Anthony Charles Williams II (born May 16, 1975(1975-05-16) in San Diego, California), better known by his stage name TONEX (pronounced "toe-nay"), is an American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, rapper, dancer, producer, and preacher. He goes by various names and aliases, but his primary stage name of choice has been "Tonex" over the years. In 2008, he underwent a name change by adopting a new spelling for his previous name, "TON3X". His albums are currently being released under this new spelling of his name.
Tonex is a prolific artist, having released several hundred songs on 24 albums over a span of just 14 years, while producing several others for both gospel and secular artists alike. He has won six Stellar Awards, a GMA Award, and received a Grammy nomination for Best Soul Gospel Album for his 2004 gold album, Out The Box.
Known more for his gospel recordings, his musical efforts have been known to blend a smorgasbord of styles, including pop, r&b, jazz, soul, funk, hip hop, rock, latin, electro, punk and trance, just to name a few. His primary influences include Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Prince, Michael Jackson, Walter Hawkins, Shirley Caesar, and Janet Jackson. His distinct sound and eclectic style of music led him to give his music its own genre per se, calling it "Nureau".
Born in 1975, Tonex grew up in the San Diego, California area. His father, Dr. Anthony Williams, was Senior Pastor and District Elder in the Truth Apostolic Community Church in suburban Spring Valley, and his mother was also a minister. Tonex's real name is Anthony Charles Williams II and he was the youngest of the Williams' six boys. Gospel music was the preferred choice at home, but other sounds made their way into Tonex's environment. His father played saxophone for James Brown and Jackie Wilson, his mother sang in various girl groups, and his older brothers sneaked funk and R&B recordings into the house. By age 10, Tonex had recorded an album of his own at home. Deciding early on a musical career, he took the name "Tonex" by the time he was 13, sometimes spelling it "Tonéx".
Early career Rescue was still a small label, and Pronounced Toe-Nay was issued in a limited production run and distributed mostly from the back of Tonex's car. Young gospel fans, however, quickly caught on to the innovative variety of music on Pronounced Toe-Nay. The album's producer, T. Boy, was an alter ego of Tonex himself. The album was divided by style into seven sections: hip-hop/rap, retro/funk, the future, jazz, mellow grooves, soul/gospel, and bonus tracks. In the recordings of Kirk Franklin and others, hip-hop had previously made inroads into gospel music, but this kind of wild eclectic mix was completely new. At the time, the digital reproduction of music was in its infancy, and rare copies of the album became prized possessions. Pronounced Toe-Nay garnered the attention of the producers at the 14th Annual Stellar Awards and placed him on the billing, and that performance by Tonex made such a bold statement and had such an impact, it has been compared to the impact Michael Jackson made on the Motown 25th Anniversary Special back in 1983 when he introduced the moonwalk to the world.
By this time, national labels had come calling. Tonex was signed to an unusual three-way deal that affiliated him with the successful and growing gospel label Verity, the pop imprint Zomba, and the durable hip-hop label Tommy Boy. Tonex made his national debut with a re-release of his most successful independent album Pronounced Toe-Nay in 2000.  His first high-profile television appearance was performing a medley of "Trinity" & "One Good Reason" on the Stellar Awards, which was a coup as Tonéx was a relative unknown at the time. He has dubbed his particular genre-spanning musical style "nureau."
Upon its release, Pronounced Toe-Nay bore 5 different record label logos: Rescue Records, the independent label that originally released the album; MSS Records, Tonéx's then-active vanity imprint label; Tommy Boy Gospel, the label to which Tonéx was signed as an artist; Verity Records, the label to which his independent label Rescue Records sold his album's masters; and Jive Records, the mainstream umbrella over Verity Records. All of the material was produced, arranged, composed and performed by Tonex, with guest appearances from his mother E.B. Williams, and the rapper Big J.
Taking note of his immense talent, some executives wanted to develop Tonex's talents in a secular direction, but he turned them down and kept to religious themes. "There are a lot of people who do similar things to what I do in R&B but I wanted to use gospel lyrics," he explained in an interview quoted on the Sphinx Management Web site. "I address issues that many other Christian artists don't address. For instance, in a sexual context, I don't sing about what I'm going to do to a woman. I sing about what I've already experienced and the pain that it caused me. So, on a song like 'Taxi,' I'm talking about the downside of premarital sex, but it's still a pop song."
While he worked on his sophomore national release, Tonex contributed 3 original tracks to The Hostile Takeover, a Tommy Boy collection of songs by other new gospel artists.