Toni Braxton Exclusive Interview With CEEK VR!


Ever since she first landed her first Top 40 hit (“Love Shoulda Brought You Home”) all the way back in 1992, Toni Braxton has been one of the most talented, hardest-working women in R&B. While the genre’s popularity has grown and waned throughout the decades, Braxton’s fans haven’t gone anywhere, and she has kept producing the tunes they love. She recently released a new single called “Deadwood,” which is just the first taste of new works coming this year. 

I chatted with Braxton while she was promoting her new Lifetime movie Faith Under Fire: The Antoinette Tuff Story, and she spoke about where she’s planning on visiting on her upcoming tour and those songs she’s still in love with performing live, even after all these years. 

CEEK VR: So what's the plan for the rest of 2018? 
Braxton: The album comes out in March, so I'm really excited.

CEEK VR: What's the plan for promoting it, touring it, all that?
Braxton: We go on tour the end of May, so it's definitely touring. Tickets will go on sale in March. I'm really excited. I haven't done a world tour in years, so it's long overdue.

CEEK VR: How much of the world are you visiting? 
Braxton: Well, you know, every year, I go to Russia and Dubai. Every year I do it. So now, of course include that, I've done Australia. I would do one offs, I’d go out for six weeks and do something here in the States and then go to Russia for two or three weeks but now I'm going to do everything, Japan, Russia, Dubai, everything. 

CEEK VR: What makes Russia and Dubai specifically your places?
Braxton: Yeah, I don't know. They love me in all of them. I mean, I perform everywhere from the Kremlin to any place you can think of in Russia. My favorite city is St. Petersburg, even though Moscow is the food place for me, I love how St. Petersburg looks. It's so beautiful to me. Snow, man, I mean, you're used to snow, right? 

CEEK VR: Yeah. 
Braxton: Think of snow but the air is so crisp.

CEEK VR: You're selling me on it.
Braxton: Yeah! 

CEEK VR: Is there a song from your repertoire that you still love doing? 
Braxton: “Breathe Again.” Every time I sing it, it makes me... Of all the songs, that's the one I enjoy singing most. People think it's “Unbreak My Heart.” No, that's the hardest to sing. 

‘Cause usually that's the end of the show. So now I'll put it at the top of the show, sing it, get it over with, because I think it's important when you go to a person's concert that the song sounds like the song. You can do more inflections and change it, but the hook has to be the hook. Do you ever go to a concert and you're like "I don't even know what this song is. It's a completely different song." As an artist, we try to reinvent it because we have to do the same song over and over every night for years! 

You can't just go and do it or you add someone else's song to your show just to change it up a little bit, but I have to remind myself, "No, they came here to hear this song. They love this song. They need to sing along with it." So I work really hard to change it up. Like “Unbreak My Heart,” I want to add all these runs to the end of it and make it even a little more gospel, but I can't do it so I sing it straight, and sometimes I hear other artists sing my song and they're really singing it. I'm like, "Oh my God, I wish I could do that!"

CEEK VR: Especially the big singles.
Braxton: The big singles. You've gotta sing them like that. I mean, people should know that it's live. If you say, "You sing," you should hear them mimicking you. 

CEEK VR: Is there something that you sing but that you're tired of singing? Maybe it doesn't hold the same fun? 
Braxton: There’s nothing that I'm tired of doing. There may be a song I'm singing and I'm going, "This has never been my favorite song," and it still is not my favorite song but my fans love it. The listeners love it so I'm going to sing it for them.

CEEK VR: Such as?
Braxton: Oh, there's a couple of them. Let's see. “Seven Whole Days.” Not my favorite song, never was, never will be, but my fans love hearing it. Let's see. Let me think, let me think. Not “Unbreak My Heart,” because I've fallen in love with that song. Maybe “Love Shoulda Brought You Home.” It was never my favorite song. I never disliked it but it was never my favorite song. 

CEEK VR: As someone who's been doing this for a long time and has been performing hit songs for a long time, do you find yourself falling in and out of love with something like an “Unbreak My Heart?” 
Braxton: Sometimes, only because I would love to remix it and I can't. It's a classic and you leave those alone. You accessorize them sometime, add some jewelry to make it 2018, but basically, the black dress, the Chanel classic black dress is what it is, and you leave it alone.

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