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Toni Braxton is an R&B singer-songwriter and actress
Category: The Golden Era
Tags: toni braxton breathe again you mean world.unbreak heart wordl life production golden era feature

Born in Maryland in 1967, Toni Braxton's big break came after Bill Pettaway overheard her singing to herself at a gas station, and subsequently helped Braxton land a record deal with Arista. In 1992, she caught another big break when she was asked to fill in for Anita Baker and sing on the soundtrack for the film Boomerang. The following year, Braxton released her debut self-titled album,

garnering wide acclaim for singles like "You Mean the World to Me" and "Breathe Again." She later scored a megahit with "Un-Break My Heart," included on her second studio album, Secrets (1996). In addition to her successful recording career, Braxton made history in September 1998, when she became first black actress to play Belle in the Broadway production of Beauty and the Beast.

Early Life

Toni Michelle Braxton was born on October 7, 1967, in Severn, Maryland, to parents Michael Braxton, a minister, and his wife, Evelyn. Brought up in a strict, religious household that prohibited any sort of engagement with popular culture, Toni and her four younger sisters began singing at an early age at their father's church. Over time, Michael and Evelyn Braxton eased their household rules, allowing their daughters to gain more exposure to soul and rock singers like Stevie Wonder and Chaka Khan.

For Toni especially, music became a central component in her life. She entered a number of local talent shows, and also collaborated considerably with her sisters. Following her graduation from high school, Braxton planned on becoming a music teacher, but was easily swayed to leave college when songwriter Bill Pettaway overheard Braxton singing to herself at a gas station. Pettaway, who had recently penned Milli Vanilli's "Girl You Know It's True" hit single, was moved by Braxton's husky, driving voice. With his help, Braxton landed a record contract with Arista Records for both her and her sisters.

Career Breakthroughs

The Braxtons, as the sisters called themselves, released the single "The Good Life" in 1990. While not a huge hit, it did manage to catch the ear of producers Antonio "L.A." Reid and Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, who signed Toni to a new deal to the Arista subsidiary, LaFace Records.

In 1992, Braxton caught her first big break when she was asked to fill in for Anita Baker and sing for the soundtrack to the Eddie Murphy movie, Boomerang. The album gave Braxton significant exposure and helped her secure her first big hit: the single "Love Shoulda Brought You Home."

A year after the Boomerang soundtrack, Braxton released her eponymous debut album. The record more than met the enthusiasm that had built up around it prior to its release. With hits like "Breathe Again," "You Mean the World to Me" and "Another Love Song," the record went on to sell more than 8 million copies. It also earned Braxton a pair of Grammy Awards, for best new artist and best female R&B vocal performance.

In 1996, Braxton released her second studio album, Secrets, which included the monster single "Un-Break My Heart" and the hit "You Make Me High." At the 1997 Grammy Awards, Braxton won two Grammys: one for best female R&B vocal performance and one for best female R&B pop vocal performance.

But instead of getting the chance to dig into the hard work of creating a third album, Braxton got into contract wrangling with Arista. At issue was Braxton's claim that she deserved to receive a larger cut from her record sales. To further drive home the point that she wasn't making enough, Braxton filed for bankruptcy in 1998.

Unable to reconcile her contractual issues, Braxton suspended her studio work and headed to acting,

where she made history in September 1998 by becoming the first black actress to play Belle in a Broadway production of Beauty and the Beast. The musical, which featured a song written specifically for Braxton, was a huge success.

Soon, Braxton and record executives were back at the negotiating table, and following an agreement in 1999, the singer-songwriter released her third album, The Heat. Largely stripped of the "lost love" themes that had greatly shaped her two previous studio releases, Braxton's new album gave the singer's fans a fresher, more confident Braxton. It also featured two hit singles: "He Wasn't Man Enough for Me" and "Just Be a Man About It."

In 2010, Braxton released her seventh studio album, Pulse, which was issued by Atlantic Records. She also continued to pursue other types of performance work. The lineup included her own reality television series, Toni Braxton: Revealed, and a short stint on the hit dance-competition show Dancing with the Stars.

