Teedra Moses Biography
The task of any great artist is to create days of future past, to make memories that will be looked back upon one day with fond nostalgia. Heartfelt songs that invoke love, play, heartache and reconciliation tend to stand that particular test of time when it comes to R&B music. Due to pass that test with flying colors is TVT Records’ new singer/songwriter Teedra Moses, whose debut album Complex Simplicity harks back to the sassy, playful 1980s tunes of Cherrelle while blending in her own new millennium brand of soul.
The magnetic Teedra Moses doesn’t shy away from expressing her emotional vulnerability, describing a crush from afar on “Be Your Girl,” while alternatively tackling the other side of the game on her mid-tempo lamentation “You'll Never Find (A Better Woman)”—where she’s in love with a man more concerned with finance than romance. “I wrote it in a way for women in the projects to get it, as far as it comes off like this guy might be a drug dealer,” says Teedra. “I wrote it that way purposely just to catch that audience, ’cause that’s what that song was supposed to be, a really street song. It’s dealing with an experience I had with a man who was really concerned with getting his money right. I didn’t need the money, I didn’t need any of those things. I just needed [him].”
Appropriately enough, Teedra Moses and her partner-in-crime producer Pauli Pol met at the tail end of a bittersweet romance like those sprinkled throughout Complex Simplicity. Best known for his production on Black Eyed Peas debut single “Joints & Jam,” Pauli Pol was referred to Teedra Moses by a mutual friend as she prepared to put behind her days as an assistant stylist to the stars in pursuit of her singing dream. “[Pauli] did the entire album with me because I wanted it to be something really personal and a union, like a marriage, not all over the place,” says Teedra. The finished product—executive produced by both Pauli Pol and Teedra Moses herself—is exactly the seamless combination she intended; though made up of a variety of different feelings and moods, their unity of vision shines through.
With an album inspired overwhelmingly by her own direct personal experiences, Teedra Moses harbors no regrets over her ride to success. Since her beginnings, born and raised in New Orleans, her life has been grist for the creative mill that produced Complex Simplicity: a labor of love and the realization of a lifelong dream. “Some things you feel you have to stick with, [but] it doesn’t give you any fulfillment,” says Teedra. “With singing, creating music gives me a fulfillment that I knew I wouldn’t find in anything else. So I just decided to stop short in styling and start pursuing music.” Teedra Moses crafts her songs just left of a hip-hop soul center, though upon hearing her self-esteem ode “Doing You,” fans of golden-age rap will crack a smile at the familiar snatches of Eric B. & Rakim’s “My Melody” running throughout. If anything, Teedra Moses resurrects the keeping-it-real, girl-next-door style of R&B stylists from the 1980s, with now-school additions like MCs Jadakiss (on “Better Woman”) and Lil Jon (“Ooh Wee”). Ask about her influences and Teedra will respond rapidly. “People like Teena Marie, Patrice Rushen, Caron Wheeler. And the chick that sings, ‘Object of My Desire.’ ” Starpoint, you might answer. “That’s like my favorite song! My mom passed not long ago and it made me very nostalgic for youthful things. I’m just remembering that music. I can’t honestly say I listen to it a lot right now. But it really moved me; that’s where I’m thinking right now.”
Raised by her gospel-singing mother in New Orleans, Teedra Moses moved with her to California, upon her parents’ separation. Though her brother and two sisters were not inclined to pursue music, her mother was once a successful gospel singer on the church revival circuit in the South. Teedra Moses must, in turn, be inspiring to her siblings catching earfuls of tunes like “Caution” and “For a Lifetime” blaring from the speakers in the home in Los Angeles. “I think if I never came to California, I wouldn’t be as refined about how I am ghetto,” Teedra laughs, “like in the way I write. Because L.A. is a little bit more polished place. You adjust yourself with your environment. I love L.A., and it’s like the sunshine and all that makes you wanna be artsy.”
Artsy perhaps, but never pretentious or affected; that’s just not Teedra Moses’s style. Having transcended humble beginnings writing brand-new lyrics to favorite songs (“I started out writing over [Prince] music that I liked, but then I started to just write songs and make the music in my head”) and emceeing at family homecomings (“I used to rap exactly like Rakim, study his raps, write his words down and get his flow down pat!”), Teedra Moses has found her voice and is more than prepared to share it with the world.
But why Complex Simplicity? “Because I feel like it’s the best way to explain myself, my music, my experiences in life. Everything about me, I feel like it’s complex simplicity. I’m truly blessed. I’m the simplest person on the planet but everybody that knows me doesn’t feel the same way.”
However you cut it, Teedra Moses and her music are simply beautiful, and there’s nothing complex about that…