Hot off his successful collaboration with Toni Braxton on “Love, Marriage & Divorce,” Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds is readying his first solo album in seven years — and first of original material since 2005’s “Grown & Sexy.”
Babyface tells us the new project is in motion, with hopes for “a single in September and an album next year, around Valentine’s Day.” He adds that working with Braxton as well as on upcoming albums by Barbra Streisand and Aretha Franklin “inspired me. Just doing work here recently with a number of 6peole has just got me back into the mode of writing and wanting to record. So I’ve been putting things together off to the side, as I always do, and I’m getting ready to beam in on it this summer and have it done by this fall.”
Babyface adds the set is shaping up to be “a feel-good record. It’s musical. It’s not necessarily a completely slow album. It’s got a groove to it — not dance music, just a groove to it. I’ve been out on tour not just with Toni but with Frankie Beverly and Charlie Wilson and Kem and those guys, who [release] not just commercial records but things that just feel good. And that’s inspired me to do a very musical record, which I’ve always tried to do, anyway.”
In addition to working on the album, Babyface has also been enjoying the dates with Braxton and the success of “Love, Marriage & Divorce,” which debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 and No. 1 on the Top R&B Albums chart in February. He’s particularly happy that Braxton, who hadn’t released anything in four years, has “found her voice again” as well as her passion for making music.
“The main reason I wanted to do the album was to get Toni back into wanting to record again, and wanting to be an artist and be in music,” explains Babyface, who launched Braxton’s career with his LaFace Records in 1993. “She was really done with it and frustrated with it all, so I just wanted to give her a reason to want to sing again. And from the first moment I heard her singing in the studio when we started I said, ‘Oh my God, there she is, and I miss that.’ It was nice to hear. So to me the next stepping stone is another great Toni Braxton album. She’s ready to fly again.”