Our good friends over at Lime Magazine here in London generously provided That Grape Juice with exclusive excerpts from their recent interview with Grammy Award winning vocalist Toni Braxton. In the candid piece, the mother-of-two speaks on everything from her much publicized bankruptcy (with shocking revelations), her divorce, as well as the death of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson (who she recounts a hilarious story about). A lengthy, yet great read. Check it out:
Your bankruptcy was very messy and highly publicised at the time – what happened?
The bankruptcy was a good thing in a way as it allowed me to help other artists. For example my case was made public like that because I was at the pinnacle of my career but Usher, TLC, NSYNC were going through it but no one really knew – they only knew about me and TLC, so the girls tend to be made an example of. When you file bankruptcy it means all your contracts are null and void, the reason my case was made as public as it was is because that meant my music would be null and void, so the record company was fighting that. The second thing that a lot of people don’t know about is my royalty statement at that time was just under two thousand dollars. For 10 years I couldn’t talk about it because there was a gagging order but now my 10 years has passed and I can say what happened. So imagine I’m on tour with UnBreak My Heart and I get my royalties statement and its one thousand and nine hundred plus dollars!
How did you feel about having such a private matter out in the public domain like that?
Yes it is a very private matter but I was to be made an example of. My situation went to congress because they wanted all artists who file for bankruptcy in the future to have rights. As it was when you file bankruptcy all contracts are made null and void except recording artists so my case was to be made the example.
Did all of this take a big toll on your health?
Yes over a period of time I think it did. I think going through the court thing and then going through getting out of my deal with Blackground and then the stress of my son having autism, it really did beat my body up a little bit and then that’s when I got ill last year.
Was that experience the dark side of fame for you?
Probably yes that was the dark side but right now my husband and I are separated so it’s dark once again. We’re fine, we’re friends and it’s amicable; we’re just trying to raise our kids together without actually being together and it’s new, it’s only been six weeks.
How did you feel when you heard about the death of Michael Jackson?
Gosh it was very surreal to me, I heard about his passing before the press did because I’m with AEG and so was Michael Jackson. When I found out I didn’t believe it because I’m a huge fan. I remember when I first met him; he came over to me which was a really big deal. We were at a charity ball and he came over to me and said, ‘Toni Braxton oh my God I love you, your voice is so incredible, so androgynous – it’s so unique. Breathe Again is my favourite song, let’s take a picture together.’ Of course I was like, ‘it’s Michael Jackson!’ Years later he called me on my phone and introduced himself but I was like, ‘yeah right please like that’s Michael Jackson’ and put down the phone! Then his assistant called and was like, ‘no seriously Toni – it’s Michael Jackson’, when he called back I was like ‘Michael I’m so, so sorry’ and he said: ‘everyone does that, I’m used to it!’
What are your favourite songs that you’ve sang?
Breath Again is my all time favourite song, I remember when I first heard it, but it wasn’t for me it was for Pebble (Producer L.A. Reid’s wife). Un-break My Heart I loved but Seven Whole Days I hated it! There’s apart in the song where I say, ‘Seven Whole Nights aahhh’ I did that on purpose because I hated that song and they kept that bit in the song because they liked it. Let It Flow, I love but that wasn’t for me either, that was for Whitney (Houston) because it was for the soundtrack ‘Waiting To Exhale’. It was in a higher key but they had to lower it considerably for me.
Click here to read the full interview!
A very insightful read! Who would have known Usher and NSync were going through similar financial issues to Toni?! Or that Michael Jackson loved ‘Breathe Again’? Or that ‘Let It Flow’ was meant for Whitney Houston? Also, interestingly, this interview was conducted here in London BEFORE Toni officially announced her divorce and even more interestingly BEFORE the Soul Train Awards (which she attended with her husband, yet kissed Trey Songz). Things that make you go ‘hmmm’
Toni’s new LP ‘Pulse’ hits stores 22nd February 2010.
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