Duo to breathe again in SA

CityPress - - News -

Mu­si­cian, song­writer, record pro­ducer and mul­ti­ple Grammy Award win­ner Ken­neth “Baby­face” Ed­monds and singer Toni Brax­ton have started their first African tour to­gether af­ter the re­lease of their hit al­bum.

Their first show was in Harare, Zim­babwe, on Fri­day and they start the South African leg of their tour in Dur­ban tonight. Does Baby­face know he has a large lo­cal fan base? “I re­ally have no idea how big the sup­port is,” he told City Press from Harare.

Ed­monds pro­duced Brax­ton’s first al­bum in 1993. The song Breathe Again from her de­but of­fer­ing was one of the global hits, among other tracks on the al­bum.

“Vis­it­ing South Africa is an op­por­tu­nity to see what the coun­try knows and to prove that mu­sic is a uni­ver­sal lan­guage we can all un­der­stand,” said Ed­monds.

He says he and Brax­ton will be per­form­ing their in­di­vid­ual songs and a few tracks from their re­cent col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort – Love, Mar­riage & Di­vorce – which won the Best R&B Al­bum award at the Gram­mys this year.

He said they de­cided on the al­bum af­ter Brax­ton vented her frus­tra­tions about the cur­rent mu­sic scene.

“She said she didn’t know what her place was any more and what to make of mu­sic. So I told her to make the al­bum and the mu­sic she needed to make. We made an al­bum about love, mar­riage and di­vorce be­cause she had just gone through a di­vorce and that was what was real and rel­e­vant for her.”

The duo had no ex­pec­ta­tions of how well the al­bum would do. It sold 67 000 copies in its first week and went on to sell 1.5 mil­lion copies in the US. It was one of the big­gest-selling al­bums in South Africa last year.

“I told Toni it didn’t mat­ter how it sold, as along it felt right for her.”

The duo starts their South African tour at the Moses Mab­hida Sta­dium tonight. This will be fol­lowed by a show in Cape Town at the Grand Arena, GrandWest Casino on Tues­day and they will round off their tour with con­certs on Thurs­day and Fri­day at the Tick­etpro Dome in Joburg.

Tick­ets avail­able at tick­etpro.co.za.

– Gugulethu Mhlungu

PHOTO: WIREIMAGE

Toni Brax­ton and Ken­neth ‘Baby­face’ Ed­monds

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