Sep 17 - Teena Marie Interview (excellent read)
|Sep 17 - Teena Marie Interview (excellent read)|
Illuminati 2G - Teena Marie Interview
One of the all time greats in R&B and Soul, Teena Marie took time out of her schedule to do a interview with I2G. We take a trip down memory lane with a couple of her hit songs, how she was marketed when she first came out, her experience on Cash Money Records and you will be in for a treat as she gives a in depth commentary on how her new album, Congo Square, in stores now, came together. Teena is the teacher, class is in session so open ya ears and enjoy.
We are here with Teena Marie how's it going?
It's good. It's a beautiful day in California.
Let's start off with where are you originally from and how it you get your start in music?
I am from Los Angeles and I have been singing professionally since I was 8 years ago. I sang for Jerry Lewis son's wedding, Jerry Lewis of the Playboys. I have been singing all my life.
Was it hard for you to break into R&B and Soul because of perceptions and everything that was with music?
Not really. Actually the first label I was with they did not put my picture on the cover. Mr. Gordy suggested it and said this was something that they did with black artists years ago and so they went with the same idea. They wanted the music to speak for itself and he wanted people to hear the music on its own merit. You never though, but it came out and everybody loved it and have been in love with it ever since.
How does it make you feel that people consider you the "Blue Eyed Queen Of Soul"?
Is that what they consider me? (laughs) I have just always been really happy that people really enjoy my music.
How did you end up meeting up with Rick James and collaborating with him?
I was signed to Motown for three and a half years before Rick got there. One day he was walking down the hall and I was sitting in Stevie Wonder's office and I would always be in there playing his piano and singing. Rick popped his head in there and we started having a conversation and after that we just became really close friends.
One of my favorite songs of yours is Portugese Love.
What was the inspiration behind that record?
I would say it is about love and I am Portugese (laughs). One night I was playing my guitar, as always, when I wake up in the middle of the night and write songs. That song just came to me one night.
If you would say anything is missing from music today as far as R&B is concerned, what would you say is something that is missing from the music?
Probably the great lyrical content that we grew up on. Music back then was really empowered and really inspiring and there is just not alot of great lyricists anymore. I definitely think that is what's missing.
Do you have a wish lists of any other artists that you have not worked with in your career that you would like to work with in the future?
I have worked with so many people, from Lenny Kravitz to Ella Fitzgerald to Faith Evans to Gerald Levert, Rick James. I am sure there is and I am sure there will continue to be, but off hand I can't think of anyone right at this moment. Because I have worked with so many incredible people.
Let's get into the new album, Congo Square. How did the album come together for you?
Well I was on Cash Money Records, my last 2 albums, and I have always loved New Orleans, snice the first time I got off the plane 25, 30 years ago. I always felt a deep love for New Orleans. Its food and culture and people. Especially the French Quarter, a little history about the French Quarter, most of the slaves there years ago were from the French Indies. They were allowed to go dance and sing on Sundays and sing the music of their country, the West Indian rhythm. I was think how powerful and spiritual that must have been. New Orleans is a very spiritual place and I thought about that and I thought about where the music went and progressed to after that, as far as the Blues and West Indian rhythms to the great jazz era.
Jazz started in New Orleans with Louis Armstrong, and with him being the father of Jazz and all the great jazz musicians that came through there, and the Blues artists to even the man at the corner just playing his guitar and folk songs. Not just Blues artists but Rock & Roll artists all these different amazing musicians that have come through there since that time. Then I thought about the aritsts of today like Jill Scott, Erykah Badu and myself that still very love great Jazz and try to keep Jazz alive. I got to thinking that it would be really awesome if Congo Square was like our address, where we live. That is how that came about, every song on the album is dedicated to a particular artist that I loved when I was growing up.
Every piece and style of music I wanted it to reflect the music that I loved. People like Sarah Vaughn to Marvin Gaye to Curtis Mayfield, The Emotions, Philadelphia Sound, every piece of music is supposed to remind you of that. It was really interesting because right when I was finishing the album, my cousin came down here from Washington state. I never really knew her because we lived so far away from each other. I was talking to her about the album and how right before Hurricane Katrina I was looking for a house in New Orleans. I was telling her how much I loved it there and how it has always felt like a second home to me and people have always really embraced me there and made me feel like family.
