Brandy's Daughter Has Grown Up To Be Her Twin

The following article mentions mental health struggles.

Brandy's daughter, Sy'Rai Smith, is ready to make a name for herself in the entertainment industry. As the daughter of a famous musician and actor, Sy'Rai has grown up with many privileges, but there have been challenges, too. "It can be difficult for people to differentiate us because I've always been known as Brandy's daughter, so to create a persona for myself and not be tied to her may be a bit difficult," Sy'Rai told in 2023. (And yes, like her mom, she also goes by her first name professionally.)

As difficult as it may be, Sy'Rai has successfully emerged from her mom's shadow. While Brandy is, of course, ecstatic to see her daughter shine on her own, she never wanted to rush this chapter. "I'm also able to protect my daughter. I'm able to give her advice and let her know that she has a lot of time. She can grow up a lot without having to be in front of the public eye," Brandy told Rolling Stone in a 2020 interview. She shared a similar sentiment in a 2020 chat with Zane Lowe. "My daughter wants to follow in my footsteps in terms of music and getting out there, and I'm really afraid for her to do that," she said. "I'm very overprotective because fame can kill you. It really can if you're not careful."

Now that she is all grown up, Sy'Rai Smith is ready to take the spotlight and sit on top of the world. 

She was raised by a single mom

Brandy Rayana Norwood became a mother in 2002 when her daughter, Sy'Rai Smith, was born. Sy'Rai's father is producer and songwriter Robert Smith, also known as Big Bert. Brandy and Robert's relationship ended when Sy'Rai was a toddler. In 2004, Entertainment Weekly reported that Robert said he and Brandy shared custody.

Before Sy'Rai arrived, Brandy said she and Robert had already tied the knot. However, Robert went on to reveal they never actually wed. Years later, Brandy spoke with Oprah Winfrey about her "fib." "At that time, being pregnant out of wedlock was not a trend," the singer said. "I thought that everything that I had worked hard for and everything that I had worked to build, the image that I worked so hard to build, was threatened." After the news broke, Brandy was judged unfairly — just as she feared. "It changed people's perspective of me, but I had to focus on what was important, which was Sy'rai," she told People.

Brandy embraced motherhood with both arms straight away. "I love being a mom, and I'm raising her in a different way than how I was raised," she told Parade in 2010. "I would love for people to see how I'm doing it because I think I could be a good example of a young, single mom."

Brandy and Sy'Rai are 'best friends'

Brandy and Sy'Rai Smith share a strong bond. In a 2022 interview with Vibe, Sy'Rai referred to Brandy as her "best friend." "We do regular mom-daughter stuff," she said. "We go see movies, and then sometimes we just chill at the house and not do anything." What's more, Brandy is Sy'Rai's biggest cheerleader and has long made a point of instilling confidence in her kid. "She always was supportive. She always knew that I was beautiful," Sy'Rai said on a 2021 episode of "The Real." "She always told me that I was beautiful. Always."

In February 2023, Sy'Rai took to Instagram to wish Brandy a happy birthday and let the internet know how much her mom means to her. "Happy birthday to my favorite person ever!!!" she wrote. "Words can not describe how much I love you and how inspirational you are to me. You have developed me into a phenomenal woman, and I owe you the world."

It was always important to Brandy that she be her daughter's friend. "A lot of mothers feel like they're the mom first, with that authority," she told Parade in 2010. "But for me, I'm a friend first. I believe that just being there for my daughter as a friend more than 'I'm in charge...' causes her to be more open with me as a person." The strategy appears to have worked for Brandy and Sy'Rai.

Sy'Rai has struggled with health problems

On the aforementioned episode of "The Real," Sy'Rai Smith talked about her experiences with altering her lifestyle for the sake of her health. ​​"I changed my mindset, changed my mentality, and I knew that being in the body I was in, I knew my life wasn't going to be as long." She said her goal was to be "healthy," and her weight loss was a byproduct of this. She also noted that her mom, Brandy, was there for her every step of the way.

On a 2022 episode of the "Jst Us" podcast, Sy'Rai opened up again about her health journey and weight loss. "It wasn't ever for vanity reasons," she said. "It was just so scary to be told at 18 that you can die at any moment. ... I was pre-diabetic, I had sleep apnea, I was severely anemic, I had a couple of blood transfusions," she said. "It was crazy how unhealthy I was, and it was because of my weight." 

