Toni Michelle Braxton (born October 7, 1967) is an American R&B singer-songwriter, record producer, actress, and philanthropist. Braxton has won six Grammy Awards, seven American Music Awards, and five Billboard Music Awards and has sold over 60 million records worldwide and is the greatest selling solo R&B artist of all time.
Braxton topped the Billboard 200 with her 1993 self-titled debut album and continued that streak with her second studio album, Secrets, which spawned the number-one hits "You're Makin' Me High" and "Unbreak My Heart". Although she had successful albums and singles, Braxton filed for bankruptcy, but then returned with her chart-topping third album, The Heat (2000) which included the international hit single "He Wasn't Man Enough". In 2009, she returned to the spotlight with "Yesterday", a #12 R&B hit which served as the first single from her new album Pulse, released on May 4, 2010, which debuted at #1 on Billboard R&B Album Chart. Braxton was involved in the 7th season of the reality show Dancing with the Stars. Her professional partner was Alec Mazo. She was voted off in week five of the competition. It was announced on October 6, 2010 that Braxton once again had filed for bankruptcy and was reporting up to $50 million in debts. A reality series entitled Braxton Family Values, starring Toni and her sisters, debuted April 12, 2011 on WE tv. WE tv ordered a 13-episode second season of the show after the third episode of the first season. On September 18, 2011, Braxton was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.
Voice and musical ability
Braxton has been recognized for her distinctive dramatic contralto voice. Her voice has been called "husky, sultry, elegant and sexy." Due to the huskiness of her voice, Braxton often used male singers such as Michael McDonald, Luther Vandross and Stevie Wonder as vocal style models. Chaka Khan and Anita Baker were two of the few female singers, that she could stylize. Steve Huey of Allmusic cites a key to Braxton's success is the versatility of her voice, which he states as being "soulful enough for R&B audiences, but smooth enough for adult contemporary; sophisticated enough for adults, but sultry enough for younger listeners; strong enough in the face of heartbreak to appeal to women, but ravishing enough to nab the fellas."
Braxton began her career singing traditional R&B and adult contemporary ballads and love songs on her debut and sophomore albums. However, hip-hop soul and dance music elements begun to get spun into her sound on The Heat, More Than a Woman, and Pulse. She also showcased her classical training while performing in Broadway plays Beauty and the Beast and Aida as well as her duet with Il Divo, "The Time of Our Lives".
Awards and nominations
- Sony Corporation of America (1996 by the Secrets)
- Antimo Original Tourism Medicine (1998)
- Vicks Formula 44 Ingredients Cough Medicine (2002)
- Laserin Cough Medicine (2002)
- Combi Plus Black Cough Medicine (2004)
- Pocari Sweat's Dolphin (2006)
- Pantene (2006)
- Dove Body Wash Beauty Moisture Milk (2007/2010)
- L'Oréal Paris (2010)
- Three Legs Cooling Water (2011)
- Rhino Cooling Water (2011)
- Dove Nourishing Oil Care (2012)
- Dove Daily Treatment Conditioner (2012)
- Clear Herbal Fushions Shampoo (2012)
- Fair and Lovely (2012)
- TRESemmé (2012)
- Windows 8 (26 October 2012 with Lea Michele)