was just…but Freedom is a very special song, for a very interesting growing time for me.
This is Brandy 3.0, you might say, the newly music-focused adult Brandy, sleek and streamlined and ready to take on all comers with a dazzling new CD. “FULL MOON” is both a declaration of independence and a full-circle revelation of a woman who once emerged a full-fledged star but is now ready to be recognized as a spiritually and emotionally developed woman.
“Full Moon” single-handedly changed the vocal game. “It has been the template for vocal choices and background vocal arrangements [for years].” – B. Slade
It’s been three years of real growth since the release of Brandy’s “NEVER SAY NEVER,” and Brandy is ready to return to the spotlight, albeit, with a new focus and drive. Says the superstar, “In the past three years, I’ve focused on getting to know who I am inside. I took a break to reflect on myself as a person and I’ve grown a lot. There was a side of me that I’ve known and people close to me have known, which was different from the public image of who I was.”
In the years between her last record and this new release, it was important for Brandy to reconcile those sides of her. “A part of yourself is taken from you in the public eye,” she says. “And that was one of my problems. I didn’t know who I was because so many people had this idea and image of me that wasn’t necessarily who I was. But I’ve experienced some things and I’ve learned some lessons, good and bad. I’m a woman now.”
So how does the little girl from McComb, Mississippi, who has spent the last eight years doing it all – selling tens of millions of records; starring in one of the highest-rated TV specials ever (Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella); starring on two sitcoms (Thea and Moesha); acting in movies; representing one of the biggest cosmetics companies in the world – find her way from girlhood to womanhood under the bright and shining glare of the pop culture spotlight?
She retreats, looking within herself to find the power and beauty of personal growth. She moves out of her parents house, buys her own, and, to quote one of her own hits, “sits up in her room” to figure out how to make the world work for her rather than feel like she’s working for the world. She chooses to be a fully-formed person, rather than just a fully-formed celebrity, ultimately choosing music as her main focus in life.
“I take a lot from what [Brandy] and Rodney did on the Full Moon album.” – Sean Garrett
It was a very reflective time, recalls the songstress, starting out with her decision to live on her own almost three years ago. “Moving out on my own was a big step for me because I’ve always been around my parents and protected by them. Moving out allowed me to make my own decisions and spend time by myself.
“I never liked to be by myself until I moved out of my parents’ house and started to spend more time with me. I started to appreciate myself and in the process, my whole attitude about life changed. I started reading New Age material and metaphysics, and I started to get into what life really has to offer me. I began to deal with my emotions differently. I realized that life is about your perceptions of things. You can always change how you feel based on how you look at things. When you change your perception you change your reality.”
This time was also marked by Brandy’s decision to become vegan, eating healthy to keep her body in spiritual sync with her emotional maturity. “It was all about hamburgers and french fries everyday for me,” she remembers. “And I was always getting sick.” Then she went to the opposite extreme. “I went on the extra thin thing and became dehydrated. Somewhere in there I realized that my body is my temple and this is where my soul has to reside and take care of myself. I realized that eating to live was better than living to eat.” With a laugh she recalls her initial dive into the vegan way. “I had a veggie burger,” she says. “And it didn’t taste any different! It’s all about the seasoning and how you make it.”
The seasoning indeed. A lesson Brandy took with her when she returned to the studio to record her new album, the process of which felt as spiritually right as her burgeoning feelings of self-discovery.
“This time around,” says Brandy, “it felt like I could really focus on music. Before I was doing a number of things and couldn’t feel the overwhelming feeling [of creating] because I was so busy and stretched, doing everything at the same time. I’m really excited about recording and promoting and meeting my fans and staying in touch. And that’s important because I love making music. Sometimes I think if I could just sing and be anonymous for a minute I’d love that. Of course you love the fame and all that, but that’s all extra. Being in the studio and working and creating? That’s the love of it. That’s the best part.”
And it sounds like it.
