Actress and Grammy-winning singer Brandy, who hit the ARIA charts with songs such as "I Wanna Be Down" and the Monica duet "The Boy Is Mine," will tour Australia for the first time this month with three dates on her Slayana World Tour — June 17 at Metro City in Perth, June 20 at the Enmore Theatre in Sydney, and June 21 at Hamer Hall in Melbourne.
"It's about time," Brandy tells WHO, adding that her daughter Sy'rai, who turns 14 on June 16, will join her on the trip.
"I want to have an open mind and I want my daughter to have an open mind," says Brandy, 37. "I told her, do not go on the Internet, don't look — because my daughter loves to research — and I'm like, 'Listen, we're going to get there and we're just going to explore and in that way, we don't have any preconceived thoughts or anything.' We can just embrace Australia for what it really is."
With stylistic influences from her recent stint as Chicago's Roxie Hart on Broadway, Brandy says fans can expect a high-energy show fusing retro sounds and a theatre vibe akin to the video for new single "Beggin' and Pleadin.'"
"I think that's how growth happens," she says of her Broadway experience. " You learn things in the present moment and then you take it with you into other moments, and then you apply what you've learned and you continue to evolve. I think that's what life is all about, constant growth, constant change and then wisdom — all of it kind of happens for you."
Brandy also gets inspiration from her all-time favourite idol, Whitney Houston.
"The first concert that I saw was [Whitney's]," she says. "She played in Los Angeles at the Forum. I didn't really see the concert because I was in the nosebleed section, so I spent most the concert talking my way down to try to get to backstage!"
Houston would later pick a 16-year-old Brandy to play Cinderella in a multicultural version of the musical for US television. "I was able to make history with her," Brandy recalls. "I was the first African American princess and she played my fairy godmother… I think I was more excited about working with her and being around her than I was being Cinderella."
Brandy adds she is fuelling 20 years of experience into her tour, too. "I think passion and reinventing yourself are all a part of longevity, and loving what you do," she says. "I really love what I do. There were times where I hated the industry and didn't want to sing anymore. I've had my moments like every other artist, but after a while, you start to feel unfulfilled and you start to feel like something is off, and what's off is that you are not living your purpose. Like I'm here to inspire people, I'm here to relate through music and change moods and emotions, and that's a gift, and so when that gift isn't being used, something is not right and you have to get back to it."
For more with Brandy, pick up a copy of WHO on newsstands this week.