The release of the 1998 Grammy-winning duet “The Boy Is Mine” cemented Brandy Norwood’s status as an R&B star. But the former teen star says she wishes she and fellow singer Monica could have “experienced what we could have” with the success of the duet, instead of having to address tabloid rumors surrounding their friendship.
In the song, the two women are pitted against each other in hopes of winning the affection of a man they are both involved with. The song spent 13 weeks at the top of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 — and continued to fuel speculation that the pair were in fact, rivals in real life.
“For us to be put against each other like that, I didn’t think that was funny at all,” she said in an interview with The Guardian. “The fanbases and the media really threw a wrench in that experience.”
Before the song’s release, Brandy’s career had taken off. She was the star of teen sitcom Moesha and hand-picked to play Cinderella in the 1997 TV remake co-produced by one of her idols, Whitney Houston.
Brandy had long wanted to meet the singer and recounted to the Guardian that at 14, she snuck backstage at one of Houston’s concerts. By the time she worked her way through security, it was too late; Houston was no longer in the building.
“I was crushed,” she recalled. “My mom was like, ‘You’ll meet her when you put music out.’”
And that she did. Brandy called the experience of working with “side-by-side” with Houston “something that’s still surreal to this day.”
The singer has had her ups and downs in the music business but is flattered to hear her influence in today’s R&B. And though she admitted to making mistakes throughout her career, she warns against artists losing themselves in their fight to stay on top.
“Sometimes you get caught up in being popular and relevant, and that makes you lose the reason why you’re connected to music,” she said. “I’m scared of that. I don’t ever want to get to a point where I’m doing music for the wrong reasons.”
The singer is set to release her first album in eight years, B7, on July 31, having to complete the album without her mentor, LaShawn Daniels, who passed away last year.
“I just wonder, would he be proud of what I was able to put together?” she asked. “Music is my therapy. I don’t know what my life would be without it.”
Read more from Yahoo Entertainment: