Toni Braxton

Toni Braxton

The first clue that Toni Braxton would become a household name was in 1992 when she was featured on the soundtrack for the movie Boomerang. Two songs—“Give U My Heart,” a duet with legendary producer and singer-songwriter turned longtime collaborator Babyface, and “Love Shoulda Brought You Home”—became instant hits on the R&B charts and introduced Braxton’s signature soulful and sultry vocals to the world. On her 1993 self-titled debut, she proves herself to be a studio-made diva, being compared to the likes of other legendary divas of the time, Whitney Houston and Anita Baker. Producers and co-writers L.A. Reid and Babyface mixed elements of R&B, new jack swing, and pop throughout the album’s 12 tracks, helping her become a mainstream mainstay. Toni Braxton checks all the boxes of a quintessential ’90s album: slow jams and ballads about love, sex, loss, heartbreak, and everything in between. “Another Sad Love Song” is filled with romantic angst that perfectly flows into the bittersweet track “Breathe Again,” which chronicles Braxton’s emotions after losing a lover and a best friend. The album weaves in a couple of uptempo pop-leaning tracks, such as “Spending My Time With You,” “I Belong to You,” and “How Many Ways,” on which Braxton finds joy in a newfound love. On every track, she sings with the assurance of a veteran artist while conveying the freshness of a newcomer. Braxton makes it all sound effortless. More hits followed during a long and storied career, including and especially on 1996’s Secrets, which featured “Un-Break My Heart.” But all the ingredients were here right out of the gate. Braxton’s ability to glide in and out of many different genres set a precedent for the rest of her career, as well as the acts that followed in her footsteps, all while staying true to the core of who she is.

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