Biography: Thomassina Carroll Smith, affectionately known to family friends and fans alike as Tonni was born January 29, 1960 To Emma Lee Smith, a homemaker and Thomas Carroll Ryan a decorated Air Force veteran. Tonni was born in Harlem but raised primarily in the Bronx with Her two sisters Marcelles and Zayneane. She was Emma Lees second child and Thomas eldest of three Thomas and Tabatha.
Tonni was the physical embodiment of music. It has been said that she was born singing and not crying. Not only did she sing but she was a natural pianist she began to play at four years old. Growing up Tonni was often encouraged by her teachers to sing when ever there was an opportunity albeit the National anthem or in the school talent show. She joined her first band at 12 and by the time she finished high school she had just begun to cut her teeth into the music industry.In the early eighties Tonni was introduced to trumpet player Tom Browne it was then they wrote “Funkin’ for Jamaica” which received world wide acclaim. She went on to write and perform numerous hits such as “Thighs High” and “I Can’t Stop This Feeling.” She also provided guest vocals on several contemporary jazz hits in the 80s and 90s.
Thomassina was a wife and doting mother. She Was joined in marriage to her best friend Darren Terrell December 26, 1997 They had four children together and each had children from previous relationships. She was a wonderful mother who cared for her children. She passed on her love of music to her children. Tonni lived her life as each day was her last. She had a warm inviting spirit and a smile that could brighten a day. When she walked in a room her presence commanded your attention. She had a love for life that simply could not be measured. To know her was to love her. God had other plans and Tonni obliged.
Tonni leaves to cherish her memory, her five children Eyana,Travis,David,Selah, and Asa whom she adored. Her husband Darren, Her brothers Thomas and Wallace, sister Tabatha. A host of nieces and nephews relatives and friends. Tonni was loved by all who came in contact with her via music or in general.
Although Thomassina is gone, her music is forever!