I can’t believe that Toni Braxton has been in the music industry now for nearly 20 years! My, how time flies. I still remember her first single Breathe Again, and the short do she sported in the video. Short hair was to become her signature look in her early career and it suited her. Signed to LaFace Records in 1993, Toni certainly benefited from having legendary award-winning songwriting/music-making duo Babyface and L.A Reid executive producing her debut album. And gems featured on the set included aforementioned Breathe Again, Another Sad Love Song and How Many Ways.
LaFace were also responsible for the first record listeners ever heard her on, which was the sultry forthright ballad Love Should Have Bought You Home, which featured on the soundtrack for the Eddie Murphy movie Boomerang, which they also executive-produced, while Babyface co-wrote the song, as he had done with Breathe Again and Another sad Love song to name but two.
I still remember buying this soundtrack on cassette tape and noting how deep Toni’s voice was, but in a good way, and I absolutely loved the song!
Toni picked up two Grammys that year, including Best New Artist, and her success continued on follow-up albums such as her sophomore set Secrets, which produced number one hit You’re Makin’ Me High and her biggest hit to date Unbreak My Heart, and her 1999 album The Heat, which spawned the club smash He Wasn’t Man Enough. Throughout the years Toni picked up four more Grammys and a slew of other awards.
As well as bringing it with the music over the years Toni has also brought it with her fashion picks, from the short hair-cut, to the white catsuit she featured in the Makin’ Me High video, both which have no doubt inspired other female artists.
But with the highs has been some lows, and bankruptcy, divorce from former husband Keri Lewis (of the band Mint Condition) have all fallen into that category. She has also suffered from health issues in recent times, and was diagnosed with the heart disease microvascular angina. She has also had to deal with her youngest son Diesel’s autism. While in the UK doing promo for her brand new album Pulse (her sixth studio LP), we caught up with her to touch on some of this, as well as her role as a mum to sons Denham, 8 and Diesel, 7, and of course to take a trip down memory lane to discuss some of her old school favourites!
SOME OF TONI’S MOST MEMORABLE HITS