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Toni Michelle Braxton (born October 7, 1967) is an American singer, songwriter, pianist, record producer, actress, television personality, and philanthropist. In the late 1980s she began performing with her sisters in a family group known as The Braxtons; they were signed to Arista Records.
Braxton attracted the attention of producers Antonio “L.A.” Reid and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, later recording a series of songs for them before being signed to their Arista-distributed imprint, LaFace Records. Her self-titled debut studio album (1993) reached number one on the Billboard 200 chart in the United States, selling 10 million copies worldwide and seeing the international success of the singles “Another Sad Love Song” and “Breathe Again”. The album brought Braxton three Grammy Awards, including Best New Artist.
Secrets (1996), Braxton’s second studio album, saw continued commercial success, selling 15 million copies and generating the singles “You’re Makin’ Me High/Let It Flow” and “Un-Break My Heart”, which became her first singles to reach the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States. Un-Break My Heart spent 11 weeks in the #1 position on the Billboard Hot 100 and is one of the biggest singles by a female artist in Billboard history. Secrets brought Braxton an additional two Grammy Awards, for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. This is only the 2nd time in Grammy history that a female artist has won both Pop & R&B Vocal Performance awards at the same ceremony (Dionne Warwick achieved this feat in 1980).
Her third studio album, The Heat (2000), opened at number 2 on the Billboard 200 and saw the success of its lead single, “He Wasn’t Man Enough”, which reached number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and brought Braxton her sixth Grammy Award, for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.
Braxton’s subsequent studio albums, More Than a Woman (2002), Libra (2005) and Pulse (2010), were released amid contractual disputes and health issues, including a lawsuit against her former manager for mismanaging her relationship with Arista Records. In 2014, Braxton and longtime collaborator Babyface released a duet album entitled Love, Marriage & Divorce, which earned the duo an additional Grammy Award for Best R&B Album in 2015.
In 2018, Braxton released her eighth studio album Sex & Cigarettes. The album earned Braxton three Grammy Award nominations: Best R&B Album, and Best R&B Performance and Best R&B Song for the single “Long as I Live”.
Throughout her career, Braxton has sold over 67 million records, including 41 million albums worldwide, becoming one of the biggest selling female R&B artists in history. The Recording Industry Association of America lists Braxton as one of the top selling artists, with 19.5 million certified units in the United States. She has won seven Grammy Awards, nine Billboard Music Awards, seven American Music Awards, among numerous other accolades.
Aside from her success in music, Braxton has become a television executive producer and personality, being involved in the seventh season of the reality competition series Dancing with the Stars and in a reality series entitled Braxton Family Values, where Braxton is executive producer and star since 2011 on We TV. Braxton is also an executive producer of its spin-off, starring her younger sister, Tamar, Tamar & Vince. In 2011, Braxton was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.
2015–2016: Braxton Family Christmas, Toni Braxton: Unbreak My Heart and The Hits Tour
On May 14, 2015, Braxton said she was headed back to the studio for an upcoming eighth album. She promised that a new single would be released before the end of the year.
In September 2015, Lifetime greenlighted a biographical film on Braxton’s life, Toni Braxton: Unbreak My Heart. The film’s premiere generated 3.6 million viewers, earning the highest rating for an original movie with adults ages 25–54, women 25-54 and women 18-49 since “Whitney,” the January 2015 biopic on Whitney Houston. The film has an IMDb rating of a 6.5 out of 10 stars. In October 2015, The Braxtons released Braxton Family Christmas. Braxton Family Christmas debuted at number 27 on the US Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, number 10 on the US R&B Chart and number 12 on US Top Holiday Albums on November 21, 2015. The album charted at number 1 on the US Heatseekers Albums on December 12, 2015. Braxton announced in an interview with Sway in the Morning on January 22, 2016 that she and Babyface will collaborate again with Love, Marriage & Divorce Pt. II.
On July 25, 2016, Braxton announced that she would be embarking on a tour in late 2016 titled “The Hits Tour” in North America. On October 3, five days before the first date of the tour Braxton was hospitalized due to complications with Lupus resulting in cancelling the first two dates of the tour. The dates cancelled were rescheduled for January 28 and 29, 2017 and kicked off the tour on in Detroit at the MotorCity Casino Hotel on October 12, 2016. On October 15, 2016, Braxton was admitted once again to hospital with complications with Lupus resulting to cancel another tour date October 15, 2016, which was later scheduled to November 14, 2016. On October 16, 2016, Braxton posted a photo of herself leaving the hospital on her Instagram, announcing that she was on her way to that night’s performance in Chicago.
2016–present: Sex & Cigarettes, TV movies, Tour and Pride performance
On December 1, 2016, Braxton announced a short statement via Twitter that the dates for The Hits Tour in January 2017 were cancelled, a new album would be coming soon and back touring in the summer, “Hey Guys, Unfortunately, Under doctor’s recommendation, I’m going to have to cancel my shows in Oakland on January 28th and Los Angeles on January 29th, 2017. I’m feeling better and better every day and I want to be at my best when performing for you all. I’m excited to say that I will be completing my new record this spring / summer of 2017 and can’t wait to share it with you. Stay tuned for more details. I look forward to seeing everyone back on tour in the summer of 2017!!!”
On September 14, 2017, Braxton released the lead single “Deadwood” from her eighth studio album Sex & Cigarettes. The single reached #7 on the Adult R&B Charts. A remix EP for the song “Coping” was released on November 10, 2017. The single reached #1 on the Billboard Dance Charts, marking Braxton’s 6th single to reach #1 on that chart. The album was nominated for three Grammy Awards: Best R&B Performance, Best R&B Song for “Long as I Live”, and for Best R&B Album at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards.
Faith Under Fire premiered on the Lifetime Movie Network January 22, 2018. The second single “Long as I Live” was released on February 9, 2018. The single reached #1 on the Adult R&B Charts, giving Braxton her eighth #1 on the chart. Braxton also broke a tie with Maxwell and R. Kelly to give her sole possession of the second-most No. 1s in the chart’s 24-year history. On April 20, 2018, Trina, Towanda and Toni appears as featuring on their sister Traci’s single “Broken Things” On October 23, 2018, Braxton announced a joint tour with SWV, As Long As I Live Tour for 2019. Toni and her sister Towanda are the stars on the Christmas TV movie Every Day is Christmas which premiered on the Lifetime Movie Network November 24, 2018.
In April 2019, it was announced that Braxton would be headlining the 2019 Pittsburgh Pride festival on Saturday, June 8. This is a first for Braxton to perform in a Pride festival.