She looked at me and said well you know our people are from there. I had no idea what she was talking about so I was like what? She said that is where they are from. I said my father's people are from Texas and she said yeah they were in Texas but before that they were in New Orleans. Our great, great grandmother was married in the St. Louis Cathedral right next to Congo Square. I could have found this out 30 years ago or as a child or even 5 years ago, but I found out RIGHT upon completing this record.
Yeah so that is pretty powerful stuff, just because of the whole story and how I feel about the city and how the album is based around the roots. Where you come from and where you live.
One of my favorite songs from the album is a song called Ms. Coretta.
Thank you, that is one of my favorites also.
Yeah it reads like a open letter and it is a really powerful record. Tell me a little bit about how that song came together for you.
I have just always admired Coretta Scott King. Alot of people do not know that Mrs. King was a musician herself, a very accomplished musician, accomplished singer and music teacher. That is what she aspired to be and she pretty much gave up her own dream to carry out the dreams of Dr. King. So I wanted her to have her own song, because she was the wind beneath my wings, after his passing she took it to another level. I wrote it for her and some of the words in the song like character, intelligence and personality, beauty, those are all qualities that Dr. King wanted in his wife. I wrote the song for her and I actually got a couple pieces off of the internet of her speaking. That is her at the beginning of the song and acutally just put her vocals right on the track and really came out beautiful.
Yeah that is a really nice track.
Thank you. Yes and powerful.
That also, the bell that you hear on there is a replica of the Liberty Bell. The Liberty Bell cracked in the 1800's and they had a guy to design and build one for Normandy for a World War II ceremony. He built the replica of the Liberty Bell and the bell that you here at the beginning of the track is that bell during the time Coretta King is speaking on the song. So that is what the bell would have sounded like.
Another track on there that I am really a big fan of is the song called Soldier.
Thank you. Pastor Shirley Murdock motivated me to write that song.
Is that something that you always try and strive for your albums? Something with some social commentary?
Sometimes, not always. It just really depends upon where I am and what I am feeling at that particular time. I was in a very deeply spiritual place when I worked on this project.
Getting back to the 2 albums that you spoke briefly about on Cash Money, I always wondered how did the connection with Cash Money come together. It came out of left field to alot of people.
When I got the call that they had heard my demo, and they really liked it and wanted to sign me, I thought it was funny. I was like Cash Money, what are we going to do? It is a rap label, so I went to meet with them and they were like no we are not trying to get you to do our type of music, we what you to do what you do. We are starting up a classic label and we would like you to be the first artist on our classic label. They pretty much let me do my own thing so it was great and it still is great. We are still very close. Actually Ronald Williams (Slim) fiance is one of my best friends and she actually manages my daughter.
What adivce would you give to young women that are wanting to get into the entertainment or the music business, what word of advice would you give?
I would say to stay true to yourself and try not to follow other peoples trends. Just be really true to who you are, whatever that means. If you write music, I always say go open your own publishing company because it only costs 150 bucks and alot of people do not know that. There are people out there that will tell you, oh your not a publisher, you do not know what you are doing. It is really nothing to do it, you just open your publishing company and the publishing is yours. You might want to get someone to administrate it or whatever, but you need to hold on to stuff like that. I lost alot of my publishing in the early days because I was a kid and I did not know. But because I have always written my own music, I was really able to make alot of money over the years and sustain myself for the last 30 years because of my publishing. I also do not sacrifice myself for anybody.
Well that is all the questions I have for you, appreciate the interview.
|Latest Hip-Hop Hot Topics »||share this topic »|| |
|09-18-2009, 08:41 AM||away - #2|
Gimme the chance I'll rock the lakefront arena
like Teena Marie be rockin Tipitina's (damn Gina)
|09-18-2009, 08:47 AM||away - #3|
|09-18-2009, 11:42 AM||away - #4|
one of the greatest that doesnt get much love
|09-18-2009, 12:06 PM||away - #5|
rofl at yall what she have ONE , TWO ALBUMS? and shes a all time great. ya i bet u think drake and cudi are too huh
|09-18-2009, 12:54 PM||away - #6|
|09-18-2009, 01:26 PM||away - #7|
haha my bad i was thinking about Teairra Mari
|09-18-2009, 02:10 PM||away - #8|
|09-18-2009, 03:01 PM||online - #9|
now please stfu
but cash money for real?
|09-18-2009, 05:11 PM||away - #10|
teena marie is the greatest vocalist my favorite.. and im young 24.. my mother put me up on her
|09-19-2009, 06:46 AM||away - #11|
always has respect for Lady T
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