Toni Braxton to perform at James L Knight Center

 

Thursday night

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By Madeleine Marr

From the sounds of it on a recent conference call, Toni Braxton has it all together.

She's a survivor. The Maryland native who shot to fame with such hits as Unbreak My Heart, You Makin Me High and Breathe Again, has been through her share of stuff: bankruptcy, divorce from Keri Lewis (just finalized), health issues (her son is autistic, and Braxton suffers from various ailments including the autoimmune disorder lupus).

The Grammy winning Braxton’s Family Values star is nonetheless upbeat and promises to give the concert her all in support of a duets album with longtime collaborator Babyface Edmonds ( Give You My Heart). Their Love, Marriage & Divorce goes on sale Dec. 3.

How did it feel to reunite with Babyface?

I was feeling a little depressed, like I couldn’t control my life as much as before. He told me, ‘That’s part of your story. You gotta get up and do it even if you don’t want to.’ That’s the challenge. We have such a great relationship and have been through the same kind of things. But to be honest, I’m still nervous, a little unsure and cautious. That’s what we need guts for. I’m going to have fun this time. I love performing.

In your opinion, what does it take to be a great performer?

I think to be successful is knowing the limitations and knowing how far you can go, how far you can stretch your instrument. I try to understand my voice, my body. I wish I could jump and dance more, but I’m in my 40s now and had to change. That doesn’t mean I’m limiting anything. I know who I am and how I got here.

How are you doing physically?

I feel good. I’m just getting ready to be Toni Braxton. This is the first time in my career that I’m not thinking about the No. 1 song. Everything I’ve been through, it’s an adjustment to look at this [tour] as just art. It’s about making music and enjoying it. That’s refreshing. I have to remember to breathe in between songs.

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