Brandy + Hezekiah Walker & the Love Fellowship - One Voice - The Essence Awards - 1999

Never Say Never is the second studio album by American singer Brandy. Released by Atlantic Records on June 9, 1998 in United States, Norwood's label consulted David Foster and upcoming producer Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins and his team to work with her on the record, the latter of who went on to craft the majority of the album and would evolve as her mentor and head producer on succeeding projects in the 2000s.[2]

The lyrical themes on the album include the singer's personal experiences with love, monogamy, media bias, and maturity. Influenced by Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, Norwood wanted to present a more mature facet of herself with the album, incorporating a ballad-heavy style and an adult contemporary feel into her urban-pop sound for the album.[3] Upon its release, Never Say Never facilitated Norwood in becoming a viable recording artist with media–crossing appeal. It debuted at number three on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 160,000 copies in its first week, and remained 28 weeks within top 20 of the chart.[4] Eight of the sixteen songs were chosen as singles, with songs like "The Boy Is Mine" and "Have You Ever?" both topping the Hot 100, and "Top of the World" becoming an international chart-topper. Worldwide, the album has sold 18 million copies.

It became both her highest-selling and highest-charting album to date on most international markets, and won numerous awards and accolades, including a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for "The Boy Is Mine."[5] The album was supported by Brandy's Never Say Never World Tour in 1999, which featured soldout performances in the United States, Europe, Asia, Africa and Canada.

While her debut album had been a major success in the United States, Never Say Never was credited with Norwood's international breakthrough and facilitated her in becoming a viable recording artist with media–crossing appeal in music, film, and television.[65] Claire Lobenfeld from Fact found that while "Brandy’s self-titled debut was sweet and flirty, its follow-up separated her from being just a pop singer with an accelerating star to one with something to say."[66] HipHopDX's Aaron McKrell remarked that "Brandy’s newfound maturity was reflected in her music, and audiences and critics alike raved about the pop-tinged R&B that permeated the album,"[67] with Lela Olds, writing for The Boombox, further reporting that she "grew confident as both an artist and a young woman on Never Say Never, creating an album that showed both personal and vocal growth."[65] Never Say Never is Norwood's most successful album to date, with worldwide sales of 17 million records, including singles and album copies.[65] One of the biggest-selling album of the year for WEA Music, Billboard ranked Never Say Never among the most successul comeback albums of 1998,[64] while Sputnikmusic listed it among its 50 Best Pop Albums of 1998
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