Norwood was born on February 11, 1979, in McComb, Mississippi, the daughter of Willie Norwood, a former gospel singer and choir director, and his wife, Sonja Norwood. She is the older sister of entertainer Ray J, as well as a cousin of rapper Snoop Dogg. Raised in a Christian home, Norwood started singing through her father's work as part of the local church choir, performing her first gospel solo at the age of two. In 1983, her parents relocated to Los Angeles, California, where Norwood was schooled at the Hollywood High Performing Arts Center.
Brandy is known for her platinum selling records and multiple acting roles.