The talented Toni Braxton has etched her way into R&B lovers hearts for the last two decades. Now faced with the task of bringing that classic contralto to new audiences, Braxton embraces the new new with ‘I Heart You’ – the latest offering from her yet titled/summer 2012 due album.
Like so many, the Grammy-winning diva is taking the independent route, and in this quite forthcoming interview with Huffington Post, she flaunts that independence in ways like never before.
Speaking candidly on money troubles, her new album, her future on Braxton Family Values, and love for bleats-over-beats queen Rihanna, get into the thoughts of Miss Toni – an eye opening read indeed:
Congratulations on your new song, “I Heart You.”
I’m excited. It’s overdue.
And your upcoming album, titled Heartstrings & Synagogue Vibes.
I don’t know where that came from! Someone came up with that. What did you say it was?
Heartstrings & Synagogue Vibes. It’s all over the Internet. It’s described as an album that will fuse dance and pop music with Jewish and Arabic music.
That’s kind of brilliant. I did not come up with that. But no, it is not the album title. I don’t have an album title.
Once you do select a title, what can people expect?
I’m definitely going to have more “I Heart You”s on it. I’m also going to do some sad love songs. It’s going to be half and half. The three faces of Toni may appear.
How will this album be different from your others?
I hate to say the word “different,” because it won’t be different. Who I am as an artist is what I want my music to show. I think in the past there were slow songs that we made dance songs. These dance songs will be dance songs. I’m going to push the envelope a little. Not for anyone else but for myself. I’m feeling kind of sexy. I’m going to be a little more freelance with my sexiness.
What about the rumor that you’re involved with Eddie Murphy?
That’s just a rumor. We’re just friends.
You are very interested in finding your inner slut. Has that been hard for you?
It’s a work in progress. I was married for all those years. Now I’m getting out there and dating and figuring out sex. Everyone says you have to wait this long, and some people say you can do it whenever you want. I’m trying to get comfortable with that part.
We could talk sex all day, but let’s get a little more serious. How are you different now from how you were when you first signed your solo record contract in 1992?
Well, a lot older. As a performer and artist, I’m a lot smarter and have more understanding of the business. It’s changed from the ’90s. It’s completely different now. The younger artists, I feel sorry for them sometimes.
How would you say the business has changed?
Marketing, marketing, marketing. It’s not always about even selling records anymore. It’s about how big you can make your personality, which creates this image that people want. Now you make records as a platform to tour. At least before, you could make a few pennies from record sales, but that doesn’t apply anymore. Now record companies do 360s where they get a part of everything, from the record to touring to merchandising, and the artist doesn’t get a big percentage of their monies anymore.
What do you wish could be done to change that?
I wish there was something like they have for athletes where they have pensions. Performers and singers don’t get that. We have nothing. You see these big performers, and then they die penniless.
What younger artists do you admire?
My favorite of all the girls is Rihanna. I love her. She’s not afraid of her sexuality. I think in our generation – -and not that I’m a million years older than her or anything — but we could only take sexuality to a point. The brave one was Madonna. She did it. She got beat up a lot for it, but she didn’t care. She broke down the original barriers.
No matter what you’ve gone through in your life and career, the one that that always remained constant was your gay following.
I love my gays!
The show you’re on currently is The Braxton Family Values, with your mother and sisters. It’s coming back for a third season, but are you?
Well, I’m going to cut back. I’m going to still be on the show, but I’m not going to be as involved as I was in the past.
You have so many hit songs. Do you have a favorite?
I don’t really listen to myself. When I hear me on the radio, I turn it immediately. My favorite song to sing is not the ones you think, like “Un-break My Heart” or “Breathe Again.” I like something fun like “Please.” I do like “He Wasn’t Man Enough.”
How important is it for you today to have a top-40 song?
For me, being an established artist, they are important, because they show that I’m still vital. It shows that I’m still current, and that I still matter. For me personally, it’s all about the music. It’s really just getting out there and doing something that will allow me to tour.
After everything you’ve accomplished, what are you the most proud of?
That I’m still here. That’s really a big deal.
Read the interview in its entirety here.