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 performed at the third annual Cavalcade of Jazz concert held at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles produced by Leon Hefflin Sr. on September 7, 1947. Woody Herman, The Valdez Orchestra, The Blenders, T-Bone Walker, Slim Gaillard, The Honeydrippers, Sarah Vaughn and the Three Blazers also performed that same day. She came back to perform for the eighth Cavalcade of Jazz concert on June 1, 1952. Also featured that day were Roy Brown and His Mighty Men, Anna Mae Winburn and Her Sweethearts, Jerry Wallace, Louis Jordan, Jimmy Witherspoon, and Josephine Baker.
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)
- 1957 Here Come The Girls! (with The Buddy Bregman Orchestra)
- 1959 Lady Lonely (with Marty Paich & Orchestra)
- 1960 Night Mood (with Marty Paich & Orchestra)
- 1988 Candy Store Blues (compilation)
With Dizzy Gillespie
With Harry James
- Seida, Linda. "Toni Harper | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved September 28, 2016.
- "Woody Herman, 3 Blazers, T-Bone, Others on Program" Review by Eddie Burbridge The California Eagle September 4, 1947.
- "Largest Jazz Cavalcade in History To Feature Nation's Top Entertainers" Article The California Eagle May 29, 1952.
- "The Ed Sullivan Show". TVnotify. 2008. Retrieved February 17, 2009.
- 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". n.d. Retrieved February 17, 2009.
- "Record Reviews". Billboard. May 26, 1951. p. 84. Retrieved March 22, 2017.
- "COLUMBIA (Microphone label, USA) 39500 to 40000 Numerical Listing". 78discography.com. Retrieved January 10, 2016.
- "Record Reviews". Billboard. October 18, 1952. p. 44. Retrieved March 28, 2017.