What Happened To Brandy’s ‘Two Eleven’ Album?

BRANDY-TWO-ELEVEN-ALBUM-COVER

We all know the process: a music Diva stakes her claim on a fiscal quarter of the year, which spawns a spectacle of unique marketing tactics, promotional tours and, inevitably, “the Stan wars,” all culminating in the successful release of a much-anticipated album. It happens year after year and last year was almost no different for R&B veteran Brandy Norwood’s sixth studio album, “Two Eleven.” So, what happened?

After the poor commercial success of her fifth studio album, “Human” (2008), and her somewhat abrupt departure from record label, Epic Records, shortly afterwards, Brandy seemed to be seeking a place of belonging in the ever-changing music industry she’d once had wrapped around her finger. It appeared as though the industry had become as nonchalant with Brandy as it had become with the existence of the R&B genre, in general.

While on a mission to maintain her spot as one of R&B’s most notable and cherished voices in the years to follow, Brandy steered her focus toward her growth as an artist and a businesswoman. Moving forward with a new record label and starting a new album seemed like a fresh start for the songstress…and it was.

With a four-year hiatus since “Human,” a legion of loyal fans awaiting her return and new-found attention garnered through social media exposing her unparalleled talent to new fans, Brandy appeared poised for a powerful comeback. However, one of the major exceptions in the formula of commercial success for Brandy’s “Two Eleven,” was one of the most damaging factors for the debut of any artist’s album: an extremely promoted, yet prolonged release.

Brandy - Two Eleven Promo

Murmurings of what was to eventually become “Two Eleven,” began in late 2011 on the heels of producer Sean Garrett’s eagerness to spill the beans to Rap-Up.com about production work he had done on the project’s first single:

“What I can tell you is that it’s hot. It’s definitely something you have never heard—you probably haven’t heard Brandy over a track like this. It’s very commercial, but at the same time, it’s got a dope hip-hop influence—it’s club, it’s radio, it’s all formats. . . . [I]t’s coming really soon. I’d probably say before Christmas. . . . [Y]eah, I think she said her album is coming around April.”

This information immediately sent die-hard Brandy fans, or ‘Stars’ as she endearingly calls them, into overdrive. ‘Stars’ took to the Internet to express their excitement and aggressively began campaigning for the return of their queen. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr–Brandy was returning and she was EVERYWHERE. Then came the push backs.

A running joke on Twitter became that Brandy’s promotional tour for the album had spanned all four seasons of 2012 which, in retrospect, wasn’t far from fact. Garrett’s initial revelation (in November of 2011) about the single and the month of the album release turned out to be incorrect.

“Two Eleven” was officially scheduled for a March 2012 release instead of April, which was good news. That was until the single’s release date was pushed back to accommodate the release of fellow R&B Diva Monica’s duet with Brandy, “It All Belongs To Me,” for her own album.

As a result, the album was also pushed back making the wait for any new solo music (let alone “Two Eleven”) even longer. The disappointment was short-lived, when the album was given a new official release date of May 2012. Fans rejoiced until Brandy announced, in March, that the album would now be coming June 2012.

To hold fans over, the album’s first single, “Put It Down” (featuring Chris Brown), made its debut on May 4, 2012. Merely a distraction for coming delays, the release date for the album was then changed to August 28, with the specification of an actual date providing impatient fans with a glimpse of hope. As if the fans weren’t being tortured enough, hope was shattered when the release was pushed back a little over a month to October 2, then one more time to October 16.

Met by rave reviews from fans and critics alike upon its official release, Brandy had hit a home run. The album was a masterpiece, but record sales told a different story. Coming in with a number 3 debut on the US Billboard 200 and first week sales of only 65,000 copies brought about confusion. With so much hype surrounding the album, one would’ve thought that sales would’ve been an outstanding, but the masses lost interest in purchasing something they’d been teased with for practically a year.

In April 2013, Brandy told Pynk Magazine that in spite of her album only selling a staggering 178,613 copies since is October 2012 release, she wouldn’t let numbers define her, stating boldly, “I define me.” It is no surprise, however, that “Two Eleven” continues to do poorly by industry standards based on the lack of promotion on the back-end of its release.

