classics : TONI CHILDS

Toni Childs (born October 29, 1957) is an American singer-songwriter, best known for her songs “Don’t Walk Away” (a Billboard Hot 100 hit in the United States in 1988),

“I’ve Got to Go Now”, a Top 5 hit in Australia in 1991, and the Emmy-winning “Because You’re Beautiful” (released as a single in 2004, and featured on her 2008 album Keep the Faith). In New Zealand she has achieved six Top 40 hit singles and three platinum albums.

Childs was born in Orange, California, but lived in ArkansasKansasOklahoma and Nevada during her childhood. Raised in a household dominated by her parents’ religious values,

Childs stated in a 1988 article for Time magazine that she and her three brothers “were not allowed to listen to pop music or rock or even go to the movies. There was a lot I missed out on.”

At the age of 15, Childs ran away from home and became a blues musician. In 1972, she saw Pink Floyd in concert and decided to pursue a career as a singer-songwriter.

In 1979, Childs performed several live shows with the band Berlin whilst their singer, Terri Nunn, was unavailable. Her first band of note, Toni and the Movers, included Jack Sherman (later to become a member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers) and Micki Steele (later a member of the Bangles).

The Los Angeles-based band performed and toured for two years but did not release an album. In the summer of 1981, after The Movers had disbanded,

Childs performed various improvised sets of music at Madame Wong’s West and the Madam Wong’s clubs in Los Angeles under the name Nadia Kapiche with musicians including Steve Schiff (guitar), Micki Steele (bass), Mark Buchholtz (keyboards/sax), Richard Larsen (keyboards/sax), and drummer Stan Getts.

Demo (recording) sessions were also done in Hollywood with most of this band, with Ed Warnecke on drums. Childs was still searching for her niche. She has said, “I didn’t know who I was, and I realized I was trying to grab the brass ring like everybody else.

I wanted to become a better songwriter and I knew I just didn’t know enough to be signed. That’s when I went to Island Music publishing, and asked them to sign me and send me to England.”

In 1981, she signed a song publishing deal with Island Music which financed her move to London. There she lived in an empty office of a local recording studio, sweeping floors and dusting consoles in exchange for rent and recording experience.

While in London, Childs played with various musicians in various band configurations: David Rhodes (who had worked with Peter Gabriel), Mike Cotzi (Shriekback), Martin Swaine (The WaterboysWorld Party), Steve Creese (World Party) and Duncan Kilburn (The Psychedelic Furs).

During her stay in the vitally global music scene of early-80s London, the seeds of world music were planted, later to be heard on Child‘s first album.

In 1983, Childs provided backing vocals on Scottish band The Europeans‘ track “A.E.I.O.U”. Band member Steve Hogarth later returned the favor by doing the same on Childs‘ debut album Union.

In 1985, after returning to Los Angeles, Childs was signed to A&M Records and soon began to work with songwriter/producer/musician David Ricketts (of David & David) on the soundtrack for the film Echo Park, and provided backing vocals for David & David’s album Boomtown, on a track titled “Ain’t So Easy”.

In April 2012 Childs moved from her island home of Hawaii and is now living in the small township of Myocum in New South Wales, Australia.

In 2013, she contributed a foreword to 101 Vagina, a crowd-funded book published in Melbourne and designed to break down taboos surrounding the female body.



Compilation albums 

  • Lay Down Your Pain CD Maxi-Single (1994)
    (Geffen Records)
  • The Very Best of Toni Childs (1996)
    (Polydor/A&M Records)
  • Toni Childs: Ultimate Collection (2000) – (Hip-O Records).

Video album 

  • Toni Childs – The Videos (VHS) (1989)


1988 “Stop Your Fuss Union
“Don’t Walk Away”
“Walk And Talk Like Angels”
1989 “Zimbabwe”

Many Rivers to Cross Lost Angels soundtrack
1991 “I’ve Got to Go Now” House of Hope
“House of Hope”
1992 “Heaven’s Gate”

1994 “Lay Down Your Pain” The Woman’s Boat
1995 “Fell from a Great Height” (Stephen Cummings + Toni Childs) Falling Swinger (Stephen Cummings album)
1996 “Many Rivers to Cross” (reissue) The Very Best of Toni Childs

2004 “Because You’re Beautiful” non-album release
2008 “One Life” Keep the Faith
2009 “Because You’re Beautiful” (reissue)


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