Toni Braxton's father was an Apostolic (Pentecostal) preacher, and she was raised in strict Pentecostal home. Her parents became Methodists while she was growing up, and Braxton began her music career as a singer in the church choir at the Methodist church they attended.
From: "Singer of the Week: Toni Braxton" page on AskMen.com website (http://www.askmen.com/women/singer/8c_toni_braxton.html; viewed 28 October 2005):
Toni Braxton was born October 7, 1968, in Severn, Maryland, the daughter of an Apostolic minister and a vocalist. Toni, her four sisters and her brother were forced to live under the strict rules of their family's faith. The girls of the Braxton family were not allowed to wear pants, sandals or makeup, were not allowed to have boyfriends, and the children were not allowed to listen to mainstream music. That didn't stop them from listening to music; when their parents were out, they watched Soul Train and listened to music.From: Steve Huey, "Toni Braxton" article on "Libero - Community - I siti personali" website (http://digilander.libero.it/gianniv/music/htm/artist.toni_braxton.htm; viewed 28 October 2005):
Toni and her siblings no longer had to sneak around to watch television once her parents joined the United Methodist Church, which had less strict rules. Watching soul greats such as Stevie Wonder and Chaka Khan eventually contributed to Toni's musical style.
Doe-eyed Toni discovered her talent as a member of the church choir, which her mother encouraged her to join. Although Toni knew she wanted to pursue a singing career, she received a college education at Bowie State University.
Toni Braxton was one of the most popular and commercially female R&B singers of the '90s, thanks to her ability to straddle seemingly opposite worlds. Braxton was soulful enough for R&B audiences, but smooth enough for adult contemporary; sophisticated enough for adults, but sultry enough for younger listeners; strong enough in the face of heartbreak to appeal to women, but ravishing enough to nab the fellas. Wielding such broad appeal, Braxton managed to score not one, but two albums that sold over eight million copies; naturally, they were accompanied by a long string of hit singles on the pop and R&B charts, one of which -- "Un-Break My Heart" -- ranks among the longest-running number one pop hits of the rock era.
Toni Braxton was born in Severn, Maryland on October 7, 1968. The daughter of a minister, she was raised mostly in the strict Apostolic faith, which prohibited not only all popular culture, but also pants in women's wardrobes. Encouraged by their mother, an operatically trained vocalist, Braxton and her four sisters began singing in church as girls; although gospel was the only music permitted in the household, the girls often watched Soul Train when their parents went shopping. Braxton's parents later converted to a different faith [Methodist], and eased their restrictions on secular music somewhat, allowing Braxton more leeway to develop her vocal style; because of her husky voice, she often used male singers like Luther Vandross, Stevie Wonder, and Michael McDonald as models, as well as Chaka Khan. Braxton had some success on the local talent-show circuit, continuing to sing with her sisters, and after high school studied to become a music teacher. However, Braxton soon dropped out of college after she was discovered singing to herself at a gas station by songwriter Bill Pettaway... With Pettaway's help, Braxton and her sisters signed with Arista Records in 1990 as a group dubbed simply the Braxtons.