After learning dance under Maceo Anderson, Harper was cast by the choreographer Nick Castle in Christmas Follies, at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in 1945. She later went on to perform on stage with Herb Jeffries and Cab Calloway.
Harper recorded "Candy Store Blues" in 1946, which became a platinum record, appeared twice on Toast of the Town (later The Ed Sullivan Show) in 1949, and made her third and final appearance on the show in 1950.
After success as a child singer, Harper recorded her first album, Toni, for Verve Records in 1955, with the Oscar Peterson trio. She made two further albums, arranged by Marty Paich, Lady Lonely (1959) and Night Mood (1960), for RCA Victor.
- 1956 Toni (with the Oscar Peterson trio)
- 1959 Lady Lonely (with Marty Paich & Orchestra)
- 1960 Night Mood (with Marty Paich & Orchestra)
With Dizzy Gillespie
- Jazz Recital (Norgran, 1955)
- "allmusic". allmusic. ?. Retrieved 2009-02-17. Check date values in:
- "The Ed Sullivan Show". TVnotify. 2008. Retrieved 2009-02-17.
- Toni Harper: "Night Mood" (1960)
- Sheridan, Chris. (2000). Dis Here: A Bio-discography of Julian "Cannonball" Adderley. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 145. ISBN 978-0-313-30240-4. Google Book Search. Retrieved on February 17, 2009.
- "allmovie". allmovie. n.d. Retrieved 2009-02-17.