Though Brandy continued to promote the album with performances across the country after its debut, the follow-up single fell short of mainstream radio play and was accompanied by a lackluster visual. In addition, no more singles have been released from the album to date.

Conceptually, “Two Eleven” had all the makings of a classic–and in many ways it still is. The less than desirable sales don’t at all mean that fans aren’t willing to pay for Brandy’s music or that they don’t want to hear more from her in the future. What it does mean, as far as “Two Eleven” goes, is simply that it was too little, too late. That’s what happened.

J. Williams is a Contributor for Rated RnB. For more info about J. Williams, visit http://jwilliams.TV.

4 Comments

  1. This was very well written. Main idea, supported facts and a cool closing statement. Good job j. Williams. And u remained unbias

  2. pity for brandy they should promoted her after the release of her album they should pick another hot single like so sick no such thing as too late they repeated the same mistake thet done on her album human by not releasing piana not as a single

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5 R&B Artists Who Should’ve Been Nominated for a 2018 Grammy

Nominations for the 60th Grammy Awards were announced on Tuesday morning, and as predicted Bruno Mars led the R&B pack with six nods including Best R&B Album for 24k Magic. Childish Gambino, Khalid and SZA followed with five nominations each.

As artists thanked the Recording Academy for their consideration, some fans and critics called out the Academy for snubbing certain artists. Many fans were in shock when artists like Mary J. Blige and Tamar Braxton did not receive any nominations.

Although nothing can be changed at this point, here are five artists who should’ve been nominated for a 2018 Grammy.

Best R&B Performance
(For new vocal or instrumental R&B recordings.)

“Before I Do” — Sevyn Streeter

It is safe to say the Recording Academy missed the mark by not nominating “Before I Do” by Sevyn Streeter. Lifted from her long-overdue debut album, Girl Disrupted, the guitar-led tune helped Sevyn claim her first No. 1 single on the Billboard Adult R&B Songs chart. The slow jam had the singer-songwriter proclaiming her readiness for love. Feeling considered that her man of interest is already taken, she asked valid questions before she made a decision with her heart. Along with daunting lyrics, Streeter’s silky voice meshed well behind the elements of “At Your Best (You Are Love)” by the Isley Brothers and covered by the late Aaliyah.

Best Traditional R&B Performance
(For new vocal or instrumental traditional R&B recordings.)

“Blind” by Tamar Braxton

It is obvious that Tamar Braxton’s team and other music industry leaders overlooked the Bluebird of Happiness ballad “Blind” for this ideal category. Containing an interpolation of “I’d Rather Go Blind” by Etta James, the emotionally charged song includes the needed qualities – instrumental traditional R&B recordings – to justify a worthy nomination.

Best R&B Song
(A Songwriter(s) Award. A song is eligible if it was first released or if it first achieved prominence during the Eligibility Year. (Artist names appear in parentheses.) Singles or Tracks only.)

“U + Me (Love Lesson)” — Brandon “B.A.M.” Hodge, Charles “Prince Charlez” Hinshaw and David D. Brown & Mary J. Blige, songwriters (Mary J. Blige)

Even though Mary J. Blige’s “Thick of It” remained atop the Billboard Adult R&B Songs chart for 16 weeks, it was her follow-up single “U + Me (Love Lesson)” that caused a frenzy. Co-written by Blige, Brandon “B.A.M.” Hodge, Charles “Prince Charlez” Hinshaw and David D. Brown, the honest tune is arguably one of the most underrated R&B songs of the year. The well-composed jam recounts Blige’s gut feelings after filing for divorce from her manager-husband of 12 years. Must’ve been crazy to think that you loved me / I saw all the signs but I just couldn’t say nothing,” she sings.

Best Urban Contemporary Album
(For albums containing at least 51% playing time of newly recorded contemporary vocal tracks derivative of R&B.)

