Sunday, July 08, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Toni Braxton

Artist:Toni Braxton
Song:Un-break My Heart
Album:Ultimate Toni Braxton

Toni Braxton was one of the most popular female singers of the 90s especially in R & B. Un-break My Heart topped the Billboard Hot 100 for eleven weeks in 1996. Recently she has gone in a more dance pop direction and stars in the reality show Braxton Family Values. She was born Oct. 7, 1967 in the Baltimore suburb of Severn, MD and grew up in Atlanta. Her dad was a part time preacher and her mom was a part time opera singer. So Toni and her four sisters were encouraged to sing but only in church. And they weren't allowed to listen to secular music. The sisters sang as a group and were signed by Arista Records in 1989 after Toni was spotted singing to herself at a gas station by songwriter Bill Pettaway. The Braxtons released one single and were dropped. But Toni got the attention of LaFace Records owners Antonio "LA" Reid and Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds. They thought she sounded like Anita Baker. Her 1993 debut album Toni Braxton sold eight million copies and singles like Another Sad Love Song and Breathe Again were top five hits in pop and R & B. Toni also won the Best New Artist Grammy. Her 1995 second album Secrets did just as well. The first single You're Makin' Me High was her first number one pop hit. And Un-Break My Heart topped the Billboard Hot 100 for eleven weeks. The song is the second biggest selling single by a female artist in Billboard history behind Whitney Houston's I Will Always Love You. If you look at the credits of Ultimate Toni Braxton, you'll see that Babyface wrote and produced nine of the seventeen songs. Un-break My Heart was written by veteran songwriter Diane Warren and produced by David Foster. Warren brought the song to Arista president Clive Davis. He thought it would be perfect for Toni. She turned it down but Davis can be very persuasive. Toni later told Diane that she just didn't want to do another breakup song at the time. Obviously with Foster producing instead of Babyface, the production was more pop than R & B. But Toni really gives a great vocal on the record. The guitar solo is by veteran session musician Dean Parks. So Toni Braxton should be on top of the world, right? But she shocks fans in late 1997 when she sued LaFace and then files for bankruptcy. Usually when unknown artists sign record deals, they get minimal money. When she blew up, Toni was still getting minimal money. So she just wanted to renegotiate her contract and that's what LaFace did. On her 2000 CD The Heat, Toni presented a sexier image with He Wasn't Man Enough and it reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. The Heat didn't sell as well as the previous CDs but three million copies is nothing to sneeze at. Toni was pregnant when her 2002 CD More Than A Woman was released. She wanted Arista to delay the release until she could properly promote it. They refused and the CD didn't do well. This led to Toni leaving Arista for Blackground Records owned by her then manager Barry Hankerson. The 2005 CD Libra did not do well and she sued Hankerson. While that was going on, she did the show Toni Braxton Revealed at the Flamingo in Las Vegas for two years. When the suit was settled mostly in Hankerson's favour, she appeared on Dancing With The Stars. Then she signed with Atlantic Records and released Pulse. At this point, her music is more dance pop than R & B. And her latest single I Heart You follows that trend. She'll do OK in the dance market but I think her days of pop stardom could be over. This budget comp covers her LaFace hits. I would be remiss if I didn't mention her WE tv reality show Braxton Family Values. The show's third season will premier next month. Here's the video for Un-break My Heart by Toni Braxton. The guy in the video is model Tyson Beckford.

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