Working with such notable knob-turners as Warren Campbell (of Mary Mary and Dru Hill fame), Keith Crouch (who worked on Brandy’s debut record), Mike City (“It took him a while to understand my crazy ideas, but he is incredible. He produced me so well.”), and longtime Brandy collaborator Rodney Jerkins, Brandy found herself stretching farther than she had on any previous recording. “Me and Rodney? That’s just a match made in heaven,” she enthuses. “We’ve both changed a lot over the years. And we bumped heads a lot cause Rodney thinks he knows everything and I think I know everything, too. But he is one of my best friends and we have that chemistry. Besides, I think when people have strong opinions the best work comes out of that.”
“Full Moon” is the “bible” of 2000s contemporary R&B, it’s the “blueprint of how to do vocals.” – Luke James
Just listen to the single “What About Us?” and you can hear that chemistry dripping all over the track. This is forward-looking Brandy, raw and stylish and edgy, reaching for that new sound which is a hallmark of her chart-topping career. Says Brandy, “It took a while to get that sound we wanted because I didn’t want that sound that’s already saturated the industry. It’s important to me to be a trendsetter and change the game. It was a great feeling to see Rodney soar like that.”
The entire album soars – from the sonic razzle dazzle of Jerkins’ “It’s Not Worth It” (which defies copycats to come up with something as new and funky) and “I Thought” to the sensuous, multi-tracked Brandy balladry that makes Warren Campbell’s “He Is” destined to be a quiet-storm classic; from the title track’s throbbing melodicism to the lilting prettiness of “When You Touch Me” – mostly because Brandy wanted it that way. “These songs were selected based on my own personal experiences,” she says, “and those of friends, relatives and surroundings.”
As a result, “FULL MOON” is Brandy’s most personal album to date, a statement record from a young diva who is always on the rise, never content to rest on her past successes, even though, she reveals, she wasn’t always sure of her self when it came to recording music.
“Before, I didn’t really know who I was or what I liked to do or understand the love that I really had for music. I think on this album, you can tell through the vocals and creativity that it’s just different. It’s because I’m more into me now so I can bring me into the music.”
She’s 23 years old now, staking her claim on the musical world with a mature mixture of creativity, grace and fortitude. “I’m just really thankful now,” says Brandy. “I needed to find out who I was and what I wanted because I had a feeling that this album could be my biggest ever and I needed to be ready mentally and spiritually for what could happen with it.”
Why does she think it could be her biggest ever?
“Because I really put love into this one. It represents who I am and what I am and where I am. I wish I had a story to tell, like I have my own label and three artists about to come out or a movie about to drop or something like that. But that ain’t happenin’. I don’t have a label or a movie. It’s just me and the album I have to present. I’m in love with everything now.”
“I have to ask people sometimes like have you ever listened to a Brandy album? Put on ‘Full Moon,’ one of the best albums!” – Keke Palmer
That challenging period of growth – musically, emotionally – since “NEVER SAY NEVER,” has brought her to this fabulous state of being but that doesn’t mean she expects to stop growing and experimenting and developing.
It’s natural for her, so natural, in fact, it provided her with the perfect name for her album. “I’ve come full circle,” she says, “made a 360 degree change in my life and, rediscovered my love for music and hey, crazy things happen during a ‘FULL MOON.'”
UrbanBridgez.com: Some of your favorite artists and songs or albums?
Jacob Latimore: I’ve always been a person to listen to songs but never really the whole album. But I would say my favorite albums are Brandy’s Full Moon and Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
UrbanBridgez.com: For Black Music Month – What are your absolute top 3-5 favorite songs & or artists?
Lil Mo: It’s crazy but I’m going to tell you what puts me in a great mood. Justin Bieber’s acoustic album. When I say I rehearse to that boys voice. People think he’s cute, new kid on the block but people don’t know, that boy is anointed. He has the voice of an angel. I’ve seen his movie and heard his albums. I’ve never met him personally and I don’t know what they instilled in him but that kind of ethic doesn’t happen to everybody. And to come and to have favor over everybody, from women, to men just to everybody! People are so fickle and I’m pretty sure, just anybody that hates on him can just…kill ya self! That boy is just really anointed. So yeah, Justin Bieber’s album. I’m actually listening to because my husband did a recording the other week on a gospel artist, his name is Otis Barrels. Everybody who came were so humble and pure. He’s a gospel artist, his name isn’t buzzing yet. But mark my words, he is going to do big things! His song “Walk By Faith” is out now. Who else, that’s two…I like Jason Derulo, I listen to his whole first album, weird but I practice to him. Brandy’s “Full Moon” album, there isn’t a song on it you have to skip. But these are the ones I’m entrusting my ears with, to me ears and eyes are the windows to the soul for me. These are people who have my heart.