In January 2011, media outlets began reporting that Braxton would be returning to the small screen with a new reality series, Braxton Family Values. The show, which debuted in April 2011 on WE tv, follows Toni and her sisters as they pursue their respective careers in show business.

Health Issues and Bankruptcy

She accomplished all of these successes while also battling health issues. She's been treated for hypertension as well as pericarditis, a viral infection of the sac surrounding the heart. More significantly, in November 2010, the singer told the world she was battling Lupus. The announcement shook her fellow recording artists, most notably Lady Gaga, who has family members who've dealt with the deadly autoimmune disease. "Toni, your strength is admirable," Lady Gaga wrote in a message to Braxton. "As a woman whose family as been affected by Lupus, I understand your struggle and have you in my thoughts."

More bad news followed in late 2010, when Braxton announced that she was again filing for bankruptcy. Some reports stated that she owed as much as $50 million.

Saying 'Goodbye' to Music Career

 

In early 2012, Braxton announced that she had begun working on a new album. That spring, she released the single "I Heart You"—thought to be the first single off the singer's new project at the time. But fans' excitement over what would be Braxton's eighth studio project soon fizzled out when, on February 8, 2013, Braxton announced plans to retire from her career as a recording artist. Signaling the end of her 20-year recording career, Braxton's announcement, made during her guest appearance on Good Morning America, came as a big shock to many—especially since the singer-songwriter's previous statements regarding her future retirement seemed to center on a final album release.

Braxton went on to explain her decision, citing, among many things, a loss of musical inspiration, a disinterest in making any future recordings, and shifting sentiments surrounding her future goals. "It's not affecting me, making me feel that thing I've always felt when I perform. It's leaving me. I'm not sure what's going on in my life. Maybe a female mid-life crisis? My heart isn't in it anymore. I hate to say that,

" Braxton said. "For what I do I have to love it. I have to feel that excitement and it's gone. I'm just not going to do any albums anymore; maybe touring occasionally here and there because I love performing, but not as much as I did in the past. But no new projects."

Personal Life

Braxton married musician Kery Lewis in 2001. The couple split up in late 2009. They have two sons together, Denim and Deizel.

© 2013 A+E Networks. All rights reserved.

Source:http://www.biography.com/people/toni-braxton-17168260?page=3

 

Marvin Gaye was a musical genius that touched the souls of millions of people all over the world Tags: marvin gaye musical genius million people all over world word life production music hall

Marvin Gaye was born on April 2, 1939, in Washington, D.C. He sang in his father's church and in the Moonglows before signing with Motown. He recorded songs by Smokey Robinson before becoming his own producer on the protest album What's Going On. Gaye's later records developed his production style and yielded several hits. Gaye was killed in 1984 during a domestic dispute with his father.

"War is not the answer, because only love can conquer hate."

– Marvin Gaye

"If you cannot find peace within yourself, you will never find it anywhere else."

– Marvin Gaye

"Marvin Gaye is one of the greatest male voices of all time. So covering a Marvin Gaye song, especially one as quintessential as 'What's Going On,' I was a little hesitant in doing so. But I felt that it was one of those songs which spoke to a whole generation."

Singer Marvin Gaye, also known as the "Prince of Soul," was born Marvin Pentz Gay Jr. (he added the "e" to his last name alter in life) in Washington, D.C., on April 2, 1939. Gaye was raised under the strict control of his father, Reverend Marvin Gay Sr., the minister at a local church, against a bleak backdrop of widespread violence in his neighborhood.

Throughout his childhood, Marvin Gaye often found peace in music, mastering the piano and drums at a young age. Until high school, his singing experience was limited to church revivals, but soon he developed a love for R&B and doo-wop that would set the foundation for his career. In the late 1950s, Gaye joined a vocal group called The New Moonglows.

The talented singer had a phenomenal range that spanned three vocal styles and he soon impressed the group's founder, Harvey Fuqua. It wasn't long before Gaye and Fuqua both came to the attention of Detroit music impresario Berry Gordy and were signed to Gordy's legendary Motown Records.

