Sent to you by moya via Google Reader:
I've been a Monica fan since she released her debut single Just One of Dem Days (Don't Take it Personal) at the tender age of 14 in 1994 (can't believe she was just 14 when she sung this song!). Both she and teen star Brandy debuted around the same time — Monica 1995 and Brandy 1994. Brandy had the sort of sweet teen pop virginal image which contrasted with Monica's smoky, urban more soulful one. The two collaborated on The Boy is Mine which earned them both a Grammy. I must admit, I was pretty obsessed with both stars growing up (we're all about the same age). While I think I related more to the image Brandy conveyed, I was more engaged with Monica's voice. Brandy sweetness was conveyed more readily and explicitly, Monica's tough girl, no-nonsense attitude was a stark contrast. (And I have to add that I was a fan of Moesha when it came out!)
Brandy's debut album Brandy was very commercially successful. Brandy's two subsequent albums Never Say Never and Full Moon were DEFINITELY her best ventures, Never Say Never being her best selling album to date. Flash forward to the present and both stars have had tumultuous personal lives that have stunted their careers and informed their presents. Monica's personal relationships have been erratic and painful — one of her exes killed himself in front of her, another ex C-Murder is serving a sentence for murder and she just recently broke up with her sons' father. Brandy, on the other hand, is also a single parent of a young girl and was involved in a car accident that cost the life someone in 2006. Though Brandy's debut and eventual rise were more successful than Monica's, I think Monica has more hope for a comeback than unfortunately Brandy ever will. After the fatal car accident, Brandy has kept a somewhat low profile, no album as critically acclaimed as Full Moon or popular as Never say Never. Her brother Ray J's pathetic Vh1 dating reality show for the Love of Ray J and soft porn career probably aren't helping matters much. Their reality show, Brandy and Ray J: A Family Business, is set to air in April and is perhaps her last, lackluster effort to engender staying power with the public. Monica's reality show, Still Standing, was an effort on the singer's part to not only let her fans into her life as she records her newest album but to also see her as a mother, partner, daughter and friend. Monica's core audience, while not as wide or diverse as Brandy's is almost certainly more loyal. I'm rooting for both Monica and Brandy but have more confidence in the strength of Monica's career.