Born in Maryland in 1967, Toni Braxton's big break came after Bill Pettaway overheard her singing to herself at a gas station, and subsequently helped Braxton land a record deal with Arista. In 1992, she caught another big break when she was asked to fill in for Anita Baker and sing on the soundtrack for the film Boomerang. The following year, Braxton released her debut self-titled album, garnering wide acclaim for singles like "You Mean the World to Me" and "Breathe Again." She later scored a megahit with "Un-Break My Heart," included on her second studio album, Secrets(1996). In addition to her successful recording career, Braxton made history in September 1998, when she became first black actress to play Belle in the Broadway production of Beauty and the Beast.
"My heart isn't in it anymore. I hate to say that. For what I do I have to love it. I have to feel that excitement and it's gone."
[On her February 2013 decision to retire as a recording artist.]
– Toni Braxton