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EXCLUSIVE: Brandy on ESSENCE Fest Performance and Honoring Whitney Houston

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Brandy at the 2013 ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans.
Photo Credit: Michael Rowe

It's hard to believe that after a 19-year career, this was Brandy's first performance at the ESSENCE Festival. The recently-engaged Grammy winner was ready for the momentous challenge of singing in front of a sold-out audience at the Superdome. "I was so excited and so anxious," she tells ESSENCE.com. "Every emotion you can think of was in my body." Brandy also performed a tribute to her mentor Whitney Houston, singing hits like "I'm Your Baby Tonight" and "I Wanna Dance with Somebody."

"I wouldn't be the artist I am if it weren't for her influence," she said.