Toni Braxton explains the origins of “Deadwood” and her four-year break from recording

ABC RadioThe title of Toni Braxton‘s single “Deadwood,”  from her new album, Sex and Cigarettes, might sound a bit strange to fans. 

But the iconic singer tells ABC Radio that there’s a good explanation behind the song’s name — and it doesn’t have anything to do with the HBO series of the same name.

“Often people ask me, ‘Why is the wood dead?’ she explains. 

“I know what deadwood is. I’m a suburban country girl and we would see deadwood, ‘Look at the deadwood!’ and you would go outside and get deadwood and put it on the fireplace, even. So it’s like little twigs of wood that’s dead, doesn’t have any life to it. You don’t care about it.” 

“So [the song is] about this person I’m in a relationship with and they’re treating me like I’m deadwood,” she adds. “They’re dismissing me.”

Sex & Cigarettes is Braxton’s first full studio album of new material since her 2014 collaboration with BabyfaceLove, Marriage & Divorce, and her first solo project in nearly ten years. 

She explains why she took such a long break between albums.

“I was thinking about retiring. I found out I had [the autoimmune disease] lupus and I was…in this…dark space,” reveals Toni. 

“But some wonderful friends helped me out, especially my big brother Babyface, who I call my musical husband.”

“He and I did a song, an album together,” she adds. “And from there he said, ‘OK, now you can go. Do your thing. It’s OK now.’”  

“I was really, really sad at that point in my life. The doctors told me I would never be able to perform again. I think I was in a space in my life that made me very sad,” she recalls. 

“I felt a little hopeless. I’m blessed to have such great friends to help me.”

Sex and Cigarettes arrives everywhere March 23. 

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