|Single by Brandy|
|from the album Full Moon|
|Released||September 17, 2002|
|Brandy singles chronology|
"He Is" is a song by American singer Brandy Norwood from her third studio album Full Moon (2002). It was written by Warryn Campbell, Harold Lilly and Norwood, with production handled by the former two. Conceived during spiritual discussions with Norwood, Campbell and Lilly conceptualized the pop- and R&B-influenced ballad secretly as a soul song as they were keen to hear her sing a religious track, a genre which Norwood declined to record at that time. Lyrically speaking about God in third person, Norwood was unaware, "He Is" was not a relationship song when she recorded her vocals for it.
The song was released as the album's third and final single in September 2002. It received a mixed reception by music critics, many of whom applauded Norwood's vocal performance and the sparse production, but dismissed "He Is" as a weak single choice. Commercially, the track failed to reprise the success of the album's previous singles "What About Us?" and "Full Moon"; while the track failed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, it reached number 78 on the official Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart. Norwood, who was well into her pregnancy at the time of its release, was unavailable to promote the single or film a music video.
Producer Warryn Campbell met Brandy Norwood at age 15 when he started playing keyboards in her live band. Though he left the band two years later to pursue a career in music production, the pair reteamed in 2001 along with songwriter Harold Lilly to collaborate on Norwood's third studio album Full Moon. During the first month they worked together, Campbell, Lilly, and Norwood discussed spirituality. Norwood, who was raised in a Christian household, read a lot of religion and spiritual texts as that time, but while conversations prompted Campbell to ask Norwood to record a gospel song, Norwood declined. Determined to get Norwood to sing a gospel song however, Campbell convinced Lilly to craft a song which would speak discreetly about God in third person. Though Norwood later joined the couple for additional writing on the track, Campbell and Lilly kept the initial meaning of the song a secret until its single release. In an interview with Yahoo! Music in August 2002, Campbell revealed, "I've never told [Brandy]. She still don't know. She thinks it's about birth. And I wanted her to sing it like it's about birth. That gave it that push. She has probably figured it out by now."
In his review for Billboard wrote that "the slow jam offers a sensual groove, with the sparse production leaving ample room for a vocal spotlight". He however noted, that "unfortunately, the track prioritizes style over melody, and the simple chorus – using only three notes – does not include much of a hook. The cut certainly makes for good music, fitting for quiet-storm shows, but as a single, it would have a hard time standing out on radio." Allmusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine ranked the song among his three favorite tracks on the Full Moon album along with the title track and "What About Us?".
Formats and track listings
|US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)||78|
- Checkoway, Laura (2003-02-01). "Track Master". Vibe. Google Books. Retrieved 2012-10-01.
- Johnson, Billy Jr. (2002-08-02). "Brandy Producer Reveals Secret Meaning Behind New Single, 'He Is'". Yahoo! Music. Archived from the original on 2012-10-01. Retrieved 2012-10-01.
- Taylor, Chuck (2002-09-28). "Reviews & Previews". Billboard. Google Books. Retrieved 2012-10-01.
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "(((Full Moon > Overview)))". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-03-06.
- "Brandy – Chart history" Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for Brandy. Retrieved 2011-05-23.