By Rev. Dorothy Boulware

Singer, reality show co-star and now, solo recording artist, Traci Braxton, stopped by the AFRO, Oct. 6.

The Braxton sister who’s “second to the oldest,” who thought her personal dream had expired, finds herself singing a song to encourage others to keep theirs going.

Her first album, Crash and Burn which dropped Oct. 7, is the outcome of a struggle that taught her that it doesn’t matter what your parents think, it really doesn’t matter what friends and family members tell you. Even if you crumble or fall, it’s not the end.

AFRO’s Wanda Pearson poses with singer Traci Braxton. (Photo by Rev. Dorothy Boulware)

“I can still start something new,” Traci said.

And it’s new and it’s different.

“I have a different sound from my sisters. It’s a distinctive sound with a style from Mary J. and Jill Scott,” Traci said. “I’m a round the way Girl. Like ‘What’s up. What’s up.”

She said the new collection reveals more about Traci, set apart from her siblings.

“I sing about what I’m going through relationship wise, what other people are going through too.”

One of the songs was written by her brother Michael for their parents when they were going through a divorce.

AFRO’s Diane Hocker poses with singer Traci Braxton. (Photo by Rev. Dorothy Boulware)

“It was actually written for Toni to record, which she did, but it was never published.” Traci asked Michael for permission to sing it and was a little taken aback when she realized permission would have to come from Toni.

“But she was so helpful to me. She coached me in singing it,” Traci said. “To have a six-time Grammy winner to tell you what to do with a song; that made it so rewarding. It was an emotional and grateful feeling all at the same time.”

Crash and Burn has taken a while to materialize, having to be scheduled around the filming of the popular “Braxton Family Values,” reality show.

When Braxton toured the AFRO Archives, she couldn’t believe the number of bound volumes that hold more than a lifetime of Black history. (Photo by Rev. Dorothy Boulware)

When asked what she wants people to know about her, Traci said, “I’m more than what meets the eye. Besides being funny and crazy, I’m very passionate. And I do finish things.”

Her reference was to a couple of times going to cosmetology school and also not finishing college yet.

But it’s all good and it’s all happening in good time. She talked about how much the television show has improved upon their relationships.

(Photo by Rev. Dorothy Boulware)

“There was so much going on between the sisters all the time, there wasn’t really room for the guys,” she said.  The spouses didn’t get a chance to be spouses. It was hard for the guys to try to get together and we didn’t promote that at all,” Traci said. “It had always been about us. We pushed them aside proclaiming every day Sisters’ Day.”

She said, “Doing the show made us realize that and create boundaries that make for stronger family ties. We needed to pay attention to our individual families and create our own traditions.”

Crash and Burn, which features the hit single “Last Call,” includes a duet with Raheem DeVaughn. (Courtesy Photo)

She said the same boundaries also became the basis for much of their bickering, which actually increased.

“Boundaries cause problems. We hadn’t realized how much we’d invaded each other’s space.”

It was destined to happen. She said her manager heard her singing to herself one day as she walked through the office.

“He said, ‘Girl get in this office right now. Stop playing,’” Traci said. He was furious with me.

“’Two more days and you’re gonna lay that song down. You’re going to waste a dream,’” he told me.

And as soon as the 24 songs were done,” I was signed the same day.”

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