Toni Michele Braxton (1967- )

Toni Braxton
Toni Braxton in 2015
Courtesy of Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

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Toni Michele Braxton is an R&B singer, songwriter, and actress. Braxton was born on October 7, 1967, to Michael Conrad Braxton Sr, a Methodist clergyman, and Evelyn Jackson Braxton, opera singer, and cosmetologist, in Severn, Maryland. Braxton is the eldest of six siblings. Growing up, Braxton sang in the church choir. She briefly attended Bowie State University but dropped out to sing professionally. William E. Pattaway Jr. discovered her.

During the late 1980s, Braxton and her four sisters, Traci, Towanda, Trina, and Tamar, began performing as a group called The Braxtons. In 1989, the Braxtons were signed to Arista Records. The group released a single a year later named “Good Life.” The single wasn’t successful, but it caught the attention of record executive Antonio “LA” Reid and record producer Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds. Braxton signed with their record label, LaFace Records.

In 1993, Braxton released her debut solo album, Toni Braxton. The album which included the singles “Another Sad Love Song,” “Breathe Again,” “Seven Whole Days,” “You Mean the World to Me, and “I Belong to You/”How Many Ways,” sold six million units and was certified multi-platinum. The album also earned numerous awards including three Grammy awards (1994 and 1995) and two American Music Awards (1994 and 1995).

In 1996, Braxton released her second album, Secrets which included the singles “You’re Makin Me High”/”Let It Flow,” “Un-Break My Heart,” “I Don’t Want To”/I Love Me Some Him,” and “How Could An Angel Break My Heart.” This album sold eight million units and was certified multi-platinum. Braxton also won two Grammy Awards, one for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and the other for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. She also won two American Music Awards for Favorite Female Soul/R&B Artist and Favorite Soul/R&B Album.

In 2000, Braxton released her third album, The Heat which featured the singles “He wasn’t Man Enough,” “Just Be a Man About It,” “Spanish Guitar,” and “Maybe.” This album sold two million units, was certified platinum, and won a Grammy at the 2001 Grammy Awards for Best R&B Album. Braxton released other studio albums during her career, including Snowflakes (2001), More Than A Woman (2002), Libra (2005), Pulse (2010), Love, Marriage, and Divorce (2014), Sex and Cigerettes (2018), and Spell My Name (2020), but none were as successful as her first three albums.

Braxton also appeared in movies including Kingdom Come (2001), Play’d: A Hip Hop Story (2002), Toni Braxton: Unbreak My Heart (2016), and Fallen Angels Murder Club (2022). From 2011 to 2020 Braxton starred in her reality TV show called the Braxton Family Values with her sisters. Braxton has been involved in several controversies during her career despite her accomplishments. In 1996, she launched an unsuccessful lawsuit against Arista and LaFace Records claiming they withheld royalties she earned. She also filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy soon afterwards. In 2010, she was diagnosed with Lupus, a potentially life-threatening autoimmune disease.

Braxton married Mint Condition member Keri Lewis in 2001. The couple had two children named Denim Cole Braxton-Lewis (Born 2001) and Diezel Ky Braxton-Lewis (Born 2003). The couple divorced in 2013. In 2016, Braxton started a relationship with Cash Money Records founder Bryan Christopher “Birdman” Williams. She remains in the entertainment business as of 2022.

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