In 2022, Sy'Rai told Vibe that facing such serious health issues when she was only just a kid not only shaped her overall life perspective, but motivated her to finally pursue her music career dreams. "[L]ife is not promised," she said. 

Sy'Rai helped Brandy through depression

Brandy has opened up about her mental health, specifically her depression, which hit hard after she was involved in a fatal car accident. In 2006, Brandy's SUV rear-ended another car, creating a tragic chain reaction. A woman named Awatef Aboudihaj died from injuries sustained in the crash.

"I remember laying in bed super depressed," Brandy told People in 2020. "I [told] myself, 'So, you're just going to go out like this? That's wack. You have a daughter. If you can't do it for yourself, do it for her because this is not the way to leave a mark in her life.'" Her daughter was the motivation she needed to focus on her mental health. "If Sy'Rai wasn't here, I wouldn't be either," she said. "The place that I was in, it just felt like I wasn't going to make it through."

The love between Brandy and Sy'Rai Smith is undeniable, and becoming a mother changed the "The Boy Is Mine" singer's life immeasurably. As Brandy wrote in a 2023 Instagram message to her daughter, "You've made me so proud of you and the woman you are becoming. Continue to be a light and the beautiful soul you are born to be."

She struggled with being compared to her mom

Brandy has enjoyed a long and successful career, which has allowed her to provide for her daughter. While Sy'Rai Smith has grown up with opportunities and experiences that non-celebrities may not have had, she has also faced struggles. "Money doesn't solve a lot of internal problems or mental problems," she said in a 2022 interview with Vibe.

From an early age, Sy'Rai felt insecure about her appearance. As she shared on "The Real," "Seeing my mom dress a certain way or wear certain things, when she was on carpets or on set, it was kind of difficult because it was like, 'Why am I not that way? Why am I not that size? Why was I made the way I was made?'" 

As the daughter of a revered singer, Sy'Rai understands that her own singing career is subject to an intense amount of scrutiny. "That pressure? That scares me. I just really want people to understand that there is a difference," she told Vibe. "I am me, and my mom is my mom." While she hopes to pave her own path in the industry, Sy'Rai never shies away from giving credit to the person who played an integral role in inspiring her to take that path. As she once gushed in a chat with Togethxr, "The first time I saw [Brandy] perform, I just knew I wanted to sing. I wanted to perform"  

Brandy has praised her daughter for being 'brave'

Brandy is incredibly proud of the young woman she has raised, and she wants the world to know it. When Sy'Rai Smith appeared on "The Real" in 2021 to talk about her health journey, the "I Wanna Be Down" singer was quick to posted about the interview on Instagram. In the caption, Brandy called Sy'Rai an "amazing human being." She added, "I love your spirit and your smile. So brave to walk in your purpose and shine in your truth."

Bravery is not the only quality that Brandy has praised her daughter for. "You are a beautiful soul with a heart of gold," Brandy wrote on Instagram in 2019. "I thank God for you every day."

In 2022, Brandy sang her daughter's praises on social media once again. "You are the reason I was born way back when on this day," Brandy wrote on Instagram for Sy'Rai's birthday. "Thank you for giving me more purpose and passion for life. You saved me. I love you infinitely and unconditionally."

Sy'Rai's mom has taught her important life lessons

Sy'Rai Smith has nothing but praise for the way her mother raised her, but she does acknowledge that she did not have the most traditional childhood. "My mom had to go and work. ... I didn't understand why my mom was not there until I turned 15. ... Don't get me wrong, my mom was there as much as she could," she told Blavity in 2023. "But at the same time, some nights I didn't get to sleep for six, seven hours. I had to be on set until 3:00 AM." While this might sound like a lot for a kid, Sy'Rai took it all in stride. As she said in a Togethxr feature, "It was never hard to share my mom with the world, only because I was so used to it."

In addition to learning about the ins and outs of show business from her mom, Sy'Rai has also learned a lot about how to be a good and strong person. When Vibe asked about Brandy's "life lessons," Sy'Rai offered a few examples: "Just to really be independent and know your value in this world, and not everybody deserves to be in your life." Sy'Rai also commended her mother for her kindness and shared that it was a quality she wanted.

