Never Say Never is Brandy's sophomore album.
The album was released on June 8, 1998 on Atlantic Records. Brandy's record label consulted David Foster & Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins and his team to work with Brandy on the album.
Influenced by Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, Brandy wanted to present a more mature facet of herself with the album incorporating a ballad-heavy style and an adult contemporary feel into her urban-pop sound for the album.
Upon the album's release, "Never Say Never" facilitated Brandy in becoming a viable recording artist with media–crossing appeal.
The album debuted at number three on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 160,000 copies in its first week and remained 28 weeks within top 20 of the chart.
It became both her highest-charting and highest-selling album to date on most international markets, and won numerous awards and accolades including a Grammy Award for "Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal" for "The Boy Is Mine."
The album was supported by Brandy's "Never Say Never World Tour" in 1999 which featured sold-out performances in the United States, Europe, Asia, Africa and Canada.
"Never Say Never" is listed in the Top 100 best-selling albums in the United States.
After taking a musical break (which saw Brandy begin her acting career with her television sitcom "Moesha"), Brandy entered the recording studio in August of 1997 to work on her sophomore album.
The recording of the album was postponed several times due to Brandy being unsatisified with the material that was presented to her because she felt that many songs wouldn't express what she wanted to tell at this point in her career.
According to Brandy in a promotional interview with Jet magazine in 1999:
"Many of the songs I heard were not 'me' and If I can't feel it, then I won't sing it. I'm not the little girl I was when I made my first record. My voice is a strong instrument now; my vocals come from both my heart and my diaphragm. My heart because I matured in the four years since the last album; I'm more emotionally there."
One song that was written for Brandy was "Candy," but she disliked the song, feeling that she was too old for it.
The song was later given to pop star Mandy Moore two years later and became an international success.
The song was originally written as "I'll be forever yours Love always, Brandy" but when it was given to Mandy, it was changed to "I'll be forever yours Love always, Mandy."
In late 1997, Brandy requested Missy Elliott as one of the producers for her album.
While Atlantic Records refused the approach to have Brandy work with Missy Elliott, Timbaland and their team on the album, the label consulted David Foster and (then-newcomer) Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins to contribute to the project.
Jerkins would later go on to craft the majority of the album and evolve as the album's executive producer.
Brandy credited the chemistry with both producers with her musical growth, saying:
"They brought out the best in me, the vocals I didn't know I had."
- Intro (0:49)
- Angel in Disguise (4:48) (written by LaShawn Daniels, Traci Hale, Fred Jerkins II, Rodney Jerkins, Nycolia "Tye-V" Turman & Joseph Lewis Thomas; produced by Rodney Jerkins & Brandy)
- The Boy is Mine (feat. Monica) (4:55) (written by LaShawn Daniels, Fred Jerkins, Rodney Jerkins, Brandy Norwood & Japhe Tejeda; produced by Rodney Jerkins, Dallas Austin & Brandy Norwood)
- Learn the Hard Way (4:51) (written by LaShawn Daniels, Fred Jerkins, Rodney Jerkins, Sybil Jerkins Cherry, Brandy Norwood & Rick Williams; produced by Rodney Jerkins)
- Almost Doesn't Count (3:37) (written by Guy Roche & Shelly Peiken; produced by Guy Roche & Fred Jerkins)
- Top of the World (feat. Ma$e) (4:41) (written by Mason Betha, LaShawn Daniels, Fred Jerkins, Rodney Jerkins, Issac Phillips & N. Turman; produced by Rodney Jerkins)
- U Don't Know Me (Like U Used To) (4:28) (written by Sean Bryant, Paris Davis, Rodney Jerkins, Brandy Norwood & I. Phillips; produced by Rodney Jerkins)
- Never Say Never (5:10) (written by LaShawn Daniels, Rodney Jerkins, Fred Jerkins, Brandy Norwood, Japhe Tejada & Rick Williams; produced by Rodney Jerkins)
- Truthfully (4:58) (written by Harvey Mason Jr., Marc Nelson, Brad Gilderman and Rodney Jerkins; produced by Harvey Mason Jr. & Marc Nelson)
- Have You Ever? (4:32) (written by Diane Warren; produced by David Foster)
- Put That On Everything (4:51) (written by LaShawn Daniels, Rodney Jerkins, Fred Jerkins, Brandy Norwood & Japhe Tejada; produced by Rodney Jerkins & Fred Jerkins)
- In the Car (Interlude) (1:10)
- Happy (4:06) (written by LaShawn Daniels, Rodney Jerkins, Fred Jerkins, Brandy Norwood & Japhe Tejada; produced by Rodney Jerkins & Brandy Norwood)
- One Voice (4:08) (written by Phil Gladston & Gordon Chambers; produced by David Foster)
- Tomorrow (5:21) (written by LaShawn Daniels, Rodney Jerkins, Fred Jerkins, Brandy Norwood & Japhe Tejada; produced by Rodney Jerkins & Brandy Norwood)
- (Everything I Do) I Do It For You (4:10) (written by Bryan Adams, Michael Kamen & Robert John "Mutt" Lange; produced by David Foster)
"Never Say Never" debuted at number three on the Billboard 200, the official albums chart in the United States on June 16, 1998.
Selling approximately 160,000 units in its first week of release, it opened to Brandy's biggest week sales yet.
As of 2010, it still retains the largest first-week seller within her discography.
The following week, the album managed to climb up to its peak position on the chart, reaching number two even though its sales had dipped slightly to 152,000 copies.
In the end, the album spent a total of 72 weeks on the Billboard 200 (28 of which were in the top 20) and sold more than 4.6 million copies in the United States.
It was eventually certified quintuple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for more than 5 million shipped units including 4.4 million sold copies.
On the international front, the album received the following certifications: quadruple-platinum certification in Canada; platinum in Japan; platinum in Australia, New Zealand & South Africa; and gold in the UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Denmark, the Philippines, Indonesia & Malaysia.
To date, the album remains Brandy's biggest-selling effort with worldwide sales in excess of 16 million copies.
"Never Say Never" is the best-selling R&B album in the United States of 1998.