R.I.P. Toni Smith of "Funkin For Jamaica" fame

(January 28, 2020) Though her career was largely behind the scenes, there is no question of the impact that singer and songwriter Thomassina Carrollyne Smith, a.k.a. Toni Smith, has had on the international music scene. We’re sad to report that according to a post on her Facebook page, Toni (also sometimes called "Tonni") has died, causes unknown.

The Bronx, New York native first came to the attention of the world when she joined a latter day version of the 50s vocal group The Crystals. This led her to meet popular trumpeter Tom Browne, and they began co-writing a song that would become a classic. “Funkin’ For Jamaica” became a smash around the world, topping the charts and elevating both Toni and Tom in the music world, as they both simply tore the song up. The two continued to work together on several songs over the next few years.

(January 28, 2020) Though her career was largely behind the scenes, there is no question of the impact that singer and songwriter Thomassina Carrollyne Smith, a.k.a. Toni Smith, has had on the international music scene. We’re sad to report that according to a post on her Facebook page, Toni (also sometimes called "Tonni") has died, causes unknown.

The Bronx, New York native first came to the attention of the world when she joined a latter day version of the 50s vocal group The Crystals. This led her to meet popular trumpeter Tom Browne, and they began co-writing a song that would become a classic. “Funkin’ For Jamaica” became a smash around the world, topping the charts and elevating both Toni and Tom in the music world, as they both simply tore the song up. The two continued to work together on several songs over the next few years.

With her beautiful Chaka-meets-Cheryl Lynn vocal stylings, Toni Smith also became a sought-after background singer, working with a who’s who of R&B stars ranging from Stephanie Mills to James Ingram. She also provided guest vocals on several contemporary jazz hits in the 80s and 90s.

Over the years, Smith also recorded several singles as a solo singer, thought never achieving wide acclaim for those releases. She remained largely unknown by the general public, even as she was often revered by her peers.

We thank Ms. Smith for her often quiet contributions to music for several decades. She will be missed.

 
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