Teena Marie

Teena Marie Biography

No white artist has sung R&B more convincingly than Teena Marie, whose big, robust vocals sound so black that when she was starting out, some listeners wondered if she was a light-skinned African-American. Not to be confused with Brazilian jazz singer Tania Maria, Marie grew up in West Los Angeles in a neighborhood that was nicknamed "Venice Harlem" because of its heavy black population. The singer/songwriter/producer was in her early 20s when, around 1977, she landed a job at Motown Records. It was at Motown that she met her mentor and paramour-to-be, Rick James, who ended up doing all of the writing and producing for her debut album of 1979, Wild And Peaceful. That LP, which boasted her hit duet with James, "I'm Just A Sucker For Your Love," didn't show Marie's picture--so many programmers at black radio just assumed she was black. When her second album, Lady T, came out, much of the R&B world was shocked to see how fair-skinned she was. But to many of the black R&B fans who were eating her music up, it really didn't matter--the bottom line was she was a first-rate soul singer whose love of black culture ran deep.

By her third album, 1980's gold Irons In The Fire, Marie was doing most of her own writing and producing. That album boasted the major hit "I Need Your Lovin'," and Marie went gold again with her next album, It Must Be Magic (which included the major hit "Square Biz"). It Must Be Magic turned out to be her last album for Motown, which she had a nasty legal battle with. Marie got out of her contract with Motown, and the case ended up with the courts passing what is known as "The Teena Marie Law"--which states that a label cannot keep an artist under contract without putting out an album by him or her.

Switching to Epic in 1983, Marie recorded her fifth album Robbery and had a hit with "Fix It." In 1984, Marie recorded her sixth album, Starchild and had her biggest pop hit ever with "Lovergirl." Though Marie had often soared to the top of the R&B charts, "Lovergirl" marked the first time she'd done so well in the pop market. Ironically, Marie was a white singer who had enjoyed little exposure outside the R&B market prior to "Lovergirl." Three more Epic albums followed: 1986's Emerald City, 1988's Naked To The World (which contained her smash hit "Ooh La La La") and 1990's Ivory. Unfortunately, Marie's popularity had faded considerably by the late 1980s, and Epic dropped her. In 1994, the singer released Passion Play on her own Sarat label. Ten years later, she signed to Cash Money and released La Doña, featuring assistance from Gerald Levert, Rick James and MC Lyte. ~ Alex Henderson, All Music Guide

Teena Marie Bio from Discogs

R&B - Soul singer - songwriter - producer - multi-instrumentalist

a.k.a. Lady Tee and the Ivory Queen of Soul.

Born on March, 5, 1956 in Santa Monica, California, USA.

Died December, 26, 2010 in Pasadena, California, USA (aged 54).

Mother of singer Rose LeBeau.

God mother of Maya Rudolph and Nona Gaye

Introduced to Motown producer Hal Davis by her friend and occasional co-writer Mickey Hearn.

Rick James helped her producing and co-writing various songs in her debut album. She has dueted with him in three songs. She has also dueted with Howard Hewett, George Duke, Faith Evans etc. She has contributed songs to soundtracks ("Goonies", "Top Gun", "Tap") and has guested to Danny Tenaglia's 1998 album "Tourism" as a singer for "Do You Love Waht You Feel". Her R'n'B No.1 hit "Ooo La La La" has been sampled by Fugees's "Gu-Gee-La" (1995)

Probably best known for her work on the Motown label during the very late 1970's into early 1980's.

Latest Music News

more news headlines »

Featured Links