MUSIC: TONI'S SECRET WORLD

HOW DID A SHY MINISTER'S KID BECOME ONE OF THE SULTRIEST SINGERS AROUND? TONI BRAXTON TELLS ALL

Even she admits it. "singers are a dime a dozen," says Toni Braxton. "And record companies have a dollar." So what makes vocalist Braxton, just 28 years old, so special? Why is her new album, Secrets, only her second, fighting it out for the top slot on the Billboard charts with such heavyweights as thrash-metal veterans Metallica?

Her looks are often what people focus on. It's hard not to. Her eyes are sloped, inviting, penetrating. At 5 ft. 2 in., she's small but also lithe, with a tiny waist and a size-2 build. And in person she also turns out to...

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