Hi, I am Willie Norwood Sr., an American gospel singer, and the father and voice coach for R&B singers Brandy and Ray J. I began my musical studies on a band scholarship at Jackson State University.
As the lead vocalist and trumpeter, I joined a soul music group named The Composers in the 1970s. We received a small but loyal following as we played the Mississippi club scene.
Soon enough, we were the opening act for Rufus & Chaka Khan and even Lou Rawls. This was when we decided to move to Hollywood, where we attracted more attention.
After a few years in Hollywood, my wife and I decided to move back to McComb, Mississippi. We wanted to focus on our new family.
Willie's family moved back to California two years later when Willie accepted a position as minister of music for a church that used only a capella singing. This led to work with local community choirs in Los Angeles. Willie also attended California State University Northridge to pursue studies in music. This return to be California was instrumental in helping our family succeed for the second time.
My work with choirs allowed me to enhance Brandy and Ray J’s musical talent and interest along with many other singes in South-Central Los Angeles.
Willie has also travelled and coached singers nation-wide and internationally, including the Bermuda Islands.
This 2001 commercial debut happened after helping Brandy put her Never-Say-Never World Tour together in 1999. Under Atlantic Records, I released the album, and it received a Dove Award nomination and peaked at Number 13 on the Billboard Gospel Chart.
In 2006, I released my second album, titled I Believe, under a new label, KnockOut Entertainment. This album is best defined as A cappella Southern gospel music. With 12 songs, I released my version of old church songs.
Inspired by my daughter and son's reality series, we made a compilation album. It features unreleased songs from me, my wife Sonja, and my children. Brandy’s daughter Sy’rai, her half-sister Rain Smith, and fellow singer Tasha Scott contributed to the album.
We worked with several producers like Big Bert, Clinton Sparks, and The Jam. The Washington Post called the album an "awkward and adorable and really, really wholesome collection."
In 2013, I released an album titled Merry Christmas, a three-track EP featuring a duet with Ray J. I then helped my daughter as a vocal coach for her seventh studio album in 2020.