Toni Michelle Braxton born October 7, is an American singer, songwriter, pianist, record producer, actress, television personality, and philanthropist.
Braxton has sold over 67 million records worldwide, including 41 million albums. In the late s, Braxton began performing with her sisters in a music group known as The Braxtons ; the group was signed to Arista Records.
After attracting the attention of producers Antonio "L. The album reached number one on the Billboard chart and sold 10 million copies worldwide.
Braxton experienced continued success with the albums Secrets , which included the U. Braxton's subsequent studio albums, More Than a Woman , Libra and Pulse , were released amid contractual disputes and health issues. Braxton is also a television executive producer and personality.
She competed in the seventh season of the reality competition series Dancing with the Stars. She has executive produced and starred in Braxton Family Values , a reality television series that has aired on We TV since Braxton is the eldest of six siblings. They were raised in a strict religious household,  and Braxton's first performing experience was singing in her church choir.
Braxton attended Bowie State University to obtain a teaching degree,  but decided to sing professionally after she was discovered by William E. Pettaway Jr.
Unbreak My Heart by Toni Braxton - A Special Message for Braxton Family Values Viewers
Don't Tell Me! Pettaway, working as an attendant at the Annapolis service station where she was refueling, recognized her from local performances and introduced himself, saying he wanted to produce her.
Toni braxton sisters images the book
Although skeptical, Braxton decided to, in her words, "take a chance" and accepted. Braxton and her four sisters Traci, Towanda, Trina, and Tamar began performing as The Braxtons in the late s and were signed to Arista Records in Their first single, " Good Life ", was released in Baker, who was pregnant at the time,  did not record the song but suggested that Braxton record it.
Braxton, meanwhile, was signed to Reid and Edmonds' Arista-distributed imprint, LaFace Records , and immediately began recording her solo debut album. Billboard albums chart. Billboard created the chart in September In June , Braxton released her second and most successful album, Secrets.
Our aim was to come up with material, that would have a familiar 'feel' to the people, who bought the first album without being musically redundant. Kelly , Tony Rich , and David Foster on the album.
With help from the album's first single, " You're Makin' Me High ", which became Braxton's first number-one hit on the Hot singles chart,  the album peaked at number two on the Billboard albums chart. Internationally, Secrets sold more than 15 million copies, thus cementing Braxton's superstar status.
By , Braxton had sold more than 20 million records; unfortunately, she was still waiting on her financial rewards, eventually launching an unsuccessful lawsuit against Arista and LaFace Records. Soon after, she filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy. Public reaction to these events was very harsh, having been expressed most clearly in an interview on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
It also marked the first time a black woman would star in a Disney musical on Broadway. In , the lawsuit against LaFace Records was settled and Braxton was given back all her possessions, giving her time to record The Heat , her first album in four years. By June , the song peaked at number two on the Hot chart and No. The Heat was released on April 25, , debuting at number two on the Billboard albums chart with first-week sales of , copies sold,  it remained in the top 20 for fifteen consecutive weeks.
Braxton again worked with producers Babyface and Foster; also included in the staple were Rodney Jerkins , and new beau musician Keri Lewis. Braxton took a more hands-on approach, co-writing and co-producing a handful of the tracks. The Heat was certified double platinum in the U. The Heat was nominated for many awards.
Words and Sounds Vol. In , she made her movie acting debut in the feature film Kingdom Come.
In , while gearing up for the release of her fourth studio album, Braxton discovered she was pregnant with her second child. Knowing that she would be unable to promote the album properly, she unsuccessfully lobbied Arista Records to get the label to postpone its release until after she was to give birth. Arista Records refused, and the album was released as planned. It received very little promotion from either Arista or Braxton herself, due in Braxton's case to the complicated pregnancy that had confined her to bed rest.
Braxton accused the company of being unwilling to compromise and punishing her for not putting her career over family. Opening to an instant commercial disappointment, the album peaked at number The first single, The Neptunes -produced " Hit the Freeway ", failed at radio and peaked at number 86 on the Hot The two singles, that followed "A Better Man", "Lies, Lies, Lies" were scrapped, failed to make a dent and missed the Hot completely.
