The Slow & Unsteady Promotional Pace Of Brandy’s Two Eleven Era

Some artists have reached a stage in their careers where the music sells itself. Based on the power and prestige of their name, very little promotion is needed to push their albums off the shelves or shoot their official singles up the Billboard charts. Brandy, however, hasn’t conquered that particular territory. Though she is loved by many, recognized in a mass market, and praised for the musical trends she set a decade ago, Brandy still needs the backing of a solid, marketing campaign.
Despite the fact that Brandy’s fans are anticipating the release of her sixth studio album, I fear that the project will have the same fate as 2004’s, AFRODISIAC and 2008’s critically celebrated, HUMAN lp. During a time when albums are selling slowly over time as oppose to reaching platinum status within months, Brandy is faced with an uphill challenge. For an artist of her caliber, the absence of her music and voice from the forefront makes her a relative stranger to this generation of iTune and iPod consumers. Teens and very young adults aren’t familiar with Brandy’s legacy. As a result, Brandy will need double the television and high profile exposure to ignite interest from non-fans. So far, the pace of Brandy’s promotion in support of her new single and forthcoming album has been extremely slow. I am bothered.
I have been a Brandy fan since the dawn of classic, 90’s music. Brandy emerged on the music scene in the summer of 1994 with a girl next door style and a smooth, honey coated voice. She was packaged and presented as an artist that appealed to music listeners who favored both urban and popular music. As Brandy has managed to sustain a career that has spanned almost two decades, she has also struggled to achieve a massive radio or chart topping hit since the release of her 2002, FULL MOON album. Brandy was recently featured in VH1’s Behind The music series. The highs and lows that have framed her rise to stardom were showcased through various interviews with family, close friends and Brandy, herself. Though most of the hour long episode focused on the personal life drama that has forced Brandy to mature into her womanhood, she did indeed express excitement about her future in the music industry.It has been four years since Brandy released a full, studio album. She has peppered the fans with several youtube videos that were filmed in her bathroom. Brandy sang renditions of classic songs to showcase the deep, melodic tone of her vocals. Several tracks that were left on the cutting room floor from the Afrodisiac and Human recording sessions have also leaked online over the past few years. Fans were misled in 2010 to believe that a new album would hit shelves in February, 2011. Following two full seasons of Brandy’s VH1 family reality show, no further talks of a new single or studio album surfaced. We then saw Brandy take center stage at various listening events in and around Los Angeles as her rap alter ego, Bran Nu. Many began to wonder if Brandy was merely playing around with her art form or if her rap stylings would become a staple of her live performances.As Brandy continued to make guest appearances in several television programs, as well as filming a new movie for the Tyler Perry franchise, she finally seemed to get serious about recording new material. Inspired by the newfound success of her contemporary, Monica, Brandy paired with her former chart rival to record and release their second duet, IT ALL BELONGS TO ME. Though the single did very little to peak the interest or spark excitement from loyal fans, Brandy embarked upon a promotional tour to give the record steam.The untimely passing of her fairy, industry godmother, the Legendary Whitney Houston, ignited a new flame beneath Brandy’s career. She solidified her return to the music game by giving her long awaited album an official title. TWO ELEVEN pays homage to the life of Whitney Houston. Whitney passed away on Brandy’s 33rd birthday; February 11, 2012. TWO ELEVEN also represents Brandy’s rebirth as an artist.

We’ve now embarked upon a new season in music. A shallow wave of young, pop starlet’s have made a major impact on the music front. Brandy needs to make a big splash in order to regain her notoriety. In an effort to build buzz for the release of her TWO ELEVEN album, Brandy has released her comeback single. The song features the rap boasts of bad boy, Chris Brown. The Rico Love produced record is titled, PUT IT DOWN. While it seems that the urban audience is truly embracing Brandy’s record, mainstream, pop audiences haven’t displayed enough interest in the single for it to be placed in heavy, radio rotation.I expected Brandy’s new label home, RCA Records, to create a massive, promotional push for the single. Unfortunately, PUT IT DOWN wasn’t made available for purchase on iTunes until weeks following its release to radio. We are just now beginning to receive a sneak peek of behind the scene video choreography and treatment details. The momentum of the PUT IT DOWN single has slowed down tremendously. The delayed timing of the music video release isn’t going to aid in increased sales or public interest in this first single.I always imagined that the first record to be released from Brandy’s sixth studio album would be uptempo. If Chris Brown was to feature on the track, he should have been enlisted to sing as oppose to rapping. I wanted Brandy to release the accompanying music video no more than two weeks following the distribution of PUT IT DOWN. While everyone was still focused on Brandy and her relationship to Whitney Houston, the field was wide open for her to storm the horizons. Instead, interest has dwindled. I wouldn’t be surprised if TWO ELEVEN is pushed from August 28th to a fourth quarter release date.In this day and time, veteran artists have to be quick and yet very precise in their marketing campaigns and strategies. It isn’t enough to simply appear on reality television showcases or guest starring in films. The public will view an artist exactly the ways in which they present themselves. If Brandy doesn’t focus 100% of her attention into developing a solid comeback in her music career, she will find herself struggling to avoid the slump of another commercially unsuccessful album.