Brandy Norwood, the actor and singer who had an international hit with The Boy is Mine in 1998, is back in the lead of a new show on BET, Zoe Ever After. The pilot premiered recently on the BET cable network, and Norwood made an appearance at the Television Critics Association winter press tour in Pasadena, California shortly after its premiere to discuss the project.
Zoe Ever After stars Norward as Zoe Moon, a newly single mother trying to raise her child with her famous boxer ex-husband, while fulfilling her dream of creating her own cosmetics line.
Norwood has maintained a busy career on the small screen in recent years, appearing on a number of shows including Lifetime’s Drop Dead Diva and BET’s football comedy The Game as the sassy Chardonnay Pitts, before it was cancelled after nine seasons. She also recently played Roxie Hart in the Broadway musical, Chicago.
However, she has not had a star vehicle since UPN’s high school comedy Moesha, which concluded its five-year run in 2001.
“Zoe is like Moesha all grown up,” Norwood said, adding that that she had enjoyed more creative input into Zoe Ever After than her previous shows. Executive producer Debra Martin Chase added: “Moesha was about a girl – Zoe is about a woman, and Brandy is a woman.”
Like her character, she said, Norwood aspired to go into the cosmetics industry, and is also a single mother, who co-parents with her ex-husband, musician Robert Anthony Smith. “Having a career and trying to make it on your own [as a single mother], and still having to depend on your ex for a lot – that’s tough,” said Norwood.
Acting has put Norwood’s music career on the back burner – her last album, Two Eleven, came out in 2012. Her involvement with Zoe Ever After is slowly bringing it back: the title song is sung by Norwood, and after the pilot premiered, she released a new song, Beggin & Pleadin, produced by Oak and Pop, on Soundcloud.
Norwood, who said she considers music to be her “first passion”, promised a new album on the horizon. “My fans have been starving for new music,” said Norwood. “I just got to do it.”