UrbanBridgez.com: I know you and Brandy are fans of each other, can we expect any future collaborations?
Keke Palmer: I would love to, but she would blow me out the water and I’ll let people know that immediately (laughs). Before we record the record, I’ll be saying she’s gonna blow me out the water but that’s okay (laughs). I just love, I love that voice! That voice, that’s how I know when people are good singers or talented or know music when they can appreciate Brandy. Some people don’t know about her, you know what I’m saying. Some just don’t know… You know! I have to ask people sometimes like have you ever listened to a Brandy album? Put on ‘Never-SAY-Never,’ Full Moon,’ one of the best albums! Wow, so I would absolutely love to do a record with her, something with her. She’s brilliant!
UrbanBridgez.com: In honor of Black Music Month, what are three to five of your absolute favorite R&B albums?
Emanny: Michael Jackson’s “Off The Wall”, Carl Thomas “Emotional”, Usher’s “Confessions”, Brandy’s “Full Moon” & Stevie Wonder’s “Songs In the Key Of Life.”
UrbanBridgez.com: Then there are singers like Brandy and Monica who came out of the ’90s and are still making records. What do you think of them?
Kelly Price: Oh my God! How can I forget? Brandy and Monica, whom I’ve both worked with. And I must say, Brandy is a voice that, to me, doesn’t gets enough recognition. I think people recognize her songs in a higher capacity than they recognize her. I would put her in the Top 5 Vocalists on my list. We don’t often get the chance to hear the magnitude of her vocal ability because her songs a lot of the times are sing-songy – the ones that people have caught on to and the ones that have gone to radio – but if she was just to stand flat-footed and sing, she’d take a whole lot of people out!
UrbanBridgez.com: What is your favorite Brandy song?
Kelly Price: Oh, God! *sings* It used to be that you couldn’t live without me, but now you think… “Love Wouldn’t Count Me Out.” And it wasn’t a single, but she sang the hell out of it.
UrbanBridgez.com: Us Brandy fans really want you guys to collaborate again, this time with an actual duet. Have you two discussed possibly working together again?
JOE: You know that girl is amazing. I always talk about Brandy, for some reason I just can’t seem to get a song with her. I’ll tell you, when we do it’s going to be magic. She has one of the most beautiful tones. I’m going to put her on the top of the list as one of the most beautiful tones out of all of the female singers in the game right now. The girls voice is ridiculous. I would love to do another record with her. I’m doing another record after this called Date Night, she will be one of the first artists that I’m going to call.
UrbanBridgez.com: You costar with singer Brandy on The Game. How is it working with her? Based on her Instagram videos, she sings a lot on set!
Jay Ellis: Brandy sings every single day, and it’s the most amazing thing ever. She sings everything! It’s not like she’s just singing Brandy songs. Actually, I don’t know if I’ve ever heard her sing one of her own songs on set. She’s a person who loves the craft. She is so inspired by so many other artists—whether they’re from today and are relevant and current, or from the past. She’s constantly walking around singing songs that are 30-, 40-, 50-years-old and three- or four-days-old. It’s really cool to see that, to see her inspiration and to see her be touched by so many people. And then when she does it, she then touches us and inspires us.
UrbanBridgez.com: You’re such a great singer, who are some of your influences?
Olivia: Most people don’t know this, but it was always Anita Baker. I’m an old soul so she was definitely always one my favorites. As I grew old, of course I was into Brandy and Monica. Brandy is still my favorite til this day! A big Sade fan as well, I have a wide variety of artists (laughs). But those are the ones that I’ve always loved to listen to.
UrbanBridgez.com: Who are some recording artists and actors you admire?
Tasha Scott: Wow, I definitely look up to Ne-Yo, he’s awesome. Jamie Foxx, Beyonce, Brandy has mad skills on all her backgrounds, she is amazing!