Official Biography (courtesy of DominqueToney.com)
Dominique Toney is a Los Angeles native born to a musically accomplished father Kevin Toney, an award-winning Pianist, Recording Artist and Composer, and a mother Phyllis Toney who is renowned as a highly respected Costume Designer and Wardrobe Supervisor for rock-n-soul royalty such as Sir Paul McCartney, Diana Ross, Sting and Aerosmith. Together, they laid the foundation for Dominique’s thorough understanding of the performing arts in the spotlight and behind the scenes.
All naturally effervescent, Dominique started dance lessons at 4, began classical piano studies of Bach and Debussy at home at 6, and by junior high school was excelling in studies at the Colburn School of Music. Acting in community theater followed and though she was accepted at UCLA and Emerson in Boston, Dominique opted to attend NYU in its progressive program CAP21 (Collaborative Arts Project of The 21st Century). “I truly felt as-one with the city,” Dominique remembers. “You’ve gotta be quick, savvy and wise! I grew up fast in New York…in a good way.” Along with her concentrated conservatory style studies, Dominique also gravitated to classes on race and religion, both of which interested her as a black woman and a believer in God.
One of the most breakthrough gifts she got from college was two semesters she spent in songwriting classes with Jonathan Hart Makwaia from whom she learned how to accompany herself at the piano thus coaxing out the ideas in her head into songs. Conversely, one of the hardest lessons she learned came during the frightening appearance of two nodules on her vocal cords which had to be treated with surgery and rehab from the Bastian Institute of Voice on Illinois.
Alas, an earlier vocal teacher in high school had been teaching her all wrong. “I was taking acid reflux medication and other supplements to aid the voice, and writing in notepads because I was not allowed to speak for months,” she shares. “Everyone looked at it as a blessing that it happened in my college years instead of the middle of my career on some major tour. I picked myself up, learned to sing properly and kept it moving.”
In that time between her senior year and completing her album, Dominique Toney has plied her craft as a musician, actress, model and more. She is a member of the improv sketch comedy troupe Political Subversities for which she wrote and performed the acclaimed short “Lemonade Stand.” She has also graced stages across the country as a member of The Blackbyrds singing lead and playing second keyboards including a Tribute to Donald Byrd show at Yoshi’s in San Francisco where she shared the stage with jazz greats Gary Bartz and Nicholas Payton – both impressed.
Never forgetting her own music, Dominique has already lensed conceptual music video clips for two of her songs: “Loving You’s So Easy” and “We Are.” “I wanted to have multiple music videos on YouTube,” Dominique strategizes, “so that when people hear a song of mine they like, Google it, they’ll see the video alongside other ones – a body of visual work already there to explore. I find when I hear a song that I love and see a video, I’m hooked at that point. I want to make sure I have enough online for them to digest.”
Forthcoming fans of Dominique Toney will have plenty to dig into upon the release of A Love Like Ours. Likening herself to singer/songwriters that write from personal experiences such as Lianne La Havas and Emily King, the gifted, versatile and open-minded artist (whose hobbies include cooking and baking along with hiking and new age exercise concepts like yoga and aerial Cirque training) is in no ways adverse to working with someone like Pharrell Williams should he give her a call.
“If he wanted me to sing and collaborate on writing a hook, I’d be there with cookies,” she exclaims! “(Comedic actress/writer) Tina Fey once said something like, ‘The reason I am where I am today is because I always said yes.’ That’s why I still go on tour singing background and things…because you never know what door is going to lead to that other thing. When you say, ‘Yes,’ it tells the universe that you’re in a place of gratitude and that invites even more yeses into your life.”