Brandy Teams with Chance the Rapper on 'Mother's Day Anthem' amid Pandemic and Talks Brother Ray J
"So many mothers out there don't get the credit they deserve," Brandy says about the inspiration behind her new song "Baby Mama" as she gears up to release her first album in eight years
Brandy is celebrating mothers on her latest single "Baby Mama" alongside Chance the Rapper — and she recently opened up to PEOPLE Now about her own experience as a mom. The star also dishes on what it's like to watch her high-profile brother Ray J maneuver his way around the entertainment industry.
"It's a great Mother's Day anthem because I feel like so many mothers out there don't get the credit they deserve," says Grammy-winner Brandy, 41, who is mom to 17-year-old daughter Sy'rai Iman Smith.
"They're just out there holding it down for their family and sharing that beautiful bond with their children [who] they're making all these sacrifices for," she adds. "I wanted to celebrate that and also dedicate a song like 'Baby Mama' to my daughter who has inspired me tremendously in life. It was great to hook up with Chance the Rapper, who I had the pleasure of working with, and he just really blessed the record with such a great verse."
The duo's exciting new collaboration was kismet. "He wanted to do something with 'I Wanna Be Down,' which is the very first song I ever released," Brandy says. "He wanted to sample that, so he called and asked if that was okay, and from there I asked if he would be a part of 'Baby Mama.' He heard the song and jumped right on it and did the video with me and everything."
"He was so humble and down to earth and he taught me this little dance that they do on TikTok. We put that in the video and I had all the other dancers do it," Brandy says. "I didn't know the dance was so popular until after he taught me. It took me a minute to get the hang of it because it was simple, but it had a few subtleties that made it kinda complicated. But I got a chance to get it right."
One of the biggest motivations that led Brandy to release her new single is her own experience as a mom. The proud singer and actress is elated to see her daughter Smith release music on her own.
"My favorite thing about motherhood is seeing myself in my daughter and seeing each other in each other," says the star. "Our personalities are the same. We share so much of the same likes and she loves music. I just love seeing her grow into her own artist."
"It's just been great watching her grow and become this lady with so much confidence and opinions," Brandy says before opening up about some of the dynamics that come with parenting. "Then we have our challenges, learning how to forgive each other and learning how to be patient with each other. It's the most important relationship in my life. I don't know what I would do without here."
Brandy admits she's selective about who her daughter can see romantically.
"I'm very tough when it comes to her dating," she says. "I don't want her to date. I don't think anybody is good enough for her just yet. She's not out there like that. She's not dating a lot. She has a few interests but she's not doing a lot and that's what I love because I don't think she's gotten into it the way she [will] later when she grows up a little bit more."
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"She's done her own search of who I am and what I've been able to accomplish and of course she's aware of it, but what I love about us is that I'm just her mom and that keeps me grounded," Brandy says. "It's all about her now. It's all about what she's here to accomplish and do and I'm just here to support her in that."
The songstress is also the older sister to musician and reality star Ray J, 39, who has previously made headlines due to some tumultuous exchanges with his wife Princess Love. Brandy says her brother is managing throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
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"This is the time where families come together even more," she says. "I haven't gotten the chance to seem him as much as I would like, but he's doing well. He's adjusting."
"It can be difficult because of course I am very overprotective of my brother and a lot of the things he decides to share in the public eye, I don't necessarily agree," Brandy reveals. "I would rather him keep a lot of his life private, but he is in the public eye and on reality TV so sometimes it can get tough. I just let him know that I'm here for him in any way that I can be. Being in the public eye myself, I can relate to some of the things that he goes through so I just try to be as much of a support system as I can be."