Toni Michelle Braxton was born on October 7, in Severn, Maryland, to Michael Braxton, a minister, and his wife, Evelyn. Brought up in a Christian household that prohibited listening to secular music, Toni and her four younger sisters began singing at an early age at their father’s church. Over time, Michael and Evelyn Braxton eased their rules, allowing their daughters to watch “Soul Train” and gain exposure to singers like Stevie Wonder and Chaka Khan. Music quickly became a central component in Toni’s life and she entered local talent shows while collaborating with her sisters. Following high school, Toni attended Bowie State University where she planned on becoming a music teacher.