Ray J, Hollywood, CA on December 4, 2011
|Birth name||William Ray Norwood Jr.|
|Also known as||Willie Norwood, Jr.|
|Born||January 17, 1981 
McComb, Mississippi, United States
|Origin||Carson, California, United States|
|Genres||R&B, hip hop, pop|
|Occupations||Singer, songwriter, actor, record producer, rapper|
|Labels||Atlantic, Knockout/Deja 34, E1, Koch Entertainment, Elektra|
|Associated acts||Brandy, Diplo, Gucci Mane Kim Kardashian|
William Raymond Norwood, Jr. (born January 17, 1981), better known by his stage name Ray J, is an American singer, record producer and actor. He is the son of gospel singer Willie Norwood and Sonja Bates-Norwood, the cousin of rapper Snoop Dogg and the younger brother of R&B singer Brandy.
Ray J was born William Raymond Norwood, Jr. in McComb, Mississippi and grew up in Carson, California. At age eight, he began auditioning for and appearing in television commercials; he played the foster son in The Sinbad Show.
Norwood was signed to Elektra Records in 1995 and recorded his debut album Everything You Want the next year. "Let It Go" appeared on the Set It Off soundtrack (Brandy also appeared on the soundtrack; and her song "Missing You" with Tamia, Chaka Khan and Gladys Knight peaked also at number 25). It peaked number 25 in the U.S. and number 11 in New Zealand. The second single peaked at number 54 on the U.S. R&B chart. In 1997, he performed in a television special with his sister Brandy but was dropped from the label. According to Bradley Torreano of allmusic, "his easygoing image and boyish looks appealed to the producers of Brandy's television show, Moesha", giving him a role on the UPN series starting in 1999 as Brandy's little cousin, D-Money. He produced, putting together the music for several commercials and a few of the demos for his second record.
Ray J recorded "Another Day In Paradise" with Brandy, which was a Top Ten success in Austria, UK, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Norway, Ireland, the Netherlands and number 11 in Australia and France. The song was the lead single of the R&B/Hip Hop tribute Urban Renewal, in which he co-produced and performed songs. Norwood also worked with The Neptunes, Rodney Jerkins and Lil' Kim, and several other producers and singers for his second studio album This Ain't A Game. The album was released in 2001. The lead single "Wait A Minute" peaked at #30 on the U.S. Hot 100 chart and #8 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. "Formal Invite" followed at #54 on the R&B chart.
In 2002, Norwood appeared in the video for his sister's "What About Us", which was produced by Jerkins, and was released as her third album, Full Moon's lead single during the first quarter of 2002 (see 2002 in music). While "What About Us?" entered the Top 20 on the majority of the charts it appeared on, it reached the Top 10 in Australia, Denmark, New Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, the UK, and the United States.
After a two year break, Ray J returned to recording studios, adding the finishing touches on his third studio album Raydiation with help from producers such as Rodney Jerkins, Timbaland, and R. Kelly. A joint venture by Sanctuary Records and Ray-J's own label, independent Knockout Entertainment, the album was finally released on September 27, 2005 in North America after several delays, debuting at number forty-eight on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 18,321 copies in the first week. Boosted by the album's lead single "One Wish," a top 20 success in Ireland, New Zealand, the UK, the U.S.. Raydiation eventually sold over 400,000 copies domestically.
Recently, Knockout Entertainment announced a multi-million dollar album deal with Koch Records and Shaquille O'Neal's "Deja 34" entertainment company. The first album for this deal is Ray J's fourth album All I Feel, which features The Game and Yung Berg among others. It was released on April 1, 2008. The album's first single is "Sexy Can I" featuring rapper Yung Berg peaked at number three on the Top Singles (Hot 100) for six weeks. A video for the track, directed by R. Malcolm Jones, was shot in December 2007.
Norwood recently starred in his own VH1 reality dating show, For the Love of Ray J. The show premiered on February 2, 2009. For his show on March 24, 2009 he released the soundtrack/studio album called For The Love Of Ray J. He dated Cocktail for several months before they split, partly due to rumors of Ray J dating Tila Tequila. On November 2, 2009 a second season of the show, For the Love of Ray J (season 2), premiered.
- Everything You Want (1997)
- This Ain't a Game (2001)
- Raydiation (2005)
- All I Feel (2008)
- Raydiation² (TBA)
- The Sinbad Show
- One on One
- Black Sash
- BET Countdown
- All That, guest singer
- Wild N Out
- For the Love of Ray J
- Torreano, Bradley. "Ray J - Biography". Allmusic. Miller Freeman. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/p202400. Retrieved 2008-12-05.
- "Ray J > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/p202400. Retrieved 2009-03-28.
- ""R&B Singer Ray J Readies 2008 Release of All I Feel"". http://www.singersroom.com/news/entertainment-story-1329.asp. Retrieved 2008-01-09.
- "UPN Adds Five Fresh New Faces To Ensemble Comedy "One On One" This Fall". http://www.thefutoncritic.com/news.aspx?id=20050809upn01. Retrieved 2007-03-10.
- HHWorlds.com - Ray J Signs W/Koch Taps Snoop, Game, & Lil Wayne Fore New LP (December 12, 2007)