Motown Records

Gaye's first certified hit under his own name wouldn't come until 1962, but his early years at Motown were full of behind-the-scenes successes. He was a session drummer for Motown legends such as Little Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, The Marvelettes and Martha and the Vandellas. Showing his stripes as Motown's renaissance man, Gaye went on to break into the Top 40 for the first time on his own in 1962 with his solo single "Hitch Hike."

Throughout the 1960s, Gaye would show his immense range, churning out solo dance hits and romantic duets with hit-makers like Diana Ross and Mary Wells. "Can I Get a Witness" and "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" were some of Gaye's biggest hits of the period, the latter achieving its place as Motown's best-selling single of the 1960s.

For three high-flying years, Gaye and Tammi Terrell wowed the country with their soaring duet performances of songs like "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and "If I Could Build My Whole World Around You". Unfortunately, their reign as the Royal Couple of R&B ended when Terrell succumbed to a brain tumor in 1970. His beloved partner's death ushered in a dark period for the singer, who swore never to partner with another female vocalist and threatened to abandon the stage for good.

Political Message

In 1970, inspired by escalating violence and political unrest over the Vietnam War, Gaye wrote the landmark song "What's Going On." Despite clashes with Motown over the song's creative direction, the single was released in 1971 and became an instant smash. Its success prompted Gaye to take even more risks, both musically and politically.

When it was released in the spring of 1971, the What's Going On album served to open Gaye up to new audiences while maintaining his Motown following.

Departing from the tried and true Motown formula, Gaye went out on his own artistically, paving the way for other Motown artists like Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson to branch out in later years. Beyond influencing his peers, the album garnered widespread critical acclaim, winning the Rolling Stone Album of the Year award.

Crossover Success

In 1972, Gaye moved to Los Angeles and soon met Janis Hunter, who would later become his second wife. Inspired in part by his newfound independence, Gaye recorded one of the most revered love anthems of all time, "Let's Get It On." The song became his second number one Billboard hit, cementing his crossover appeal once and for all. Shortly afterwards, Motown pushed Gaye into touring to capitalize on his most recent success; reluctantly the singer-songwriter returned to the stage.

Through most of the mid-1970s, Gaye was touring, collaborating or producing. Working with Diana Ross and The Miracles, he would put off releasing another solo album until 1976. He continued touring after the release of I Want You (1976) and released his last album for Motown Records (Here, My Dear) in 1978. After two decades at Motown, Gaye signed with CBS's Columbia Records in 1982 and began to work on his last album, Midnight Love. The lead single from that album, "Sexual Healing," became a huge comeback hit for the R&B star and earned him his first two Grammy Awards and an American Music Award for Favorite Soul Single.

Personal Life

In 1975, Gaye's wife Anna Gordy -- Barry Gordy's daughter -- filed for divorce, and two years later Gaye married Hunter, who had by then given birth to their daughter, Nona (born September 4, 1974) and their son Frankie (born November 16, 1975). Gaye also had an adopted son (Marvin Pentz Gaye III) from his previous marriage. The singer's marriage to Hunter proved short lived and tumultuous, ending in divorce in 1981.

Death and Legacy

Despite his successful comeback in the early 1980s, Gaye struggled badly with the substance abuse and bouts of depression that had plagued him for most of his life. After his last tour, he moved into his parents' house. There he and his father fell into a pattern of violent fights and quarrels that recalled conflicts that had haunted the family for decades. On April 1, 1984, Marvin Gaye Sr. shot and killed his son after a physical altercation; the father claimed he acted in self-defense but would later be convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

Three years after his death, Marvin Gaye Jr. was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Creating beautiful art from a troubled life, Gaye again and again brought his vision, range, and artistry to the world stage. At the end of his career, he admitted he no longer made music for pleasure; instead, he said, "I record so that I can feed people what they need, what they feel. Hopefully, I record so that I can help someone overcome a bad time."

© 2013 A+E Networks. All rights reserved. http://www.biography.com/people/marvin-gaye-9307988?page=2

 

 

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