Toni Braxton releases greatest hits album

As she begins the second decade of her mega-successful career, ULTIMATE TONI BRAXTON celebrates one of the most extraordinary track records in Arista recording history with an 18-song collection – the first anthology ever released of her work – that will arrive in stores November 4th, it was announced today by Antonio “L.A.” Reid, president and CEO, Arista Records. Featuring virtually every chart single release by Toni Braxton in chronological order, the collection also presents three tracks making their first appearance on any album: a live version of “Seven Whole Days”; and two previously unreleased songs, “Whatchu Need” and “The Little Things.”The first female artist signed by Reid and Kenneth ‘Babyface’ Edmonds to their (then) new Atlanta-based LaFace Records in 1991, Toni Braxton was destined to become an industry legend, amassing global sales of more than 40 million albums, singles and videos. ULTIMATE TONI BRAXTON earns its title as the definitive overview of her entire recording career, from her 1992 debut “Give U My Heart” with Babyface, and “Love Shoulda Brought You Home,” both #2 R&B and top 40 pop crossover hits) – all the way to “Hit The Freeway” from last year’s album, More Than A Woman.

In the course of its 18 tracks, ULTIMATE TONI BRAXTON collects every one of her chart-topping #1 R&B and #1 pop hits, including a live version of “Seven Whole Days,” which helped send her self-titled debut album, 1993’s Toni Braxton, to 8-times platinum, along with “Another Sad Love Song,” “Breathe Again,” “You Mean The World To Me,” and “How Many Ways.” The 1993 Grammy awards responded by voting her Best New Artist, while “Another Sad Love Song” won the honor for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, an award she reprised the following year for “Breathe Again.”

With the release of her second album, 1996’s Secrets, Toni Braxton earned a place in Grammy history as only the second woman (beside Dionne Warwick) ever to win Best Female Pop Vocal (for “Un-break My Heart”) and Best Female R&B Vocal (for “You’re Makin’ Me High”) – in the same year. The two RIAA platinum #1 singles, along with “Let It Flow” and the double-A sided smash, “I Love Me Some Him” b/w “I Don’t Want To” resulted in another 8-times platinum selling album for Secrets, a benchmark achievement.

After nearly a four year hiatus between recordings, Toni Braxton returned in April 2000 with her third album, The Heat. Its first single pick, “He Wasn’t Man Enough,” was another solid #1 R&B and #2 pop crossover hit that stayed on the charts for more than eight months. At the 28th annual American Music Awards the following January, The Heat won for Best R&B Album, while “He Wasn’t Man Enough” took Best Female R&B Vocal and Best R&B Song kudos. At the Grammy awards six weeks later, the single again won Best Female R&B Vocal honors.

Another lengthy (two and a half year) break followed between recordings, during which time Toni became a mother for the first time – a new role that was added to her expanding repertoire as wife, recording superstar, and pop diva, all of which was explored on her fifth album, More Than A Woman. The lead single, “Hit The Freeway” (featuring Bad Boy rapper Loon) was produced by the Neptunes and benefited from a video shot on location in Los Angeles by directors Dave Meyers and Charles Infante.

Toni Braxton’s current long-distance run on Broadway in the starring role of Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida (in which she appears through mid-November) is just the latest conquest by an extraordinary performer. ULTIMATE TONI BRAXTON puts the first decade of her career under the spotlights in one package for the first time, a well-earned tribute to one of Arista’s core artists.

Toni Braxton is leaving Arista!

Toni Braxton Splits Arista, Inks With Blackground

R&B star Toni Braxton is leaving Arista Records to join Blackground Records, Billboard Bulletin has learned. Universal-distributed Blackground has tentative plans to issue a new Braxton album Sept. 16, preceded by the first single in June or July.

“Toni is one of the most distinctive and powerful voices to come out in the last 25-30 years,” Blackground founder Barry Hankerson, who also manages Braxton, tells Bulletin. “This signing is an incredible opportunity to literally continue the development process. With most artists you look to put out one or two albums. With Toni, you know she will have a career for decades to come.”

Braxton’s last album, 2002’s “More Than a Woman,” has sold 375,000 units in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. Before that, the artist recorded five albums for Arista imprint LaFace, including 2000’s “The Heat,” which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums tally and has sold more than 2 million copies.

Arista executives had no comment.

Toni Braxton Gets Bitchy About Jennifer Lopez

Toni Braxton got catty with Jennifer Lopez and you’ll be able to read it all and more in the December issue of Vibe magazine.

Toni Braxton commented “She’s a very good actress, but she’s new to the singing world.”

As for those who suggested her Richard Tyler gown at the 2001 Grammy’s was a move to try and outdo the now infamous green Versace/J Lo wore the year before, she said “Nothing against her, but to insinuate that I’m trying to be like her? I puke.”

“I’m sorry but in case you haven’t noticed this is not my first Grammy. I have six. How many does she have?”

Is Toni Braxton pregrant again and will this effect her new album?

Is it time for celebration in the Braxton home. Rumors persist that 6x Grammy-Award winning diva is pregnant again. This would make number two for Toni Braxton and producer husband Keri Lewis. “It could very well be true. She has been traveling from LA to New York to Atlanta recently recording her new album but, has stayed out of the limelight.” says an insider.

Toni Braxton was also scheduled to perform on the Today Show this past week but pulled out and has also missed confirmed dates to present at this years, Espy Awards and Teen Music Awards. While Arista has a firm, “no comment,” which in my book either means, “we have no idea,” or “yes,” they plan to move on with her new album which is now due in November.

