For years, people often referred to Willie Ray “Ray J” Norwood, Jr. as “Brandy’s brother.” It was Brandy’s brother that landed his first TV role as LJ Buckley on FOX’s The Sinbad Show in 1994. Two year’s later, he played Brandy’s brother, Dorian, on UPN’s Moesha. He was even seen as Brandy’s brother when he dropped his self-titled debut album in 1997. But when a now 37-year-old Ray J released his third album, Raydiation, which housed tracks like “One Wish,” in 2005, he transformed from someone’s baby brother to a Hollywood socialite who always knew how to throw an epic party.
Then he switched things up again, and evolved into a reality TV star.
It’s been more than entertaining to watch Willie Ray Jr. as a reality TV star who’s appeared on a multitude of shows including Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta and his own dating show, For the Love of Ray J, the current version of Ray J may be the most intriguing so far.
Ray J is happily married — to his LHHH co-star, Princess Love — and celebrating the arrival of his first: a now three-week-old daughter named Melody Love Norwood.
“I already knew this was going to be a new feeling I had to get used to, but there were times that I would honestly be kind of nervous,” he told The Source.
Ray’s also making waves on the business front. He recently landed a $31 million deal for his Raycon electronics brand, which houses everything from smartwatches to his social media crazed Scoot-E Bike.
On the go — as a new father and the Chief Strategy Officer of his own brand — Ray J opened up to The Source about his latest life transition, what he’s looking forward to on his first Father’s Day and his ideas on taking music and technology to the next level.
The Source: First, congratulations on your daughter.
Ray J: Thank you, man. God is good. True blessing man from up above.
You are almost a month in the fatherhood. How have your experiences gone so far?
It’s been really, really special man. The baby’s been just learning how to look and use her hands and just try to figure out what’s going on in life. So just watching her do expressions. I’ve been at the house 24/7, just making sure I don’t miss nothing.
The process of caring for a pregnant wife to tending to an actual child can be a process. What has this new chapter in life taught you about yourself so far?
Well, it’s helped me grow as a person and to have a lot more substance than just what I do and represent. The process of it just made me realize how much more special just a woman is in general, and what she does for us. And for me, I have to go out now and represent that and speak on that.
“The feeling I had when I saw my baby was an emotional feeling from God that I’ve never felt before.”
What was going through your head the first time you saw your daughter?
You know, I didn’t know I was a crybaby. I didn’t know I could cry that much. I was in that room, but I couldn’t stop crying. It was very unfamiliar territory. I’ve seen people in church feel the Holy Ghost, and I didn’t know if they was really feeling it. I was like, they making these crazy moves and doing these dance moves, but I don’t know if that was real. The feeling I had when I saw my baby was an emotional feeling from God that I’ve never felt before. I just really saw God and the beauty of having a baby and just somebody new coming into your life. I was able to experience God in just a whole other unreal way.
I love my daughter sooo much and I can’t thank God enough for givin this #blessing to @princesslove and me!!! U can start calling me the best #dad in history!! Never had a feeling like this IN MY LIFE i’m so grateful for what Ive been blessed with! my beautiful baby girl! truly life changin #familyfirst #NewDad
What was going through your head when you found out you were having a girl?
I knew I was having a girl, and I was excited about it! I knew that she would change my life and that I would have to make sure I made some adjustments in my life to make sure that she was comfortable and make sure that my wife was comfortable. But the experience of seeing [Melody] and her actually coming here and actually being a part of my life was just life-changing. I’ve never ever, ever felt nothing that special. So knowing she was coming was one thing, but when she arrived it just, it hit me like a thunderstorm fam, in the most positive way.
You introduced your daughter to the world via OK! magazine, and have posted a series of photos on Instagram ever since. Will you continue to keep her in the spotlight and show her growing up?
We keep a lot of things private, but at the same time, for me, the world has watched me grow up and go through ups and downs. A lot of bad times…so I didn’t know why wouldn’t I show all of the great times. Why just show the bad times? Why not show the most special times in my life where it could help other people really grow as parents and grow as people as well? I’m on a positive run, and I want people to go on this positive run with me. Right now it’s time to go on a run that’s unforgettable that parents and the kids can go on, G-rated.
How have fans reacted to the new G-rated lifestyle you’re showing?
This is just where I am in my life. The fans and the people that watch me know what’s real and what’s not. It’s G-rated because my daughter is a kid, and she’s growing up and that’s how it’s supposed to be. I think people are connecting with it because it’s real, and I’m honest with my feelings. I’m not afraid to switch it on people and just say listen, “Man, I’m good with what I was. I’m moving onto just a better place in my life.” I think people respect that when you can turn up and be lit and do what you do as a young man.
“This is just where I am in my life.”
Your first Father’s Day is Sunday. How do you hope to spend the day?
I really don’t know yet. I dedicated my song “Melody” to my daughter, and I did a video when my wife was in labor for 30 hours almost. So I had some time to just go out and reflect on what was happening. I started playing my song “Melody” and I just started to record this personal video for her and it turned out to be really nice. I’m going to release it on Friday for Father’s Day. To show how much love I have for my baby and to show how much we should represent our kids.
When you’re not on daddy duty, you’re going hard with your Raycon brand. What are some go-to gifts for fathers this weekend?
The drones are really cool. You can grab the headphones, the speaker systems, and of course, they would love a Scoot-E Bike. You know, that would be the ultimate gift. But if you don’t want to go that big, just make sure you grab them some cool headphones or something or some cool drones. I think they will really appreciate that.
How do you find a balance as a business executive and a new father?
Going into this corporate technology business and looking at it from more of a strategic marketing officer [perspective] then coming home to my baby is a much better work process than the need of going out and touring all the time, being on the road as an artist. I’m happy to make this technology transition and have the baby at the same time. I think it’s a little bit harder to be on tour and always be out of town.
Even though you’re enjoying a new chapter as a father and tech man, do you think you’ll ever go back to being a full-time artist again?
I think while always integrate music into the technology. So I mean of course I’m going to do a One Wish Tour coming up, maybe like at the end of the year for the holiday. I’m re-releasing Raydiation with 13 new songs. A deluxe edition called Raydiation 13. So 13 songs and the old album as well. I’m going back to my roots. I’m going back to the songs that people were really connecting with me on, and we’re going to start with the “Melody” record. Then, I’m going to build from there. We got a “Blue High Heels” video and then we got a bunch of new songs for right now.
What advice do you have for new fathers or fathers-to-be?
Take care of [the] woman who’s having the baby. She’s all that matter[s]: making sure she’s comfortable and making sure she’s content with where she is as far as her environment [and] the people she’s around. Your support should be at an all-time high.