There was a time when Brandy was R&B royalty. From 1994 to 2002, she led a charge of young urban pop princesses—which also included Monica and the late Aaliyah. Her first three albums earned multiplatinum sales and spawned seven Top 10 hits, including “Sittin’ Up in My Room” and “Have You Ever.”

But after a four-year detour into TV, film, and motherhood, the Grammy winner is running into some snags while she tries to resuscitate her music career, which stalled following 2004’s Afrodisiac. Her fifth CD, Human, was initially due out on Nov. 11 but has now been delayed until Dec. 9. And its first single, “Right Here (Departed),” is struggling to connect with listeners—it’s currently at No. 83 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.

But despite those setbacks, a source close to the singer remains confident that her new CD will be well worth the wait: “She’s putting the finishing touches on some great songs and recently logged studio time with Timbaland in Miami.” That sounds promising. Let’s hope their work is as inspired as her sleek duet with John Legend (“Quickly”) on the dapper soul stirrer’s forthcoming disc, Evolver, out Oct. 28.