Savage — Tank

Tank’s music deserves more love from the Grammys – especially his newly released album, Savage. With eight solo projects – dating back to 2001’s Force of Nature – under his belt, it is a shame that his 2007 Sex, Love & Pain release is his only full-length project nominated for Grammy. Tank’s latest single “When We” is currently commanding urban adult contemporary radio. It also cracked the Billboard Hot 100 chart at No. 92 this week, making him one of the first solo R&B artists to achieve this feat this year.

Best R&B Album
(For albums containing at least 51% playing time of new R&B recordings.)

Back 2 Life — LeToya Luckett

After a six-year hiatus from music, LeToya Luckett made a comeback with her third album, Back 2 Life.The singer-actress blessed fans with a 13-track LP filled with fresh quality material. From the album’s introductory track “I’m Ready” to its lead single “B2L,” which reached No. 6 on urban adult contemporary radio, the modern release warranted more RESPECK.

The 60th Grammy Awards will air live from New York City’s Madison Square Garden on January 28, 2018 on CBS.

Tell us your thoughts on the Grammy nominations below! 

Concert Review: Keyshia Cole Pulls a Lauryn Hill at The Fillmore Charlotte

As people waited in long lines to flood their favorite retailers for Black Friday sales, I traveled from Columbia, SC to Charlotte, NC to see Keyshia Cole at The Fillmore Charlotte.

I arrived to the AvidXchange Music Factory venue at 6:27 p.m. Unlike lines at retailers Friday, where the wait is unavoidable and uncomfortable, I was perfectly at ease being the 20th concert-goer in line.

Ten minutes later, more attendees followed behind to patiently wait for doors to open at 7 p.m.

Undressed and shivering in 37 degree weather, I struck up conversation about ticket cost with Keyshia Cole admirers. “We won our tickets off Streetz 103.3,” one couple said.

Another fan said, “I bought mine off Groupon for $39. I love you Keyshia but I wasn’t spending more than $50.” I agreed since I got my ticket at the same deal.

Doors opened three minutes after 7 p.m. After getting patted down and having my ticket scanned by The Fillmore door staff, I bypassed other fans and jetted to the front of the stage to wait for the show.

Some fans claimed their spot at the head of the stage barricade too. Other fans found empty floor space to stand comfortably before those at the bar filled in the gaps.

At 7:17 p.m., MMG’s DJ MC got settled with his laptop and other stereo equipment on the smoky stage. He came fully equipped to have the crowd lit with his mega mix and fly DJing skills.

As fog occupied the stage, nostalgia filled rest of the room. DJ MC had fans right where he wanted them – in a carefree zone. Music lovers used their outside voice to recite explicit lyrics and sing classic R&B and hip-hop songs including “I Get Money” by 50 Cent, UCB’s “Sexy Lady” and “Nice and Slow” by Usher.

The VIP clique didn’t let their lack of essential amenities (i.e. chairs or tables) get in the away of their party. The wall worked perfectly for grinding.

DJ MC had help getting the crowd excited from 92.7 The Block hosts Chewy Torres and Sunshine Anderson – yes, “Heard it All Before” Sunshine Anderson, too.

By 9:02 p.m., fans were chanting, “We want Keyshia.”

Ten minutes later, DJ MC was breaking down his equipment to make room for GO DJ HI C, Keyshia’s official DJ.

I don’t know if the crowd was aggravated and ready for Keyshia but the energy shifted downward when he got on stage.

It felt like we changed the radio dial to a new station but got the same syndicated countdown – just with a harder thumb. GO DJ HI C’s blaring speaker bass creeped into my torso as if I had just painfully swallowed it.

A few recycled songs in, GO DJ HI C announced at 9:24 p.m., “I just got a text. My boss is about to hit the stage.”

Eager to record Keyshia’s opening note, I pulled out my iPhone to capture every minute. With 69 percent battery life, I tapped on the Facebook icon to start a live stream.

With no background singers in sight or any Fillmore staff prepping the stage for Keyshia’s arrival, it was evident GO DJ HI C’s receipt had no validity.

“This is ridiculous,” mumbled a female patron behind me. “I hope she shows up because she bailed before.”

As the DJ played more music and strolled through his cellphone, another female fan offered commentary. “If I wanted to listen to music for two hours I would have went to a club.”

