Sometimes all it takes is a change in image and musical direction to get the attention of the mainstream. That’s exactly what happened when Toni Braxton traded in her sophisticated look from her eponymous debut album and returned as a sex kitten for her sophomore record Secrets.
For the album’s first single, Braxton went with the irresistibly seductive “You’re Makin’ Me High.” It was worked as a dual single release, with “Let It Flow” as the B-side cut.
According to the music video director and Braxton’s friend Bille Woodruff, he had a heavy hand in the making of “You’re Makin’ Me High.”
After listening to the already-recorded material, he expressed to LaFace Records’ L.A. Reid and Babyface that Braxton still needed “one song that’s got that edge, something just to start out with that’s hot.”
Woodruff believed Bryson Wilson — his good friend and former member of the electro-rap group Mantronix — was the perfect studio collaborator to give Braxton that missing element. He just needed to get a meeting with Babyface, which Woodruff interestingly orchestrated over lunch.
In the end, Babyface and Wilson made a great pairing. Their collaboration resulted in Braxton earning her first number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100 during the week of July 27, 1996. It topped the popular singles chart for one week.
The song also won Braxton a Grammy in the category of Best Female R&B Vocal Performance at the 39th annual award ceremony.
Not only was Woodruff the brainchild behind “You’re Makin’ Me High,” he also directed the song’s sexy music video.
“I loved the song. I wanted to give her this high-fashion, edgy look,” Woodruff exclusively to Rated R&B. “I wanted to show that she had a personality because she hadn’t been seen that way. She was funny and people wouldn’t know that because her songs were heartbreak songs. I wanted to show how relatable she was.”
He continued, “That video was a lot of fun for me because I got to let my imagination run wild and have an artist trust me and let me do what I wanted to do. As an artist and a director, you don’t always get to do that because they’re so many people involved. Sometimes that can get in the way because you have to please too many people and they’re not always understanding of what your vision is. So, I have to say that was one of my best experiences because I got to just dream up this whole thing, and make it happen.”
Revisit “You’re Makin’ Me High” below.