Disapproving of Gotti broadcasting the unfinished track, Braxton withheld it from being released. In April , Braxton abruptly left Arista Records, having been there for 14 years, and immediately signed with Blackground Records , headed by Barry Hankerson , her manager at the time. She then starred in Aida as Aida beginning June 30, when she replaced Simone  and left the cast on November 16, where she was replaced by Michelle Williams.
She was to star in a half-hour sitcom pilot where she would play a version of herself for The WB Television Network 's fall —07 lineup, though plans to put the show into full-production fell through once The WB announced it would cease to exist in fall The album was originally planned for a June release, but it was pushed back several times and was finally issued on September Unfortunately for Braxton, her troubles with weak album promotion and lack of label commitment were not over.
Libra still managed to debut at number four on the Billboard selling , copies in the first week. Although that is strong for an album with little to no promotion, it became yet another commercial disappointment for Braxton. The failure was ascribed to the non-video presence of the single and lack of label support. The album was certified gold in late and has since sold , copies worldwide.
The song was also performed at the closing ceremonies making Braxton and Il Divo the first artists to be asked to perform for the opening and closing ceremonies. Braxton made an appearance on the season finale of American Idol 5 , where she performed Elvis Presley 's " In the Ghetto " with soon-to-be winner Taylor Hicks.
Braxton later confirmed that she was extending her show through to August Due to its success, it was reported that Braxton would extend her show through to August The show was later cancelled in order for Braxton to focus on her health. In an October concert at the Flamingo Las Vegas , Braxton broke down in tears while announcing to the audience that just before the concert began she had been told that her son, Diezel, had been diagnosed with autism.
The settlement also temporarily limited the companies with which Braxton can sign.
Braxton appeared on the seventh season of Dancing with the Stars ; her partner was Alec Mazo. In October Braxton signed to Atlantic Records.
The single has been released worldwide on May 3, The song also became a moderate hit in Europe, peaking at No. By November Braxton had separated from Lewis.
The former peaked at No. It also achieved moderate chart success around the world. In Canada, it debuted at No. It entered at No. In Switzerland, the album hit No.
Pulse , although a commercial flop, became Toni's first album to chart inside the European Top Albums since her album The Heat. On June 28, , Braxton posted a video for Woman. Braxton was included as part of the " We Are the World 25 for Haiti " remake of the hit " We Are the World " to help benefit the people of Haiti following the January 12, magnitude 7. The new version of the song was recorded on February 1, Lloyd's of London responded with a counter-suit seeking damages against Braxton and remarked that Braxton's policy was null and void because of an unrelated heart condition that the company was not made aware of at the time the application was filed.
Later that year rumors began circulating that Braxton was in talks to star in her own reality show with Bravo. Braxton would later confirm the rumors during an appearance on Ellen after a performance of her single "Make My Heart". Later that year Braxton confirmed work on her eighth studio album. Shortly after the release of I Heart You rumors began circulating that Braxton would soon retire. These rumors would later be confirmed by Braxton herself on February 7, Braxton flew to Canada to begin shooting for her lead role in Twist of Faith later that year.
Braxton appeared on Good Morning America to promote her new movie when she also confirmed the rumors of her retirement revealing that she is retiring from music and stated that she would like to focus on acting: "I have to do shows here and there, but I'm not gonna do any albums, I'm falling out of love with it, it's weird. I don't know what to say when I hear songs. They don't impact me.
I've been trying to listen to songs, record companies have been calling me, so it's a good situation to be in, but I'm not really interested at all".
This marked Braxton's seventh No. In September , it was announced that Braxton would make her return to Broadway alongside collaborator Babyface in Broadway's After Midnight. In it, Braxton said, she would discuss her career success and struggles and the self-healing she took charge of after her own diagnosis with the auto-immune disease lupus and her son's diagnosis with autism.
On May 14, , Braxton said she was headed back to the studio for an upcoming eighth album. She promised that a new single would be released before the end of the year.
The dates canceled were rescheduled for January 28 and 29, and kicked off the tour on in Detroit at the MotorCity Casino Hotel on October 12, I'm feeling better and better every day and I want to be at my best when performing for you all.
Stay tuned for more details.