Toni Braxton

Born on October 7th, 1967 in Severn, Maryland, Toni Braxton was raised on the east coast of the USA in a strict religious household. Along with her four sisters – Traci, Trina, Towanda and Tamar – her first performance was as part of family group The Braxtons. They enjoyed some success with the 1990's track “The Good Life”, but fame really knocked on the door when Toni was noticed by heavyweight producers Antonio 'L.A.' Reid and Kenneth 'Babyface' Edmonds. Signing her to Arista-distributed imprint LaFace Records, a solo career beckoned and self-titled album Toni Braxton was released in 1993. She was immediately hailed as the new Whitney Houston and the host of Grammy Awards that rolled in went some way to proving that. Despite further success with her second album Secrets, Braxton filed for bankruptcy in 1998 after problems with her record company. However, she proved irrepressible, making a comeback in 2000 with third studio album The Heat and a $25 million record deal. Her star finally waned when she later fell pregnant and released her next album to a disappointed audience. A change of record label followed, but the albums More Than a Woman, Libra and Pulse failed to reach the heights of her previous work. In 2011 she starred, alongside members of her family, in reality show Braxton Family Values. The series followed Braxton's relationship with her mother and sisters and the separation from her estranged husband Keri Lewis. She released a new collaborative album, Love, Marriage and Divorce, in 2013, which consisted entirely of duets with Babyface. The album's lead single “Hurt You” claimed the number one spot on the Billboard Adult R&B Songs Chart and won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Album in 2015. In 2016 she released her eighth studio album Sex & Cigarettes, with the lead single “Deadwood” reaching number seven in the US Adult R&B Songs Chart and the second, “Long As I Live”, making number eleven with its release in 2018. Its 2020 follow-up, Spell My Name, proved to be the least successful of her career, peaking at just #163 on the Billboard 200 in stark contrast to the #22 position of its predecessor. Nonetheless, singles “Do It” and “Gotta Move On” both topped the Billboard Adult R&B Songs chart, and the LP was welcomed by critics, with Variety praising the abundance of material on it written by Toni Braxton herself.

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