by Kelvin HayesHaving led a rather dark existence during her childhood, Toni Childs (b. Orange, California) faced one of two options: a descent into violence, or, a journey of self discovery. Thankfully she opted for the latter and a extra-ordinary talent was born. The voyage saw Childs live in London, for a while writing lyrics for a Nigerian band. Returning to L.A., she fronted Berlin before backing David & David on their 1986 masterpiece Boomtown. An affair with David Rickitts ensued and together with producer, another David (Tickle) began work on what became her debut Union, which in turn took her to Paris and Swaziland during its production. Issued to critical acclaim in 1988, Unions nine tracks are nothing less than articulated craftsmanship, fusing drum programmes, synth layers, ethnic percussion, dashes of guitar and even cellos. Somehow the overall sound was viable enough for radio, Dont Walk Away becoming a minor hit in America and the UK. But it was Australia that immediately picked on the sumptuous world cum mainstream music; the African rhythms translating well for an Oceanic audience. For her next album, Childs kept the ingredients almost identical. Even so House Of Hope fell short of expectations set by Union. The best are the first 3: Ive Got To Go Now, Next To You and its title song which ended up on the soundtrack Thelma and Louise. As a predominately album artiste Childs attracted many respected musicians with her big and tortured voice. In 1994 Peter Gabriel invited her to his Realworld community in England where much of The Womans Boat was layed down. This work, also included performances from Robert Fripp and Karl Wallinger. The Womans Boat is a concept album based on the cycle of life; thus beginning with WOMB and ending with DEATH. A fourth album was due in 96 but has never materialised. The following year Childs married and worked closely with the Dream a Dolphin foundation.