Toni Price was born on 13 March, 1961 in Philadelphia, PA. Her adoptive parents, the Prices, named her Luiese Esther after her grandmothers. Her first exposure to blues was through second-generation blueswoman Bonnie Raitt. Luiese later began to study the recordings of women blues singers such Sippie Wallace, Victoria Spivey, people from whose music Raitt herself had learned.
Luiese moved to New Jersey where she started schooling and began singing, then moved to Nashville where a summer parks program featured a talent contest in her 10th year, which she entered as Toni Price. This was her first recorded appearance on a Nashville stage, belting out One Tin Soldier.
Price's conservative family wasn't particularly musical. "Since I was adopted, they didn't know what to expect of me, and I believe you're born to do whatever it is you do -- that maybe my birth parents were musical. Maybe not. But I knew as a little bitty child I was going to be a singer. I didn't know how you did it or know any musicians, but I knew I would get there."