When she speaks, you listen. When she sings, you feel. When she moves, you watch. Maybe it's the barely contained energy that gives her words buoyancy. Or perhaps it's her passion—and not the wildly appropriate, flaming red mane that really holds your attention. Whatever it is, ask anyone who has experienced TOY !!! and you’ll find another point of interest added to the list.
Back in small-town Maple Hill, North Carolina, the preacher's daughter sprang from the womb with music in her blood, learning piano by ear and hijacking church solos by the tender age of four. Her diverse influences began at home with a family of avid music lovers playing everything from old school gospel and 60's doo-wop classics, to the 70's funk & soul sounds of Al, Marvin, James and Tina. Pop, rock and country music were staples from grades K-12.
Her after school time was like a juke joint scene straight from The Color Purple. A curious, young TOY !!! sharpened her ear and took notes as Granddaddy and his makeshift band threw down stank gutbucket blues and sultry funk between shots of moonshine at his old country store. Sunday mornings at church were another show altogether… this one headlined by her paternal Grandpa, a fiery harmonica-blowing reverend with a 'Holy Ghost strut' that even “The Godfather” JB himself would’ve envied.
Her most profound inspiration came with the first glimpse of a new album cover—a beautiful, brazen and unapologetically naked Prince sitting perched on the back of a winged horse (but, of course)…
It was the raw, unbridled passion, free-spiritedness, and rebelliously sexy soul of Prince that influenced her most. There began the trajectory to honor her whims and become an adventurer, making rules and music of her own.
Then along came Hip-hop, where years of poetry, creative writing and school oration contests would instinctively lead TOY !!! to find her artistic voice.
Her beloved uncle became manager & investor, and "M.C. TOY" hit the studios hard, pressing up two singles and selling them from her backpack after school. Already a natural stage presence, she easily gained a buzz on the local music scene opening for rap legends like Public Enemy, MC Lyte, Big Daddy Kane, Das Efx and Pete Rock & CL Smooth. Her hustle carried over to the campus of NC A&T State University, where she studied Communications/Broadcast News by day, and after class, routinely crashed the male-dominated freestyle ciphers on the yard with a feminine fury.
New York City became TOY !!!’s next conquest. As serendipity would have it, a friend introduced her to Louise West, an entertainment attorney who represented heavyweights like Missy & Timbaland, Jay-Z, The Neptunes and Kelis. Weeks later, TOY !!! was offered a job as her assistant, realizing a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn the music business first hand. This environment brought numerous opportunities to connect with industry insiders—among them, a meeting with a music publishing exec who offered her a serious chance at songwriting. Though narrowly missing major placement of her first song, she gained the hard-earned acknowledgment of Timbaland, and encouragement from friend and fellow NC native (a then up-and-coming) Anthony Hamilton. This period also brought about a divine musical connection and the mentorship of esteemed producer DJ Clark Kent, which quickly got the ball rolling.
The Clark Kent alliance marked a period of rapid growth for TOY !!! and she soon purchased studio recording equipment and began to write, arrange and produce tracks at home. Collaboration requests followed, including an invitation from hip-hop superstar, Scarface.
Meanwhile, her Communications degree landed her at Nickelodeon as a Production Assistant, where she befriended soul legend and voiceover star, Isaac Hayes, while directing his voiceover sessions. His moral support and encouragement deeply inspired her to consider voiceover acting as a new career and a financing tool for her independent music.
TOY !!! seamlessly crossed over to discover her strong multimedia appeal in the voiceover industry. Within just a few years she lent her voice talents in countless TV & radio commercials, promos and campaigns, documentaries, trailers, video games, live award shows and cartoons—listing clients such as NBC, Nickelodeon, MTV, ESPN, Reebok, WNBA, VH1's "Hip Hop Honors", Rockstar Games’ Need For Speed Undercover & EA Sports’ Midnight Club Los Angeles video games, and a popular lead role in Old Navy's national SuperModelquins campaign, just to name a few. Shock jock and "King of All Media" Howard Stern was even said to have described the voice of TOY !!! as "Fu*king awesome!!" while considering signature promo voices for his Sirius radio show.
Now with more than a decade of varied voice experience in tow, TOY !!! comes full circle and sets the tone with her distinctive signature sound and allegiance to creative freedom, as witnessed on her previously released debut single “Ready 4 Me”. As she prepares to launch her upcoming yet-to-be-titled EP— an extraordinary blend of raw emotion, clever lyrics, catchy harmony laden hooks, intricate vocal arrangements, and brilliantly-constructed tracks that converge and bend genres into a pretzel—there’s a not-so-subtle hint that the thirst for something real and raw is sure to be quenched. Here is the place where Hip-hop meets Rock... marries Soul... impregnates Funk... and gives birth to a wonder child who is uniquely: TOY !!!