Toni Estes

Two * Eleven

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Hot songwriters are given recording deals for numerous reasons; their songs are proven sellers and giving them a record deal somehow may imbue the songwriter to give the label's artists some kind of "first look" preference to their songs. Sometimes these releases are embarrassing affairs. Such is not the case with singer/songwriter Toni Estes, whose resume lists Whitney Houston's million-seller "It's Not Right, but It's OK," Laurnea's "Can't Let Go," and "Hot" from the Next Friday soundtrack. There are the necessary hip-hop slammers ("Independent Woman" produced by Teddy Riley), but it's on the more mellow material that the Tulsa, OK, native shines. Definitely a student of the old skool, such tender ballads as "I Adore," "Let Me Know," "She's Already," and "Stupid (I Believe)" bespeak a talent that'll be around long after the hottie tottie "girlies" of the moment are long forgotten. "Still Your Son" echoes Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" in both chorus and theme.

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