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Ray J
File:Ray J.JPG
Background information
Birth name William Raymond Norwood Jr.
Born January 17, 1981 (1981-01-17) (age 39) McComb, Mississippi
Origin Carson, California, United States
Genres R&B, hip-hop, pop
Occupations Singer, actor, record producer, rapper
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1996-present
Labels Atlantic, Knockout/Deja 34, E1, Koch Entertainment, Elektra
Associated acts Brandy, Willie Norwood, Snoop Dog, Lil' Kim, Rodney Jerkins, The Neptunes, R. Kelly, Timbaland, New Boyz,

William Raymond Norwood Jr. (born January 17, 1981),[1] 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 younger brother of R&B singer Brandy and the cousin of rapper Snoop Dogg.

Early life and career Edit

William Raymond Norwood Jr. was born in McComb, Mississippi to Willie Norwood, and Sonja Bates-Norwood. Norwood was born into a musically oriented family, his older sister Brandy is a multi-platinum recording artist, and his father Willie Norwood is a well known gospel-singer. Early in his life, he moved with his family from McComb, MS to Carson, CA, and in 1989 started appearing in television commercials for different companies. In 1989, at the age of eight, Norwood began auditioning for and appearing in television commercials; he played the foster son in "The Sinbad Show, from 1993-1994. This period in Norwood's life would shape his acting career to come.

Music careerEdit


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. 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 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 Dorian "D-Money". He produced, putting together the music for several commercials and a few of the demos for his second record.[1]


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.[2]


After a two year break, Norwood returned to recording studios, adding the finishing touches on his third studio album Raydiation with help from producers such as Rodney Jerkins, Timbaland, R. Kelly, and Rob Egerton. 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.[3]

In 2005, Norwood joined the cast of UPN's One On One,[4] where he played the character of D-Mack for the final season.

Recently, Knockout Entertainment announced a multi-million dollar album deal with Koch Records and Shaquille O'Neal's "Deja 34" entertainment company.[3] 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.[5] 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.[3] J stars in the Black Christmas movie Dark Christmas under the direction from Deon Taylor.[6]

Personal lifeEdit

Ray J was born William Raymond Norwood, Jr. in McComb, Mississippi and grew up in Carson, California.

In 2007, a pornographic home video was released of Norwood and then-girlfriend Kim Kardashian.[7]

In 2009, Norwood 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. On November 2, 2009, the show's second season premiered.


Main article: Ray J discography




See alsoEdit


External linksEdit

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