She describes her life as 'normal'

Some kids of celebrities live lavish lives that are full of over-the-top birthday parties and trips on private planes. Sy'Rai Smith, on the other hand, calls her life "normal."

"I'm so normal. People don't realize I'm home most of the time," she told Vibe. "I don't like going out much. I just recently started picking back up and going back out. But I love regular things: shopping, going to amusement parks, arcades ... then some days I like going to dinner." And when she's not doing these things, she's studying or spending time with her cats.

Brandy, of course, did not have a "normal" childhood. She became incredibly famous when she was still a teenager, and she did not want the same for her daughter. And even though Sy'Rai began showing an interest in performing when she was a kid, Brandy kept her out of the spotlight. In a 2010 interview with Parade, the "Missing You singer said she that while she would support her daughter's decision to work in the entertainment industry, she wasn't going to rush things. "[I]f it were my choice, I'd keep her out of it as long as I could," she said.

She appeared on Family Legacy

In 2023, Sy'Rai Smith joined the cast of the docuseries "MTV's Family Legacy." The Paramount+ program invites the children of music industry legends to revisit moments from their and careers. Other participants include Notorious B.I.G.'s son, C.J. Wallace; Dallas Austin and Rozanda "Chilli" Thomas' son, Tron Austin; and Chester Bennington's son, Draven Bennington. 

In a 2023 interview with Blavity, Sy'Rai called the experience "amazing." "Everything I kind of knew about but to revisit it is just crazy — seeing myself being born on T.V. or seeing my mom perform or her winning an award ... all of it was just extremely fun," she said. 

On an episode of "From Christal XO," Sy'Rai shared some of the moments that really stuck out to her, including Brandy's "Punk'd" episode. But the top highlight? "Honestly, my favorite thing, it's going to sound so conceited, but I really loved seeing her pregnant with my dad," she said with a laugh, noting how naturally funny her mom is. "It's different to see her [pregnant] in pictures, but to see her, like, walk around and eat crustaceans every other day and be in the studio ... just like how they were before I was there." 

Sy'Rai has followed in her mom's footsteps

Musical talent is in Sy'Rai Smith's blood, but pursuing singing professionally has been challenging. In her interview with Vibe, she acknowledges her mother's fame and the platform it has given her, but she has also been wary of disappointing people. Luckily, despite her initial hesitations, this has not stopped her. In 2020, Sy'Rai collaborated with her mother on the song "High Heels." Two years later, they teamed up again for "Nothing Without You." In a 2020 interview with Rolling Stone, Brandy gushed about the experience of working with her daughter. "So much fun! ... She's just so talented," she said. "I love the way our voices sound together." 

By 2023, Sy'Rai was ready to go solo. That year, she released her fittingly titled debut solo, "On My Own." Before Sy'Rai dropped her debut solo track, her mother could not contain her excitement. "Her music is fire, and I've just been listening to that and trying to help her decide what songs she should come out with," she told E! News in 2022. 

In the aforementioned Togethxr video, Sy'Rai shared that her career is bigger than her love of music. "I'm my mom's only kid. ... So, I just really feel like it's all up to me. I just want to continue our legacy," she said.

Both she and her mama are big fans of Beyoncé

Sy'Rai Smith inherited Brandy's musical talent and her love of Beyoncé. As Sy'Rai told Vibe in 2022, Queen Bey has long been a part of her life. "I used to have this CD player in my room, and I would literally just listen to Justin Bieber, Chris Brown, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, and my mom," she said. "I would go home and just sit there, and dance and have a brush in my hand and pretend I was on stage.

Brandy and Beyoncé, of course, both became household names in the '90s. Now, there have been some whispers about the pair's dynamic, but in 2017, the former took to Twitter to shut down any lingering feud rumors. "This is simply not the truth! Period," she wrote. "I would never disrespect greatness, I'm too humble for that. Nothing else to be said."

In September 2023, Sy'Rai and Brandy attended Beyoncé's Renaissance World Tour in Los Angeles and documented the occasion on social media. They also brought the style, with Sy'Rai wearing a custom-made dress by Michy Milli and Brandy in a shimmering silver gown. "Thank you, my sweet girl, for taking your Mom out on the town," she wrote on Instagram. This mother-daughter duo sure does quality time right.

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.