After slaying the stage as Roxie Hart in Broadway’s Chicago and starring in the final season of BET’s The Game, Brandy returns to the small screen with the network’s new Zoe Ever After, proving that this is her season of living her wildest dreams.
Brandy stars as Zoe Moon, a newly single mom stepping out of the shadow of her famous boxer ex-husband, Gemini Moon (Dorian Missick), while trying to balance dating, motherhood, a complicated relationship with her ex and finally fulfilling her career dream of starting a cosmetics line.
“It will make you laugh and it will make you feel good,” says Brandy of the rom-com sitcom, which premieres January 5.
No stranger to headlining her own show, the Grammy-winning singer long had fans reciting “Moe to the E to the” as they tuned into her ’90s hit series Moesha, where she played a determined young woman juggling school, romance and family life. EBONY caught up with Brandy to discuss the new show, her upcoming music and, as always, what’s next.
EBONY: Can you tell us how Zoe Ever After came about?
Brandy: It’s always been a dream of mine to have another sitcom. I love television. During The Game, the feeling was reawakened, and I really wanted to go after that again. So I had a meeting with [producer] Debra Martin Chase and we wanted to do this project together. She asked me, “If you were not singing or acting, what would you want to do?” I told her that I would be a makeup artist, and that’s how Zoe was born. Zoe has her own cosmetics line, she’s raising a son and co-parenting with her ex-husband who she was with for 20 years. She’s starting this dream, she’s pushing forward and finding her own voice. It’s a comedy and it’s fun. I had a really good time building it.
EBONY: How is Zoe Moon different from your previous roles like Moesha and Chardonnay?
Brandy: I think they’re all very similar. I think Zoe is like Moesha all grown up. Moesha was very driven and all about her career and making her dreams come true. I think it took Zoe a long time to find out what that was, and with Chardonnay, she knew she wanted to do her thing. With Zoe, it took her 20 years to come out of the shadow of her ex-husband, and she just developed a lot later. But she’s doing it now and that’s all that matters.
EBONY: In a prior interview, you said that you went through a period of self-doubt before you did Chicago. How did you get through that?
Brandy: I got a hold of this book called The Power of Your Subconscious Mind, and I just started to change my thoughts and do things differently from what I was doing and things started to change. I started working out, I started to meditate, write my thoughts down and just clear all of the toxins out of my inner self. When I did Chicago, everything just really changed because I started to discover that this is what I’m born to do. I’m supposed to share, I’m supposed to sing, I’m supposed to connect with different audiences and just do my thing and inspire people.
EBONY: What inspires you to step out of your comfort zone?
Brandy: I get bored quick and I like to see what I’m made of. Like Dancing With the Stars for instance. I was so afraid to do that because I’ve never done ballroom dancing in my life. It was something I was so afraid to do, but I had to see if I was capable of doing it. If I never did it, I would have never known that I have a little pep in my step. I like to try new things because when you try new things, you discover different things about yourself.
EBONY: Can we expect another album from you soon? If so, is there anything you’re willing to share about what you’ve been working on?
Brandy: Of course! That’s number one on my bucket list. (laughs) [However], it’s not where I want it to be, but I’m working on it for sure.
EBONY: You often refer to yourself as “the Next Brandy.” What’s the inspiration behind that and what’s next for you?
Brandy: So many different things are happening. I felt that way when I did Chicago and moving forward into Zoe Ever After and music and everything else, it’s all happening and it’s all a new thing for me. All my dreams are coming true. So it’s the new me getting up and getting out there doing what I have to do. Of course, inspire my daughter as well and set an example that she can overcome anything and go after her dreams. It’s never too late.
EBONY: You’ve accomplished so much in your career, from music to sitcoms to Broadway. You could never be put in one box. Is there anything you haven’t done career-wise that you would like to do in the near future?
Brandy: I want to write a book about my life. I feel like there have been so many different moments in my life that can relate to a lot of people and touch a lot of people, and I think it would be great therapy for me as well. I would love to do that, one day.
Zoe Ever After premieres Tuesday, January 5 on BET.