Willie Norwood is an extraordinarily gifted musician, mentor and industry veteran. Having over thirty years of experience in the entertainment industry, he has immersed himself in a deep and rich pool of talent. From the dusty roads of the Mississippi Delta to the dazzling lights of Hollywood, he began and continues his life’s journey.
He was a professional singer and trumpeter even in the early teen years of his life. Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi was where he began his college education attending on an academic and music scholarships. He later toured the country with his band, The Composers and met the love of his life, Sonja Bates.
After marriage to Sonja, and starting a family, in 1983, they moved to Los Angeles, California where he was offered a position as Minister of Music of a church. In this position, he organized, directed and trained graded choirs. It was in this environment that their children, Brandy and Ray J fostered their desire be a part of the entertainment industry.
Garnering their meteoric success in the business as child singers and actors gave Willie a real-world glimpse of the structure and inner workings of the industry. Many valued relationships were forged with members of the recording, television and movie industries over the years. Willie organized and produced Brandy’s first “Never-Say-Never” world tour. He was also the vocal consultant on her albums.
He recorded two albums, “I Believe”, an a cappella project, and “Bout It” for which he received a Dove Award nomination. Brandy and Ray J were featured on the album as well as other musical greats as Kirk Whalen and Billy Preston, the “fifth Beatle”.
He served as director of UCC, a 94-voice community children choir, who performed for numerous civic functions including a tribute to the late civil rights activist, Rosa Parks. UCC also performed at the 45th birthday of the King of Pop, the late Michael Jackson. They recorded on the projects of Quincy Jones’ “Jook Joint” and Janet Jackson’s “Velvet Rope”. The choir received a commendation by L. A. Supervisor, Mark Ridley Thomas and the Supervisors of Los Angeles County for the preservation of African-American Music.
He starred with his family in the reality show, “Brandy and Ray J-A Family Business”, as the paternal head of an entertainment family on VH1. The show enjoyed favorable ratings for two seasons as one of the network’s top shows. From that situation, he produced a family album by the same name that featured his grand daughter, Sy’rai.
He is the owner of KnockOut Vocal Studios, KnockOut Digital Media serving independent artists and Norwood Talent Agency, Corp. The Norwood Kids Foundation is an organization that he is actively vested and involved today to mentor inner-city youth. He is the Event Director of the Sing-a-Rama Music Conference, an annual event for gospel vocal music and artists. He is the Minister of Music at the Woodland Hills Church of Christ and a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
It is without any doubt that Willie Norwood is an amazing musician, vocal coach, Minister of Music, proud father and entrepreneur of the 21st century. He continues to make his indelible mark on the entertainment world.