It was 9:40 p.m. and the crowd began to get restless. Four-letter words started to be heard in the now tight quarters — most were directed to GO DJ HI C.

He attempted to ease the last nerve of fans. “Ya’ll chill,” he roared in the mic. “I wouldn’t be here if she wasn’t coming out. She’s not coming out until she can hear you guys in her dressing room.”

GO DJ HI C also tried to hype the crowd for Keyshia’s entrance. “I need the left side to say ‘Keyshia’ and the right to say ‘Cole,’” as he pointed to each side of the room.

Some were interested in crowd participation but others weren’t. I was apart of the latter group.

The DJ returned to the mic at 9:43 p.m., and began an introduction for a Grammy nominated artist.

Cell phones brighten the dark venue momentarily but quickly dimmed when attendees realized it wasn’t the headliner gracing the stage — it was Sunshine Anderson.

Used to distract fans from Keyshia’s CP time, the singer-turned radio personality tipped on stage in open-toe heels, donning a simple black top with un-curve friendly black tights.

With support of a backtrack, the North Carolina native noticeably lipped the lyrics to “Lunch or Dinner” from her 2001 debut, Your Woman.

Sunshine bought Keyshia more time to hit the stage as she started to actually sing her signature song “Heard It All Before.” It was obvious she didn’t warm up her voice. Her vocal execution reflected especially towards the collapsed bridge.

Despite Sunshine not possessing vocal conviction, she had the heart to fight through it.

The unimpressed concert-goers softly clapped to see Sunshine off the stage.

Two minutes before 10 p.m. a gentleman rocking a pink backpack sashayed on stage. Before exiting, he left two styrofoam cups on a stage podium.

“When you see him, that means Keyshia’s on her way,” shouted GO DJ HI C across the room.

Exactly seven minutes after 10 p.m., GO DJ HI C took the mic again and finally grabbed the audience’s attention. “Ladies and gentlemen, Keyshia Cole.”

With help from her security, the woman of the last two hours, walked up the side steps of the stage.

Dressed in a suede trench coat with matching heeled boots and ripped jeans, the Just Like You songstress kicked off the delayed show singing “I Should Have Cheated” off her first album, The Way It Is.

Keyshia quickly asked the audio engineer to adjust her inner ear before capping the song with an extended high note.

Joined by her three male dancers, the Oakland-bred singer moved swiftly through her medley of hits including “Enough of No Love,” “Shoulda Let You Go,” “I Changed My Mind” and “You.”

After wrapping up her remix to Chris Brown’s “Loyal,” Keyshia took off her winter coat to show off her shimmering silk shirt. Without officially apologizing for her tardiness, she mentioned being thankful for her fans as a means for damage control.

It didn’t seem to work, and she knew it. “Okay. Let’s go into the next song then,” she told GO DJ HI C.

She belted her biggest hits “I Remember,” and “Love” before she engaged in personal conversation with the crowd.

From requesting the crowds opinion on if she should back to Love and Hip-Hop: Hollywood to explaining why she opted to skip Thanksgiving dinner with her newly found dad, Virgil Hunter, Keyshia sincerely asked for fans to send her a prayer up the main line.

Thirty minutes into her set, Keyshia wanted fans to tell her what to perform next. Most songs fans mentioned like “Vault” and “Emotional” from her 11: 11 Reset album were off limits.

“This isn’t the tour guys,” she replied with a smile. “The tour doesn’t start until next year. But I cannot wait to perform those songs though.”

While she didn’t perform demanded cuts from her new album, she gave us “Incapable” along with a similar dance routine from the single’s accompanying visual.

Following three more songs, Keyshia ended the 45-minute set with her Grammy nominated record, “Let It Go.”

Before leaving the stage, she directed fans to meet her at Stats Restaurant and Bar for the official after-party.

Honestly, I feel like I wasted a trip to Charlotte. I didn’t leave with a wow experience. I expected her to sing more material from her silently released album. Yet, my wish didn’t come to fruition.

Keyshia treated her Fillmore performance like an afterthought. It appeared to me that she got a calendar reminder while she caught Black Friday sales on Fashion Nova’s website. After realizing her spot date, she called her style team and caught a red-eye flight to Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

Keyshia’s lateness was inexcusable and warranted a more sincere apology. Instead she rushed through her sloppy set list to get to the after-party.

