Toni Braxton

Toni Braxton Biography

TONI BRAXTON is pop's hot new diva for the nineties. Since the then-unknown artist emerged on the 1992 soundtrack for the Eddie Murphy film Boomerang, her golden alto voice has become the Midas touch for hit singles, multi-million-selling albums, and all the awards you can imagine. But the success of "The First Lady of LaFace"--the label owned by equally golden writer-producers Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds and Antonio "L.A." Reid--was hardly a goal when Braxton was a child; she is making a kind of music she wasn't even allowed to listen to growing up.

The Braxton home in Severn, Maryland, adhered to the strict tenets of the Apostolic faith, of which Braxton's father was a minister. Women, for instance, were not allowed to wear pants, sandals, or makeup. And certainly no popular music was allowed. Not that Braxton and her five siblings (four sisters and one brother) were entirely in the dark: "I used to sneak Soul Train when my parents would leave the house to go shopping on Saturday," remembers Braxton, who sang in the church choir from an early age. Her technical skill came from her mother, an amateur opera singer, but watching the biggest R&B stars of the seventies on TV--particularly Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, and Quincy Jones--planted a different kind of seed. Things lightened up at home when Braxton was about eleven and her parents joined the less strict United Methodist faith.

Braxton eventually studied teaching at Bowie State University, but singing was her true passion. Her first break came after she and three of her sisters, performing as the Braxtons, signed to Arista Records and hit the low end of the Billboard R&B charts with "The Good Life." The record caught the attention of L.A. and Babyface, who signed Braxton to LaFace in 1991. Then another break: a pregnant Anita Baker bowed out of singing on the Boomerang soundtrack, which the two producers were overseeing. At Baker's suggestion, they threw a couple of tracks to Braxton: "Give U My Heart," a duet with Babyface, hit No. 29 on Billboard, while "Love Shoulda Brought You Home"--which also appeared on her debut album--hit No. 33. It was a fortuitous start.

Braxton's self-titled debut, meanwhile, sold more than seven million copies and earned her three Grammy Awards, three American Music Awards, and two Soul Train Music Awards. There were five hits from the album, all of which earned gold records. Babyface also used Braxton for the song "Let It Flow" on the award-winning soundtrack for the film Waiting To Exhale.

Her second album, Secrets, took eighteen months to produce and featured a somewhat flashier and sexier Braxton; the song "You're Makin' Me High"--which won a 1996 Billboard Award for Best R&B Single--deals with eroticism and masturbation. She also became more involved in creating her music, serving as co-executive producer and co-writing four of the album's songs. Secrets has turned into another multi-million-seller, and Braxton opened 1996 on the road with saxophonist Kenny G, who plays on the Secrets track "How Can An Angel Break My Heart." She cleaned up again at the 1997 Grammy Awards, winning Best Pop Female Vocal Performance for "Un-Break My Heart" and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for "You're Makin' Me High."

Besides music, Braxton is often asked about an acting career. She surely has the looks for it: People magazine listed her as one of the most beautiful women in the world. Braxton says acting is a consideration--she gets plenty of scripts, mostly for romantic comedies--but the woman who wasn't allowed to see Walt Disney films when she was growing up says she'd rather direct and produce.

Toni Braxton Bio from Discogs

Toni Braxton (born in Severn, Maryland, on 7 October, 1967) is an American singer and actress. Known for her husky alto voice, has won seven Grammy Awards and has sold over forty million records worldwide.

She was married to Mint Condition keyboardist Keri Lewis until they divorced in 2008. She is also the oldest cousin of rapper Xzibit.

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