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Charts feel 'The Heat' of Braxton's newest release
HOLLYWOOD (CNN) -- It's not just the title of Toni Braxton's new release that's shooting sparks.
With her single "He Wasn't Man Enough" enjoying its 10th week on the Billboard Hot Singles chart and her new album, "The Heat," debuting at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 just one week ago, Braxton is as hot as her music.
"The first two albums, I think I was a young adult," Braxton said in a recent interview, recalling her recordings from the early 1990s. "Now I definitely feel like an adult. I feel like a woman, probably for the first time in my life."
With "The Heat," which she also produced, Braxton, 32, is back in the LaFace fold. In it, she collaborates with Robin Givens, Lisa "Left-Eye" Lopes of TLC and rapper Dr. Dre, among other artists.
Mixing the beat
That strategy could have been inspired by Santana's blockbuster "Supernatural," which features collaborations with artists from a variety of musical genres -- Everclear, Lauryn Hill, Eric Clapton, Rob Thomas.
"With music changing the way it is," she said, "I think it's important to make music eclectic, so you have a variety for all different types of listeners."
This is Braxton's first new album in four years. Her last album, 1996's "Secrets," scored two Grammys. Braxton also has three more Grammys, including best new artist for her 1993 self-titled debut.
Then, Broadway and bankruptcy kept Braxton out of the recording studio.
Broadway came in the form of the role of Belle in the Disney stage production of "Beauty and the Beast." She became the first African-American to play the part.
'Broke, dumped and pimped'
But that career high point was intermingled with troubles, too. In 1998, she went through a very public Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
"They came and they assessed all my things in my home, from my Grammys -- I mean, everything," she said. "And I got an opportunity to buy my Grammys back."
In the liner notes to her album, Braxton says she's been "broke, dumped and pimped" over the last three years. Her new songs reflect what she's learned.
"The biggest lesson was just believing in myself," she said. "I'm like the Lifetime channel on a CD for music for women. So, you know, I always male bash a little teeny bit."
All males, that is, except her dad. Braxton's the daughter of a minister who says he always supports her, even if he doesn't always understand her work.
Her outlook on other men may be on the upswing, along with her career. "I am dating and it's looking good, so I'll keep my fingers crossed," she said. "Every time I talk about it, it never works out, so ... maybe I shouldn't say anything. But I have to talk a little bit."
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Toni Braxton on LaFace Records
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