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Toni Braxton Reinvents Herself as a Dance Diva, Eighth Studio Album Due Next Month

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Toni Braxton Reinvents Herself as a Dance Diva, Eighth Studio Album Due Next Month

Toni Braxton

90s R&B diva Toni Braxton is reinventing herself as a full fledged dance diva ya'll and I can't get enough!  "I Heart You" is the first single taken from Braxton's upcoming eighth studio album, a double disc set called Heartstrings & Synagogue Vibes, tentatively due in May. 

Written by Toni Braxton and Keri Lewis, "I Heart You" starts out like your run-of-the-mill Toni Braxton R&B ballad before launching into a rowdy dance floor anthem.  While the lyrics really lack much in the way of substance, the beat is so infectiously addictive that you don't really care what she's saying.  

I have to say, it's fantastic to hear Toni Braxton singing on a straight up dance track, a natural progression if you ask me, given how the majority of her more traditional R&B tracks were remixed for the clubs.  Toni's music has always been DJ-friendly, attracting big names in the industry such as Hex Hector, David Morales, Frankie Knuckles, Peter Rauhofer, Junior Vasquez and more.  One would hope that this single gets some bangin' remixes soon.  As it stands, "I Heart You" is this weeks #2 most added record on Billboard's Dance Chart {SOURCE}. Check out the extended mix by renowned DJ/producer Marc Picchiotti BELOW.

Last year, it was announced that the six-time Grammy winner had signed with Los Angeles-based entertainment/production company The Collective, alongside singer/songwriter BC Jean and Destiny's Child founding member Kelly Rowland.  As part of the deal with The Collective, Braxton's album, Heartstrings & Synagogue Vibes will released as a "collective" itself.  Essentially, this means that Toni Braxton will join forces with a series of different record labels on a non-exclusive basis and THOSE LABELS will in turn market and distribute each single accordingly.  Definitely an interesting approach to the whole process.  I've heard of artists releasing a series of singles, but never through different record labels. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Toni Braxton I Heart You

Working with LA Reid on the album, Braxton promises it will be a mix of R&B and dance music, the two genres that I think are synonymous with the diva.  Much like Shania Twain's 2002 album Up!, Heartstrings and Synagogue Vibes will feature two discs of the same songs, with slight variations of course.  On the nine-track Heartstrings disc, songs will feature a more traditional R&B and dance-pop sound, while Synagogue Vibes will feature those same songs with "a fusion of Jewish and Arabic music" incorporated into the production and instrumentation, a sort of homage to her Jewish background.  Very interesting.'s bout a history lesson?

Toni Braxton released her debut self-titled album back in 1993 and saw it go straight to the top of the Billboard 200.  The album spawned hit singles "Another Sad Love Song," and "Breathe Again," the latter of which was a top 5 hit in both America (#3) and the UK (#2).  Braxton's follow up album, 2006's Secrets was also a big success, peaking at #2 in America and #10 in the UK.  Secrets gave Braxton the only two #1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 of her entire career, "You're Makin' Me High" and "Un-Break My Heart," the latter of which was successful world wide.  

2000's The Heat, Braxton's third album peaked at #2 in the States and featured the hit single "He Wasn't Man Enough."  Unfortunately, aside from some success on the dance charts, The Heat failed to see any more hit singles.  After releasing a holiday album in 2001, Braxton came back in 2002 with More Than A Woman.  The album peaked at #13 in America and only saw the release of one single, the Loon-assisted "Hit The Freeway," which stalled out at #86 on the Hot 100.  Newly signed to Blackground Records, Braxton released Libra in 2005, which peaked at a respectable #4 on the Billboard 200 but once again failing to see a hit single.  2010's Pulse was Braxton's first album released by Atlantic Records, peaking at #9.  Yet again, aside from a couple of modest hits on Billboard's R&B Songs chart, the album failed to see a hit single.  

Toni Braxton

Based on Braxton's lack of hit singles these past few albums, perhaps this deal with The Collective makes sense. If the labels releasing the singles are responsible for all the marketing and promotion, that leaves The Collective responsible for marketing the album, right? Let's just hope the labels all do their part. I'd love to see Toni Braxton match the success of her glory days.

Check out the Bille Woodruff-directed video for "I Heart You" below and look out for that sexy leading man (who doubles as a DJ). That man is Braxton's real life beau. DAMN girl.  Download "I Heart You" on U.S. iTunes HERE and look out for Braxton's new album next month.

Check out Toni Braxton on the web:

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