Toni Braxton’s Journey to Artistic Renewal
When times get tough, there is nothing more powerful than the comfort and advice of a best friend. In the creative realm of artistic expression, sometimes it takes a blast of motivational inspiration to set things in perspective. Such is the case with the phenomenal friendship between Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds and Toni Braxton.
Both of these respected performers have experienced the "sweet and sour" sides of love. As musical artists of the first caliber, the two have taken all the emotional twists and turns of relationships and beautifully showcased them with the release of "Love, Marriage and Divorce," available Tuesday, February 4.
Based on the title of the CD, tell me how it was creating the songs to reflect the tone and balance of the album?
Babyface came to me when I was going through that odd period of my life when I was planing to retire. I was just going through a divorce and he said, "Toni, you have to talk about it. Everyone’s been where you are. I’m here. Put the words to music and melody and use it to help you." That’s how we came up with "Love, Marriage and Divorce."
For me, the whole session was therapeutic and it helped me get through that phase in my life. I’m still getting through it. So while we were deciding the songs, some of them were autobiographical. But everything on the CD is not about my personal life. There’s a song called "I Wish." That’s about my mom dealing with her divorce from my dad. She hated my dad, she hated everything about him. She just wanted him to suffer, like he made her suffer, so that’s not my personal story, but my mom inspired me to write that.
We wanted the album to reflect what both sides feel. We wanted it to be something that everybody could identify with.
Having such a long personal and professional friendship with Babyface, describe some of your thoughts on the creative aspect of working on a whole album together.
We’d been talking about it for a while and finally, we got it to happen. We kind of bumped heads a little bit initially...just creatively. We joke and laugh about it now. He said, "I’m used to you as my artist I helped. Now you’ve found yourself. Now, you’re an artist and you have your own thoughts and ideas; it’s like watching my sister grow up and I have to respect that you’re a grown woman now. You have your own ideas and philosophy on how you want your artistry to be."
It was a little bit challenging, not hard but challenging. We found our way. I think it was the big brother saw his little sister grow up and said, "Okay. I have to let her be a woman now." That’s always good. That even helped us because you could hear the passion in the songs, because we had a little bit of that conflict. You know, he’s my musical husband, I always tell him that anyway.
Is there one song that evokes the essence of when "it’s all so good" in a relationship that is featured on the album?