In an exclusive interview, multi-Platinum winning superstars Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and Toni Braxton explained what it’s like to sing the classics.
Having scored their highest charting album [“Love, Marriage & Divorce”] ever on Billboard, the two are hardly slumming. Their short stint guesting will be in “After Midnight.”
EUR: Why Broadway at this juncture, are you two bored [said in jest]?
BABYFACE EDMONDS: [Laughs] No, although Toni’s been here before. This is old hat for her.
EUR: What’s the challenge?
TONI BRAXTON: The discipline. Eight shows in six days, that alone.
BE: Dancing, the poetry, singing songs that you’re not used to singing. It’s a whole new world.
TB: But it’s fun
BE: It’s a challenge but its fun. It’s a good thing, even at my age…
BE: I’ll be 56 in April.
TB: Well, you know Black don’t crack [Laughs].
BE: It’s challenging to go for things out of your comfort zone, and learn new things.
EUR: Why this particular setting?
BE: Duke Ellington. This is our history, Duke Ellington, Langston Hughes, the musicians that are on that stage, how great they are. And the time period, from the costumes on, everything about it is great. It’s Black history in the making and it’s wonderful to be a part of it. It’s inspiring to celebrate it in this manner.
EUR: Since this is your third time around, Toni, what’s the draw this time?
TB: I think as a singer I like to feel challenged. I’ve heard the great songs sung by Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne and so forth and I thought I could never even attempt that. So it’s exciting that they thought of me, Tony Braxton, and Babyface coming here singing these songs. When I sing them I feel like I’m channeling them, like educating myself, adding to me as a performer. It’s great.
EUR: Why are you leaving so soon?
TB: I know it’s only two weeks but we go on tour in June and we’re going to rehearsals for our album in April. At first we thought we couldn’t do it, so it was great that they said, ‘Ok, take two weeks.’
BE: I’m here for just a couple of weeks to see whether it works out for me. So if it works, then maybe we’ll come back.
TB: We may come back in the winter
Syndicated reporter Marie Moore covers Entertainment from her New York City base. Contact her at [email protected]