Success came early and often for Toni Wine. At 14 she starred in the ultimate Hollywood fantasy, being discovered not once but twice. First by songwriter Paul Kaufman ("Poetry In Motion"), who hired her to do a demo of one of his tunes. Secondly, while singing in an elevator, by Teacho Wiltshire, one of the top rock and roll arrangers in New York. Being the dutiful daughter, Toni was on her way to visit her mom, who worked in the MGM building. She brought Teacho up to meet mom, who gave her blessing for Toni to accompany him to a session that evening with Sister Rosetta Tharpe. A student at Julliard who played Carnegie Hall and won first place in a national piano competition by the age of 10, Toni was never musically shy, which was why she was singing in an elevator in the first place. Toni always sings. Anyway, at the session, despite being surrounded by seasoned pros, she sang along to the music. At one point Teacho asked Sister Rosetta to listen to the very little white girl with the very big soulful voice, because she was singing a lick that the Sister should use. 

In addition to being a singer, Toni had also been writing songs since she was 8. Paul introduced Toni to Jack Keller, who, along with being a staff songwriter at Screen Gems was also one of their hot in-house producers. As Jack recalls, he got so excited that he called Don Kirshner at about 11:00pm, way past Don's bedtime, and told him he had to sign her. So, at 14, she joined a staff that included Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil. She got her first cut with the Cookies on a song she wrote with Goffin and Artie Kornfeld, "Only To Other People". Her first hit came shortly after, the Shirelles "Tonight You're Gonna Fall In Love With Me," also written with Kornfeld. On her 19th birthday, the Mindbender's version of "Groovy Kind Of Love," written with Carole Bayer (Sager), hit #1.

Copyright 2009  by Toni Wine
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