Who is Toni Braxton?

Who is Toni Braxton?


Toni Braxton. Toni Braxton is an African American singer, songwriter whose music has gained millions of streams and is enjoyed by millions. Toni Braxton’s life and legacy has been cemented through her music that has inspired and loved by her fans.

Who is Toni Braxton?

Toni Braxton is an African-American R&B Singer whose records have sold over 70 million copies worldwide and is one of the best-selling female artists in history. Braxton has won several Grammys, Billboard Music Awards, American Music Awards, and more. 

Early Life

Toni Michele Braxton was born October 7, 1967 in Severn, Maryland. She was brought up in a strict, religious household as the oldest of 5 sisters. Growing up in a religious household, her sisters grew up singing in their father’s church. Over time, Braxton’s family eased up on their restrictions and the girls were exposed to more soul and R&B singers like Stevie Wonder and Chaka Khan. Music became a central part of Braxton’s life as she would frequently enter talent competitions and collaborated with her sisters. Following her high school graduation, Braxton planned on becoming a music teacher but was swayed when her talents were overheard at a gas station.

Big Break and Early Career

Toni Braxton was discovered outside a gas station after songwriter, Bill Pettaway overheard her singing. Pettaway was moved by Braxton’s husky, driving voice and with his assistance, Braxton and her sisters signed to Arista Records. “The Braxtons,” released their first single, “The Good Life,” and while not a big hit, caught the attention of Antonia “L.A.” Reid and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds. They signed Toni Braxton to a new deal with the Arista subsidiary. Braxton caught her first big break after she was asked to fill in for Anita Baker on Eddie Murphy’s Boomerang soundtrack. The album was major exposure for Braxton and led to her first single hit, “Love Should’ve Brought You Home.” A year after the Boomerang soundtrack was released, Braxton released her first single album titled Toni Braxton. The record was a huge success with hits like “Breath Again,” “You Mean the World to Me,” and “Another Love Song.” The record sold more than 8 million copies and gained Braxton two Grammys for Best New Artist and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.

Hit Songs and Albums

Braxton’s second studio album, Secrets, did not disappoint. The record contained one of her most popular singles, “Unbreak My Heart,” as well as “You Make Me High.” However following the success of her second album, Braxton and Arista got into a contracting wrangling. Braxton claimed that she was not getting paid a large enough cut for her sales. Subsequently, in 1998, two years after Secrets was released, Braxton filed for bankruptcy. Arista and Toni Braxton eventually reached an agreement and in 1999, her third album, The Heat, was released. Her third album gave her fans a new style as it did not have the “lost love” theme but instead a new confidence in her music. The album featured hit singles like “He Wasn’t Man Enough For Me,” and “Just Be a Man About It.”  


Toni Braxton’s success has gained her dozens of awards. Braxton has seven American Music Awards ranging from Favorite Soul/R&B New Artist to Favorite Soul/R&B Album for Secrets. She has five Billboard awards, winning R&B Artist of the Year twice in 1997 and 2000. Braxton won 7 out of her 14 Grammy nominations. Her first two Grammys were Best New Artist and Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female for her song, “Another Sad Love Song.” She won the same award a year later for her hit “Breathe Again.” And again the following year for “I Belong To You.” Her second album Secrets gained her four nominations. She won Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for “Unbreak My Heart,” and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for “You’re Makin Me High.” She has since gained two more Grammys, one for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for “He Wasn’t Man Enough,” and another for Best R&B Album for her album, Love, Marriage, and Divorce. In addition to her Grammys, she won Best Female Artist at the NAACP Image Awards and the Legend Award at the 2017 Soul Train Awards.

Family Values

In 2011, Toni Braxton and her sisters were the stars of a new reality TV show called, Braxton Family Values. The show followed Braxton and her sister, Trina, Tamar, Traci, and Towanda, and their mother as they navigated family and commercial life. Toni’s sisters have all garnered some aspect of success in the music industry, including her sister Tamar Braxton whose hit “Love and War” gained her two Soul Train Awards and a BET Award. The show gives fans a closer look at both Toni Braxton and her family. 

Retirement and More

In September of 2013, Toni Braxton announced her retirement on Good Morning America, ending her 20-year career. The announcement came as a shock to many fans because just a year earlier, she announced plans for an eighth studio album. However, she explained, stating,  “It’s not affecting me, making me feel that thing I’ve always felt when I perform. It’s leaving me,” she said. “I’m not sure what’s going on in my life. Maybe a female mid-life crisis? My heart isn’t in it anymore. I hate to say that. For what I do I have to love it. I have to feel that excitement and it’s gone.” Braxton has also been battling lupus, an autoimmune disease, for much of her career. Braxton now lives with her two sons and her husband, Birdman. In 2014, she returned to the studio to record with Babyface, her new album Love, Marriage, and Divorce, which won her Album of the Year at the 2015 Grammys. 


Toni Braxton has cemented her legacy as one of the greatest R&B singers of all time. Her records have surpassed 8 million sales and her records have earned her 7 Grammy awards and many more. Her unique voice draws listeners in and her songwriting capabilities have made her the best-selling female artist in history. Braxton’s music and vocal versatility has made her an inspiration for many generations.

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