Toni Braxton returns to music, and touring
Durham is on the list of just 10 concerts six-time Grammy winning singer Toni Braxton will perform in August as she tests herself on stage after five years off the road. Braxton’s music, a mix of R&B, pop, jazz and gospel, has been sold to tens of millions of fans. Her career extends beyond the recording studio, with two Broadway shows to her credit, the Lifetime movie “Twist of Faith” and the WE network reality show with her sisters, “Braxton Family Values,” which just finished its third season.
This fall, she’ll release an album with Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds. But first, she takes the stage solo for a short tour that begins Aug. 9 in Las Vegas and stops at the Durham Performing Arts Center on Aug. 18. Last week, Braxton gave a phone interview with members of the media in the tour cities.
Braxton had stopped touring after facing a health crisis in 2008 – she has lupus and considered leaving music.
Babyface helped launch Braxton’s career 20 years ago, and he’s the one who has encouraged her musical return.
He said it’s not time to give up music, she said. Braxton mentioned her illness, being a little depressed, not being able to control her life, and wondering if audiences still like her in her 40s.
“I’m still nervous, a little unsure,” she said. “It’s OK to be scared.”
This tour is Braxton’s test, she said, to see if she can get her body ready. As she and Babyface finish recording their album, she said they’re not thinking about number one songs. She hasn’t enjoyed herself in so long, Braxton said. He told her to do what she loves and discover who she is.
After her solo tour next month and the release of the Babyface collaboration, she hopes they will tour together. She also thinks there “will be a Braxton family tour before it’s all said and done.”
Braxton told The Herald-Sun that Babyface’s friendship has helped her a lot.
“I needed a person like that, needed a reminder to help you up a little bit,” Braxton said. She said she never thought her life would be like it is. She has regrets, but can’t concentrate on it, she said. Babyface tells her great parables to get her through.
Braxton also said during the phone interview that her divorce is now final. One member of the media on the call asked Braxton if she had any advice to un-break hearts, a reference to her 1996 hit song “Un-Break My Heart,” which resulted in a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
“My heart is still broken. My divorce is finally final. I am looking to have my heart un-broken, really looking,” she said. While Braxton is still friends with her ex-husband and father of their two sons, she needs to find someone to un-break her heart, she said.
For “Braxton Family Values,” she said while she loves reality shows on other people, she wasn’t comfortable with showing her own life. But her sister told her to use the show to tell her story. It was challenging, she said, to open herself up to scrutiny.
Braxton has tried to be positive through her struggles, she said.
“I want to be happy. I don’t want to be right, I want to be happy,” she said.
WANT TO GO?
WHO: Toni Braxton
WHEN: 7 p.m. Aug. 18
WHERE: Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St., Durham