Her running behind schedule wouldn’t have been terribly bad if she had a legit special guest. And I’m sorry, Sunshine Anderson doesn’t count.

Collectively, the two hours of DJing, the talent show performance from Sunshine Anderson and Keyshia Cole’s tardiness calls for a total refund. But I’m sure Live Nation is incapable of issuing it to us.

Chart Check: Lyrica Anderson and A1 Heat Up Urban Radio, K. Michelle Lands on Urban AC

Lyrica Anderson A1 Bentley K. Michelle

Welcome back to another edition of Chart Check! Each week, Rated R&B provides detailed insight to the chart movements of your favorite R&B artists and R&B songs. In this updated format, we will discuss Billboard’s Adult R&B Songs (Urban AC) and Nielsen’s Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop National Airplay (Urban) charts extensively. Read below for more information on the week of November 25, 2017:

Urban Radio

Cassie has officially returned with her new single “Love a Loser.” The song, which features rapper G-Eazy, received 14 adds on urban radio formats in the latest tracking week. This is Cassie’s first single since “The Boys” with Nicki Minaj, which was released in 2012.

Married musicians and Love and Hip Hop: Hollywood” stars Lyrica Anderson and Floyd “A1” Bentley have been working behind the scenes writing and producing songs for other artists for years, but 2017 is looking to be the year for their own work to finally take off. This week, A1’s SWV-sampled single “Always” landed on the official urban radio chart at No. 40. The song, which features Chris Brown and Ty Dolla $ign, gained a 213 spin increase since last week. Meanwhile, Lyrica is floating four spots under with her tune “Don’t Take it Personal,” which is the lead single from her recently released album Adia. The song was spun 496 times and picked up one add at urban radio in the latest tracking week.

N.E.R.D. and Rihanna are two of the music industry’s most elusive acts, but they may have a hit on their hands with their new collaboration “Lemon.” After being released just a few short weeks ago, the bouncy banger has officially landed on the Urban radio chart at No. 39. The song garnered a whopping 420 spin increase at urban formats, the third-most in the latest tracking week.

Urban AC Radio

dvsn is ready to multiply their recent success by sending their first single to radio. That’s right: “Mood” has been selected as the first radio single from their latest album Morning After, which was released on Oct. 13. The single received eight adds on R&B radio formats, which is the most for the latest tracking week.

MAJOR. has returned to the R&B scene with his new single “Honest,” which leapt onto the Urban AC chart at No. 17 last week. The momentum continues this week as the piano driven ballad skips 17-16, garnering a 60 spin increase since last week. The song also received six more adds at R&B radio formats.

With her first charting single, K. Michelle’s new era has officially begun! This week, “Make This Song Cry” landed at No. 27 on Billboard’s Adult R&B chart, thanks to a 51 spin increase since last week. This is the first radio single from the Memphis-bred singer’s upcoming fourth studio album Kimberly: The People I Used to Know, which is set for a Dec. 8 release date.

Quick Notes

And in quick notes: Miguel’s War & Leisure lead single “Sky Walker” is picking up speed as it rises 16-14 on this week’s Urban radio chart. The single received a 282 spin increase and has crossed the 10 million mark in urban radio audience; Rapper DeJ Loaf and singer Jacquees’ new single “At The Club” continues to rise on urban radio, sitting just 3 spots below the official chart. The song received four adds in the latest tracking week; John Legend’s newest Darkness & Light single “Penthouse Floor” debuts at No. 26 on this week’s Urban AC chart. The song, which features Chance the Rapper, was the highest debut of the week; and finally, Kenny Lattimore has finally made a “Push” right onto the Urban AC chart, as he is the last of the three debuts this week. His new single, from his new album Vulnerable, landed at No. 28 with a total of 211 spins at R&B radio and formats.

What about you? Are you feeling Lyrica and A1’s new singles? How well do you think Cassie’s new song will do? Did you enjoy this week’s Chart Check? Let us know how you feel in the comment section below!

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