Exclusive: Spades, Spiked Egg Nog And The Whole Norwood Gang Make Brandy’s Home The Place To Be This Christmas

Noam Galai/WireImage

Everybody has an auntie who goes all out for the holidays. In the Norwood family, that’s Brandy.

“I’ve always been the one for everyone to come to where I am, and it’s just great to have my family and my friends and people that I love get together for quality time,” she tells ESSENCE. “I love having Christmas at my house. I love holidays at my house. I love Thanksgiving at my house.”

Part of the fun is decorating her abode with elaborate ornaments based on themes, welcoming her guests with bright colors and thoughtful trinkets. Curating “beautiful decorations with great energy” is important to her because she adores this time of year. That’s probably why the Grammy winner released her first Christmas album, Christmas with Brandy, ahead of it. She broke the news about the project in NYC last month while toasting with her signature concoction, the B Rocka, during an event with Stella Rosa brandy. She’s been in partnership with the brand since 2022.

“I’m in the spirit. I’m in the mood,” Brandy says excitedly. The project, a follow-up to 2020’s B7, is a special gift for her most avid supporters. She dedicated the festive body of work to them. “My fans have been asking for a Christmas album for years,” she says. “They’ve been with me for so long, and it’s been seven albums that I’ve had, so to not have a Christmas album, it’s kind of crazy. So, I wanted to do something for the fans.”

The work is a mix of traditional tracks and some new jingle jangle jams. “I wanted to do some classics that meant a lot to me growing up, and then I wanted to do some original songs,” she shares. The first single, “Christmas Party for Two,”speaks to the excitement of getting cozy with a loved one during the holiday season. “It has a sexy vibe,” she says.

There’s also family vibes. Daughter Sy’Rai is following her mother’s footsteps when it comes to making music, as the two collaborated on Christmas with Brandy.

“I have a song with her on the album called ‘Christmas Gift,’ and she’s the greatest gift that I could ever ask for,” Brandy says. Together, they sing about the best present you can receive from someone you care about – their time.

“To share in that moment with her, for her to be a part of the Christmas album, is such a great thing,” Brandy says.  

The star cherishes the time to she gets, which isn’t a lot, to connect with her loved ones without worrying about Zoom meetings, fittings, and studio sessions getting in the way. This season, she looks forward to cozying up with them, including hosting alongside Sy’Rai, while sharing her favorite eggnog with Stella Rosa’s Smooth Black Honey Peach at this year’s get-together. There will be plenty of Spades and Uno playing, along with the “trash talking” she says comes along with such fun. “It just gets the party going,” she shares emphatically, making it clear that it clear she does not believe in house rules regarding drawing twos and wild cards. Try your stacks somewhere else. “I’m playing the rules of the original game. I don’t change any rules. I haven’t done that.” Overall, the woman known as the “vocal bible” is excited to rest her instrument and have all of her favorite things and people in one place.

“Family is everything. We all work and we all have our things that we do during the year. So to just slow down and come together and celebrate is just…you can’t beat that,” she says. “I don’t take that for granted, and that’s just one of the best things ever, too, for us all to come together, and I have young nieces and nephews now,” she adds, speaking on Melody and Epik Norwood, the children of her brother Ray J and his wife Princess Love. “It’s like Christmas brings a whole other meaning now. To see it through their eyes, it’s just beautiful.”

Christmas with Brandy is currently streaming. Stella Rosa is available nationwide.

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