Toni Childs was born in Orange, California, but was moved to several small towns in Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Nevada during her childhood. At the age of 15, Childs ran away from home and became a blues musician. In 1972, Childs saw Pink Floyd in concert, and afterwards decided to pursue a career as a singer-songwriter. Childs joined the band Berlin in 1979, but left to form her own group before the recording of Berlin's first album. Toni Childs and the Movers, which included Jack Sherman and Micki Steele, toured for two years but did not release an album.