Brandy Reveals Her Darkest Moment of Depression and How Daughter Sy'rai Saved Her Life

Brandy's emotional new album B7 has been a long time coming – nearly eight years to be exact – and the R&B star says that's for good reason.

"I was a little bit lost eight years ago musically, creatively, spiritually," she tells PEOPLE in this week's cover story, opening up about the highs and lows of child stardom and her battle with depression. "I had to pull myself together, I had to pull it all together and make it all make sense."

For the 41-year-old star, born Brandy Norwood in Mississippi and raised in Carson, California, the last two decades have been a tumultuous rollercoaster ride. After bursting onto the music scene at the age of 15 with her self-titled debut album in 1994, Brandy soon shot to superstardom thanks in part to her 1998 acclaimed sophomore album Never Say Never, which earned her a Grammy for "The Boy Is Mine," her smash hit duet with Monica.

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She credits Sy'rai, now 18 and a 2020 high school graduate, with pulling her out of the darkness she felt. "If Sy'rai wasn’t here, I wouldn't be either," she says. "The place that I was in, it just felt like I wasn't going to make it through."

When it comes to songs like her new single "Borderline" or the album's ender "Bye Bipolar," Brandy — who clarifies she has not been diagnosed with bipolar disorder — says she had second thoughts about how candid she was being in her new music.

"I was thinking, 'Did I go too deep? Did I go too far in what I was singing about?' But I didn't dwell on those thoughts," she says. Staying on top of her mental health with therapy, meditation, journaling and her faith, Brandy says she's finally feeling back on track.

"I'm in a place now," says the singer, "where I can be proud of moving in the right direction."

B7 is currently available on all music streaming services.  For more on Brandy's life as a teen star and how she found peace after depression, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

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