*Back in the summer of 1996, siblings Tamar, Trina and Towanda Braxton stopped by the RadioScope offices in Los Angeles to talk about their new album, “So Many Ways.” The Braxtons, as they were known, had started out in 1989 with all five Braxton sisters, including Toni and Traci, under contract with Arista Records. The following year, the family released their first single, “Good Life.”
The poor showing for “Good Life” (it peaked at #79 on Billboard’s R&B/Hip Hop chart) led Arista to drop them from the label. In 1991, The Braxtons took their talents to a performance showcase for Antonio “L.A.” Reid and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, who were in the process of forming LaFace Records. L.A. famously wanted to sign only Toni, who joined LaFace promising that if she became successful, she’d find a way to get her siblings a deal as well.
Toni’s self-titled debut album was released in 1993, and her four sisters toured with her as background singers. That same year, LaFace A&R VP (and Toni’s ex-boyfriend) Bryant Reid signed The Braxtons to the label, but Reid left to work for Atlantic Records before the group could release any material. Reid got permission to take The Braxtons along with him, signing the quartet to a three-album deal at Atlantic. All was good, until Traci left the group. At the time, we were told that she was quitting the music business to become a youth counselor. It wasn’t until season 2 of their “Braxton Family Values” reality series in 2011 that Atlantic refused to keep her on because she was pregnant.
That brings us to the summer of ’96, when the remaining members of The Braxtons – Trina, Tamar and Towanda – sat down with RadioScope to talk about their new album, single and video, “So Many Ways.”
With an original airdate of Aug. 10, 1996, here’s the RadioScope segment on The Braxtons and their one and only album, “So Many Ways.”
The Braxtons – “So Many Ways” Music Video (1996)
About a month after the RadioScope interview, the trio performed a remix of “So Many Ways” with Jay-Z on September 9, 1996 at the Soul Train “Lady of Soul Awards.”
The Braxtons ft. Jay-Z – “So Many Ways” Live (1996)
The Braxtons – “So Many Ways” + Interview (1996)
“So Many Ways,” released on August 13, 1996, would be their first and last album as The Braxtons. The group broke up after Tamar signed a solo contract with DreamWorks Records in 1999, a move that Towanda learned about through industry talk instead of directly from Tamar. It caused friction within the group, as Towanda and Trina were hoping to record a follow-up album that would at last include Traci.
All five sisters wouldn’t come together for a project again until 2011, when they joined mom Evelyn Braxton for WE tv reality TV series “Braxton Family Values.”