Date of Interview: 03/30/2009
© 2009 Clayton Perry
If Prince sung gospel music, then you’d have a general idea of the artist formerly known as “Tonex.” Like Prince, Ton3x is a singer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist. He is also an unconventional “bad boy” who won’t let the media or his fans stand in the way of artistic integrity.
After the massive success of Out the Box, Ton3x could have easily found a home amongst mainstream audiences. But as quickly as he rose to the top, the trappings of newfound success were set to bring him down. And sure enough, shortly after the receipt of his sixth Stellar Award and first GRAMMY nomination, Ton3x became a “whipping boy” within the gospel music industry.
Even with Jesus as his guide, Ton3x style was deemed too flamboyant. Too unconventional. Too abrasive. And after much contemplation, Ton3x made an abrupt retirement announcement in 2006 and split from Jive Records, which received a vocal, public response from his industry peer, Kirk Franklin, who supported and respected his musical talents.
On March 17, 2009, Ton3x released Unspoken, his first release under Battery Records, a Sony BMG imprint. Upon review of the album, Ton3x managed to squeeze some time out of his busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry — reflecting on Walter Hawkins, Out the Box and “the naked truth.”