Toni Braxton and Babyface have long made really good music together. The first single from her 1993 self-titled debut album, “Another Sad Love Song,” was written by Babyface, and much of that album was produced by the music mastermind. Now the two are back with a new album of duets titled Love, Marriage & Divorce. The R&B singer said working with Babyface was like a homecoming of sorts.
“He’s how I got in the business so it was very familiar, like being at home. You know, he’s like my home town,” the 46-year-old mother of two told ABC News Radio outside a recent event for Gain laundry detergent in New York City at which she was performing last month. “And when we get in the studio I’m always familiar and we can try things together. He encouraged me to do a lot of writing. He said, ‘Toni, you’re a writer! You need to let people know this. You need to play. People need to see you play piano. They need to know you’re a musician.’ So I’ve been doing a lot more of that.”
And despite the steamy chemistry fans see the two R&B artists display on stage when they perform their #1 debut single, “Hurt You,” Toni maintains the two are strictly platonic friends.
“I used to have a terrible crush on him during the first album when we worked together, but then I realized he just sees me as a little sister so [I should] just be the little sister,” the Maryland native explained. “We’re both single, but sometimes you get stuck in the baby sister and the friend thing, and it’s there forever. …but he is my musical husband. We are married. He doesn’t know that, but we’re married.”
One of Toni’s favorite songs from her first new album since 2010’s Pulse, is “I Wish.” The song centers on the breakdown of her mother Evelyn‘s relationship with her father, Michael.
“I wrote that song for my mother, but it’s about how she felt about my dad when they got a divorce, when she found out about his infidelity,” Toni said. “So I remember she said to us, ‘I hope she breaks your heart. I hope she gives him a disease. I don’t want him to die though.’ So I wrote a song about those lyrics.”
Toni told ABC News Radio that she’s trying to concentrate on being an artist rather than on counting album sales now. The Grammy Award-winning artist has come along way from last year when she threatened to retire. Toni said she’ll never retire again.
“I was in a weird space,” she said. “But thank God for great friends like Babyface and Anita Baker…who said it’s not time. It’s never going to be time actually.”
Love, Marriage & Divorce hits shelves Tuesday.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio