In October 2009, Atlantic Records chairman Craig Kallman revealed that the label had signed Braxton and had the following to say "Last year , we had the rare opportunity to bring another R&B icon into the Atlantic family, and for me it was an opportunity of a lifetime. Toni Braxton is not only one of the greatest voices of all time, but she is a charismatic superstar with an incredible list of achievements."
Production for the album took place during September 2008 to March 2010 and was handled by several record producers, including David Foster, Harvey Mason, Jr., Frank E, Oak, Lucas Secon, Simon Franglen and Dapo Torimiro. The entertainment outlet Rap-Up revealed that Braxton's album would feature collaborations with Lucas Secon; Harvey Mason, Jr.; Oak; and
Troy Taylor as well as collaborations with Robin Thicke, Trey Songz, Usher and other reported collaborations included Claude Kelly, Frank E, Steve Mac, Dapo Torimiro and David Foster. R&B songwriter and singer Ne-Yo also worked on songs for the album.
Speaking of the thinking behind titling the album 'Pulse', Braxton explained to UK R&B writer Pete Lewis – Deputy Editor of Blues & Soul – in May 2010: "It comes from when I got ill. I went into cardic rehab, and there was this older lady there. She was like 'What are you doing here so young? It must have been your heart. You know what? This is my fourth heart-attack and you're so young, you can't be AFRAID! You can't stop LIVING!'... Then she told me how she'd just got back from holiday with her 40-year-old boyfriend! And because I'd lost hope – the doctors had told me I'd never be able to record again – her conversation was like that heartbeat, that pulse that gave me back the love of life."