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Toni Braxton

Real name: Toni Michelle Braxton
Birthdate: October 7, 1967
Status: Married
Partner: Keri Lewis


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Braxton is the oldest of six children. She attended elementary school at Quarterfield Elementary School, and middle school at Corkran Middle School in Glen Burnie, Maryland. She also attended Glen Burnie High School in Glen Burnie, Maryland. Her father was a clergyman, and the Braxton children were raised in a strict religious household. Braxton's first performing experience was singing in her church choir. She attended Bowie State University to obtain a teaching degree but decided to pursue a musical career.

Braxton's debut album won her several awards, including three Grammy Awards (for "Best New Artist" and two consecutive awards for "Best Female R&B Vocal Performance" in 1994 and 1995). She also won two American Music Awards (for "Favorite Soul/R&B New Artist", "Favorite New Adult Contemporary Artist") in 1994 and another one in 1995 (for "Favorite Soul/R&B Album"). Toni Braxton was certified 8x Platinum and has sales of over 10 million worldwide.

In 1998, the five-time Grammy winner filed for Chapter 7 protection from a reported $3.9 million debt. All of her personal household possessions were tagged and marked for sale to pay off her creditors, including her prestigious awards. The humiliating and highly publicized bankruptcy taught her a lesson, she says. In the middle of the bankruptcy proceedings, Braxton was able to pursue her acting dreams when she was offered the role of "Belle" in Disney's musical, Beauty and the Beast, a role she played on Broadway from September through December 1998.

The Heat, meanwhile, was released on April 26,2000. Debuting at number two on the Billboard 200 albums chart with first week sales of 205,000, it remained in the top 20 for fifteen consecutive weeks. Braxton again worked with producers Babyface and Foster; also included in the staple were Rodney Jerkins, and new beau musician Keri Lewis. Braxton herself also took a more hands-on approach, co-writing and co-producing a handful of the tracks. "Gimme Some", a track on "The Heat", featured a rap verse from TLC star Lisa "Left-Eye" Lopes.

By the end of the year, The Heat was certified 2x platinum. Also in February 2000, Braxton performed along side Enrique Inglesias and Christina Aguilera during the Super Bowl Halftime show.

In April 2003, Braxton abruptly left Arista Records, having been there for fourteen years, and immediately signed with Blackground Records — headed by Barry Hankerson, her manager at the time. The change of scenery, however, did not ultimately help her recording career. As had been the case during her final years at Arista — Braxton's fifth album, and first release on Blackground, Libra was released with scant promotion and accumulated poor sales.

Braxton made an appearance on the season finale of American Idol 5 where she performed Elvis Presley's "In the Ghetto" with soon-to-be winner Taylor Hicks.

Braxton has been released from her contract with Blackground after a number of disputes with former manager Barry Hankerson.


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