Toni Michele Braxton, who was born on October 7, 1967, is an American R&B singer, actress, songwriter, and television personality. She is renowned for selling over 70 million records globally, making her one of the most successful female artists in history. Braxton has won numerous awards, including seven Grammy Awards, nine Billboard Music Awards, and seven American Music Awards, among others. In 2011, she was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, while in 2017, she was honored with the Legend Award at the Soul Train Music Awards. Braxton began her music career in the late 1980s, performing with her sisters in a music group known as The Braxtons, which was signed to Arista Records. She later caught the attention of producers Antonio “L.A.” Reid and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, and was signed to LaFace Records. In 1993, Braxton released her self-titled debut studio album, which sold 10 million copies worldwide and reached number one on the Billboard 200 chart. The album brought her three Grammy Awards, including the Grammy for Best New Artist. Braxton continued to experience success with her subsequent studio albums, including Secrets (1996), which included the U.S. #1 hit singles “You’re Makin’ Me High/Let It Flow” and “Un-Break My Heart,” and The Heat (2000), which opened at #2 on the Billboard 200 and included the U.S. #2 hit single “He Wasn’t Man Enough.” Despite contractual disputes and health issues, Braxton released More Than a Woman (2002), Libra (2005), and Pulse (2010). In 2014, Braxton and longtime collaborator Babyface released a duet album entitled Love, Marriage & Divorce, which earned them a Grammy Award for Best R&B Album in 2015. She has also worked as a television executive producer and personality, having competed in the seventh season of the reality competition series Dancing with the Stars. Braxton has executive produced and starred in Braxton Family Values, a reality television series that aired on We TV from 2011 to 2020. Additionally, she was an executive producer of Tamar & Vince, a spinoff reality TV series starring her younger sister, Tamar.
Toni Michele Braxton was born on October 7, 1967, in Severn, Maryland. Her parents were Michael Conrad Braxton Sr., a Methodist clergyman and power company worker, and Evelyn Jackson, a former opera singer and cosmetologist who also worked as a pastor. Braxton’s maternal grandfather was also a pastor. She was the eldest of six siblings and grew up in a strict religious household. Braxton’s first experience singing was in her church choir. She attended Bowie State University to become a teacher but decided to pursue a career in music after being discovered by William E. Pettaway Jr., who recognized her from local performances while she was refueling at a gas station. Despite her initial skepticism, Braxton decided to take a chance and accepted Pettaway’s offer to produce her.
In the late 1980s, Braxton and her four sisters formed a group called The Braxtons and signed with Arista Records in 1989. Their debut single, “Good Life,” was released in 1990 but did not achieve success. However, it caught the attention of record executive Antonio “L.A.” Reid and record producer Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds. They asked Braxton to record a demo of “Love Shoulda Brought You Home,” a song they had written for Anita Baker for the soundtrack of Eddie Murphy’s film, Boomerang. When Baker, who was pregnant at the time, declined to record the song, she suggested that Braxton do it. The song was included on the soundtrack along with “Give U My Heart,” a duet by Braxton and Babyface. Braxton was then signed to LaFace Records, a label distributed by Arista, and began recording her solo debut album. In July 1993, LaFace released Braxton’s self-titled debut album, produced primarily by Reid, Babyface, and Daryl Simmons. It reached number one on the US Billboard 200 and the top ten of the albums chart in several countries. The first single, “Another Sad Love Song,” reached number seven on the Billboard Hot 100 and number two on the R&B Singles chart. The album’s second single, “Breathe Again,” also performed well on both charts and reached number two in the UK. Additional singles from Toni Braxton were released in 1994, including “You Mean the World to Me,” “Seven Whole Days,” and “I Belong to You/How Many Ways.” Braxton’s debut album won her several awards, including three Grammy Awards and three American Music Awards. It was certified 8× platinum in the US and has sold over 10 million copies worldwide.
Toni Braxton rose to fame in the R&B genre with the release of her debut album. LA Reid referred to her as the “first lady of LaFace” and their diva, comparing her to Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. The BBC praised her album as a blend of mature soul and urban music, making it popular among the hip hop generation. Braxton’s career has been a massive success, selling over 70 million records worldwide, including 40 million albums. Her hit song “Un-Break My Heart” spent 11 weeks at number one and is considered one of the most haunting R&B records ever made. Braxton has won numerous awards and has been an inspiration to various artists, including Beyoncé and Kelly Clarkson. She is also known for her daring fashion choices, particularly her high-slit dresses, and was named the best-dressed artist of the decade by the Grammy Awards in 2011. Braxton’s performances, including her Super Bowl appearance, have been memorable and she is the first African American performer to enter the top ten Vegas shows charting. She has also been an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, with some of her songs becoming gay anthems. Braxton has expressed her love for her gay fans and credited her gay friends and collaborators for helping her in the industry.
Toni Braxton and Keri Lewis met when his band, Mint Condition, opened for her on tour. They got married on April 21, 2001, and had their first child, Denim Cole Braxton-Lewis, in December of that year. While preparing for the release of her fourth album in 2002, Braxton discovered she was pregnant with their second child. However, the pregnancy was complicated, and she was confined to bed rest. Their second son, Diezel Ky Braxton-Lewis, was born in March 2003 and was later diagnosed with autism. Braxton became involved with Autism Speaks and served as their International Spokesperson. She also became a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association. In November 2009, Braxton announced her separation from Lewis, and they divorced in July 2013. In her memoir, “Unbreak my Heart,” Braxton discusses her abortion and guilt, saying that her son’s autism was “God’s payback.” She has been outspoken about her doctor’s failure to diagnose Diezel’s condition earlier. Braxton settled her child support case with Lewis in July 2015. Atlanta officials named June 2 as Toni Braxton Day in 2016. Braxton began dating rapper Birdman in May 2016, and they announced their engagement in February 2018. However, they called off the engagement in January 2019, but confirmed they were still together in April of that year.