Toni says “I am not broke”

After filing for bankruptcy in 1998, TONI BRAXTON is back in the black. But the singer had a recent scare that made her worry that her money troubles had cropped up again. “I had this credit card that I hardly ever used, and I charged some home-furnishing things that were probably $8,000,” says Braxton, 35, who plays the wife of a rap star in VH1’s original movie PLAY’D : A HIP HOP STORY, which premiered on June 26. “The salesperson was like, ‘Sorry, your credit card is not working.’ I wanted to melt. So I said, “You know what, why don’t we try another one?’ I thought, ‘Oh my God, is it going to work?’ It did,” says Braxton, laughing. “But they are going to think I am still broke.”

Toni Braxton: Music and Film

Toni Braxton will soon be putting the finishing touches on her fifth album, but in the meantime, the six-time Grammy winner has been testing her acting chops and taking care of her infant son, Denim.

The album probably won’t be out until fall, but fans will get to see her outside of her usual torch-singer role tonight in the VH1 movie Play’d: A Hip-Hop Story (9 ET/PT). She portrays the wife of an in-over-his-head rap star (Rashaan Nall) who splits with his longtime partner (Merlin Santana) and signs with a gangster-influenced West Coast record company.”It touches on some elements of the Biggie and Tupac story, so I read some things about that to help me prepare,” says Braxton, who previously appeared on Broadway in Beauty and the Beast and in the ensemble film comedy Kingdom Come.

”I’ve been singing professionally now for 10 years, and it is something that I’ll always do, but I always want to do other things. It was important that I took a role that established me as an actress, and I didn’t want to do anything that would have me singing.”

Braxton, who says she’s looking over other scripts but hasn’t committed to anything, gets to show her tender and tough sides in Play’d, where she’s the emotional anchor for rapper Nall.

But for all the domestic drama she faces on screen, her life at home couldn’t be happier.

”Motherhood is keeping me busy,” says Braxton, 33, who gave birth Dec. 2. ”I just love being a mom.”

She and husband Keri Lewis, the former Mint Condition keyboardist whom she wed in April 2001, split time between homes in Atlanta and Los Angeles. The couple met in 1997 while she was on tour with Kenny G and Mint Condition served as her band. Lewis is now an independent producer and songwriter who wrote the title track of Braxton’s platinum 2000 album, The Heat, and played on several songs.

They also collaborated on her Christmas album, Snowflakes, which came out not long before Denim’s birth.

”I didn’t get to promote it like I would have liked, but I was pregnant at the time,” says Braxton. ”The record company (Arista) wanted me to wait, but (the album) was something I really wanted to do.”

Promotion won’t be a problem when her new album comes out. It will include beats from several hot producers including Timbaland and Kenneth ”Babyface” Edmonds.

”Babyface and I have worked together for so long that we have our own magic,” she says.

The still-untitled project will be a departure for the singer best known for such songs as Un-Break My Heart, You Mean the World to Me, Seven Whole Days and Another Sad Love Song.

”The new album will be more amplified,” she says. ”There will be a couple of sad songs on there, but I’m at a happy time in my life now, so it’s a little more difficult to sing about being sad.”

Mama Toni

Toni Braxton is finding the joys of motherhood difficult to reconcile with a recording schedule. The Grammy-winning singer is juggling her six month old baby boy Denim with a rush to finish off her new album.

She says, “It’s like my life is no longer mine. It’s his. It’s been an adjustment, trying to get acclimated to his schedule. Like last night, I came in from the studio at 4:30 am and Denim woke up at 6:30 am, and I haven’t slept.”

Toni Braxton and Irv Gotti

Irv Gotti, the mastermind behind J. Lo and Ja Rule collaborations “I’m Real” and “Ain’t It Funny,” has cooked up a ghetto anthem for R&B diva Toni Braxton that could end up on her new album due out October 1.

On an untitled song, Gotti has Braxton singing the hook from Tupac’s “Me And My Girlfriend,” from the late rapper’s 1996 album Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory released posthumously under the alias Makaveli.

“Toni’s singing, ‘All I need in this life of sin/Is me and my boyfriend/Ride with me to the bloody end/Just me and my boyfriend,'” Gotti told us. “Yo, when n–gas hear that they gone be like, ‘Gotti is a fool, yo!'”

Gotti added that Braxton was open to the idea from the beginning. “She was totally with it,” Gotti said. “She was like, ‘That’s f–king hot.’ I’m thinking about putting DMX on it, just for the combination of beauty and the beast. ‘Cause he’s a f–king animal, and she’s such a petite little…I think the combination of them two on screen would be stupid.”

Gotti’s Irv Gotti Presents The Inc. enters the Billboard 200 chart at Number Three this week, and features songs with J-Lo, Ashanti, Ja Rule, Charli Baltimore, Caddillac Tah, and others.

Toni Braxton’s Got No More Love For Irv Gotti

According to a website, Toni Braxton is extremely upset at R&B/Hip Hop producer Irv Gotti.

Purportedly a day after Ja Rule spilled to BET that Irv Gotti would be producing Toni’s first single, Irv, apparently delivered a rough draft to a New York radio station, coming in as an on-air personality.

Toni’s ‘No More Love’ was played during the afternoon show and the problem is Toni nor anyone at her label, Arista Records, agreed to the servicing of the single.

This was pretty much a hush-hush affair since many Arista representatives had absolutely no idea that the song had been produced.

To make matters worse, Irv Gotti rhymes on the track, which is being shipped out as the dirty version. According to sources within Arista, the ‘Unbreak My Heart’ crooner did not approve the version, the rhyming or the vocals at all.

Toni’s new material is said to be dropping into record stores in the coming few months.