Willie Norwood

Pop/R&B stars Brandy and Ray J aren't the only talented members of the Norwood family. The siblings' father, Willie Norwood, can also hold his own musically, showing where the twosome acquires their immense talent from.

Willie Norwood's ascension into the music spectrum took root while attending Jackson State University on a band scholarship during the 1970s. It was there that he joined up with a soul music group named the Composers, becoming their lead vocalist and trumpeter. The group soon began to gain notoriety while playing the Mississippi club scene. They soon began opening up for acts such as Rufus and Chaka Khan and Lou Rawls. Norwood soon moved to Hollywood with the group where they attracted a loyal following.

The fast paced-Hollywood scene caused Norwood to stray from his religious upbringing, causing him and his wife, Sonja, to move back to McComb, MS, in the late '70s to begin a family as well as to regain focus. Eventually, California would once again play an important role musically for Willie Norwood and family. He began working with local community choirs in Los Angeles while beginning post-graduate work at California State University. Norwood's work with the choirs afforded a young Brandy and Ray J the opportunity enhance their blooming musical interest.

After seeing to the successful launching of his children's career in the music industry, Willie Norwood is showing his artistic wares after a 30-year wait. Joining forces with his wife and producers Victor and Cedric Caldwell, going through a two-year song selection process, Norwood released his debut album for Atlantic Records, entitled 'Bout It, in 2001. Norwood made the album a family affair of sorts, featuring guest appearances by Brandy, Ray J, and his father W.T. Norwood. ~ Tim A. Smith

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