With one of the most distinctive and recognizable voices in contemporary music, Toni Braxton returns to the international marketplace with the 2005 release of Libra, her sizzling debut set for Blackground/Universal Records. The eagerly-anticipated follow-up to her top-selling CD, More Than A Woman, the new album finds the multiple Grammy award-winning artist delivering material that reflects her creative maturity. With a musical nod to the kind of finely-crafted songs that first propelled her to global fame over a decade ago, Libra strikes the perfect balance between today's radio-friendly grooves (exemplified by the album's hot first single, "Please") and 'old school' flavored slow jams (such as "Stupid" and "Midnite"), giving the multi-talented entertainer a new opportunity to bring her instantly-recognizable vocal style back to the forefront.
Working with hit makers such as Scott Storch (whose credits include work with Beyonce, Lil' Kim and Snoop Dogg), Antonio Dixon (from The Underdogs stable) and Soulshock & Karlin, Toni has crafted a record that is sure to please the legion of longtime fans she began creating with her ten-million-plus selling self-titled 1993 debut, while appealing to a whole new audience, discovering the Braxton musical magic for the first time.
Buoyed by an instant radio and club response to " Please " (produced by the much in-demand keyboardist/ producer Storch ), Libra finds the sultry-voiced star of Broadway hit musicals "Beauty And The Beast" and the Tony Award-winning "Aida" in a lyrically reflective mood. Tracks like " Finally" (produced by Dixon and co-written by Underdogs' principals Damon Thomas and Harvey Mason Jr. along with Eric Dawkins and Tank) and "Sposed To Be" showcase the smooth sensuality that has become Toni's musical trademark since the start of her illustrious career. The heartfelt ballad " Stupid " is a throwback to '90s Braxton classics like " Un-Break My Heart" and "Breathe Again." " Midnite," co-written by Harold Lilly with producers Soulshock & Karlin is a slice of the kind of lyrical truth-telling that has always been an integral part of Toni's approach to her music.
Libra - acknowledging by its title the singer's October 7 birth date - represents a new milestone in an achievement-filled career, completing a three-year hiatus from recording for Toni. The mother of two sons (with musician Keri Lewis ), Braxton dealt with a significant health challenge during her 2003 Broadway run in " Aida " when she
had a brush with a heart ailment (pericarditis) leading to a break from all her entertainment-related activities. Now fully recovered, Toni has become a spokesperson for the American Heart Association as a way of educating women about her heart disease.
With an impressive catalog of five albums (alongside 2003's best-selling Ultimate Collection ), Toni Braxton has built a worldwide base of music lovers since she first burst onto the contemporary music scene in 1991 with " Love Shoulda Brought You Home " (from the soundtrack of the hit movie " Boomerang "). As the 'First Lady Of LaFace Records,' Toni 's creative partnership with Antonio 'L.A.' Reid and Kenneth 'Babyface' Edmonds yielded a non-stop run of multi-platinum albums with 1993's Toni Braxton, 1996's Secrets and the 2000 set The Heat through to the 2001 Snowflakes holiday album and 2003's highly personal and thought-provoking More Than A Woman CD, which featured a number of songs written by Toni herself as well as production from The Neptunes and Rodney Jerkins among others. Along the way, Toni distinguished herself with unforgettable hit singles such as " Another Sad Love Song," "Breathe Again," " Un-Break My Heart," "You're Makin' Me High " and " He Wasn't Man Enough " picking up five Grammy Awards in the process (in 1993 for "Best New Artist" and "Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female"; in 1994 for another "Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female" award; and in 1997, as winner in both the "Best R&B" and "Best Pop" Female Vocal Performance categories).
With natural musical skills that were immediately evident when she started singing in church with her four sisters in Severn, Maryland and inspired by the likes of Stevie Wonder, Anita Baker, Chaka Khan and Whitney Houston, Toni had set her sights on a singing career from her earliest days. It was while studying to become a teacher at Bowie State University that she came to the attention of LaFace owners L.A. Reid and Babyface. Her decade with LaFace was filled with both accomplishment and challenge; while she constantly achieved chart success globally, racking up some forty-million worldwide sales through her five LaFace albums, Toni dealt with a much-publicized bankruptcy in 1997 which she recalled was "a major learning opportunity for me." Resolved in 1998, Toni began her first Broadway run that year with a starring role in " Beauty & The Beast." The 2000 success of The Heat, her third album was typified by Top 10 status in over a dozen countries including the U.S., France, Germany, Holland, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Hong Kong, South Africa, Greece, Denmark, Austria, Belgium, Israel and Switzerland. The album's gold single " He Wasn't Man Enough " earned Toni a 2000 Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance" while the album won two American Music Awards.
While doing promotional work on The Heat, Toni made her silver screen debut with " Kingdom Come " which featured an all-star cast and earned her a BET Black Oscar. In 2000, she was also given the coveted Aretha Franklin Soul Train Award for career achievement. The October 2001 release of Snowflakes , Toni 's critically-acclaimed holiday album provided further validation for her popularity. In 2002, Toni began work on More Than A Woman which she described as "more 'in your face' than my previous albums." At the time she explained, "My first love has always been R&B and I've been into hip-hop since it first started. On each of the albums I've done since my first one, I've done things to introduce people to other aspects of what I'm about musically."
That is decidedly the case once again with Libra. And now, with her new album, new label, Blackground and new manager, Larry Rudolph (Reigndeer Entertainment) Toni Braxton's multi-faceted life and career are very much in balance.
--- from the official Toni Braxton website