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Toni Braxton (born October 7, 1968) is arguably the most successful and prolific American R&B singer of the ‘90s, hailing from Severn, Maryland, U.S.
Born into a strict Apostolic faith, Braxton’s earliest musical influences came from gospel; singing in the local church with her four sisters and operatically trained mother. After her parents changed faith, Braxton was afforded a wider set of musical influences and allowed to explore her vocal talents. After being discovered singing to herself in a gas station by songwriter Bill Pittaway, the Braxton siblings, known as the Braxtons, signed with Arista Records in 1990.
The group’s debut single, “The Good Life”, arrived in 1990, though despite failing to chart, introduced Toni Braxton to the songwriting and production gurus L.A. Reid and Babyface. Braxton became the duo first signing on the duo's LaFace label in 1991, which led to the singer appearing on the soundtrack to the Eddie Murphy film “Boomerang” in 1992. Braxton’s highly-anticipated debut album was issued in 1993, the self-titled release shot to No. 1 on the pop and R&B U.S. charts, and spawned a host of Top 10 singles including “Another Sad Love Song” and “You Mean the World to Me”. The album sold over eight million copies, led to Grammy wins for Best New Artist and for Best Female R&B Vocals two year running with “Another Sad Love Song” in 1994 and “Breathe Again” in 1995.
After contributing to the Witney Houston-focused soundtrack to “Waiting to Exhale” in 1995, Braxton released her sophomore album “Secrets” in 1996. With the success of her self-titled debut, it was a hard act to follow, however, it was another hugely popular hit. Aided by hit single after hit single including “You’re Makin’ Me High”, “Un-break My Hearrt” and “I Don’t Want To”, the album once again sold over eight million copies. Later winning the singer the Grammy Awards for Best Female Pop Vocal for “Un-break My Heart” and Best Female R&B Vocal for “You’re Making Me High”, the album cemented Braxton’s role as the figurehead of ’90’s R&B.
Subsequent to the album Braxton was caught in a legal limbo with the label LaFace and was unable to release another album until “The Heat” in 2000. “The Heat” proved another successful album though was unable to match the sales of its predecessors, despite the singles “Just Be a Man About It” and “Spanish Guitar”. Braxton did however earn her sixth Grammy for Best Female R&B Vocal for “He Wasn’t Man Enough”. The singer subsequently released the album “More Than a Woman” in 2003, “Libra” in 2005, “Pulse" in 2010, and the duet album alongside Babyface, “Love, Marriage & Divorce” in 2014.