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Teedra Moses: All Real

When you think of women in R&B today, you may be inclined to think of massive mainstream acceptance and that certain untouchable quality that we often call ‘diva’. Teedra Moses has the beauty and well rounded talent of any modern day soulstress, but she’s determined to keep herself in touch with her fans on a different level. From her humble roots in New Orleans to her new deal with TVT Records, Teedra Moses keeps it real for the streets. She is the consummate homegirl with classic appeal, and she is bringing her own special style to the charts.

Her debut album Complex Simplicity is due out in April, and her video for the song “Be Your Girl” was directed by the incredible Hype Williams. Not bad for a young lady who has been singing and songwriting for less than three years.

Teedra took some time to speak with AllHipHop.com Alternatives about her inspiration and outlook on the industry.

AllHipHop.com Alternatives: Your style has been compared to artists like Patrice Rushen and Cherrelle. Do you ever feel any pressure being compared to people like that?

Teedra: No, because that’s still just one part of my sound – that’s just who people pinpoint because there are so many sides to my sound. I don’t feel any pressure at all.

AHHA: Does it ever bother you when people try to constantly label your sound?

Teedra: It used to – the first couple of months of hearing people compare me to other people – it did, to be honest. But I understand that people need to understand what you’re doing, they need to make it familiar to them, so that’s the way that they make it familiar.

AHHA: Your mother, who passed away, was a gospel singer. How much of a role did gospel play in the music that you write and produce, and would you ever consider making any gospel albums?

Teedra: I think gospel has a lot to do with what I do because it’s all about ‘feel’. I’ve only been singing and writing songs for two years, and no one ever taught me about singing or making harmonies, or how you write a song – so it’s all just from my feeling, and gospel is all feeling. It’s all emotion, there’s nothing technical about it. My music and the way I write it, and arrange my songs is about how it feels, and I hope that people can take that from my music. I’m interested in doing gospel, but not [for] myself – I would love to work with other gospel artists because I’m a writer, so I would love to collaborate. I want to kind of build my career as a secular singer before I would even indulge in something like that.

AHHA: Your bio says that you started writing your songs to Prince’s music. If you could go back and sing any one of Prince’s songs with him, which one would it be and why?

Teedra: [long pause] That’s the hardest question anyone has ever asked me in my whole life. You know what? It would have to be that song ‘Baby’ {singing} Baby, what are we gonna do… It’s a song he wrote where it’s about a girl where I think the girl got pregnant, and he can barely take care of himself, and he really can’t take care of a kid and her, but he’s gonna try to do it anyway because he loves her. If it ends up that she’s pregnant, then they’re gonna thug it out together. That’s just like heartfelt shit and I love that, so I think that would probably be it. Not that that’s my exact favorite song, because that’s a hard thing to do – pick a Prince song that’s my favorite – but that’s something that I would want to perform because it’s something I can relate to.

AHHA: How much influence vocally or arrangement-wise did Prince have on you?

Teedra: The influence is getting greater and greater every day, because his arrangement is always unorthodox. It’s always less… it’s so simple, still at the same time it’s so complex. Prince altogether has a huge influence on me as an artist, as a writer. Everything that he does I feel like he felt it, and you felt that he felt it. That’s what I try to put in my music.

AHHA: I read that you wanted to be an emcee when you first started out?

Teedra: When I was much younger I started out doing talent shows rhyming, but I love Hip Hop music. That’s our culture – anyone that’s young in America is into Hip Hop music. Hip Hop has influenced every kind of music – gospel, rock, jazz – it’s influencing everything. Even though everything has influenced Hip Hop, Hip Hop in turn influences everything. It’s who I am. I can’t explain it. I am Hip Hop. I grew up dealing with the same issues they were talking about – when I was listening to those records I truly related. The way I write, I write like a rapper. I write from what I see – situations I see my homegirls go through, situations I go through.

AHHA: Do you feel like working with someone like Jadakiss fulfills those aspirations to rhyme?

Teedra: Dealing with Jadakiss was absolutely perfect because he’s really in tune with what’s going on in the streets. There are some rappers that rap from a high rise, and I feel like he’s coming from that level that I’m on. There’s a lot of different rappers that I wouldn’t like to work with, and then there’s some that I would, but I would love to work with something new and fresh.

AHHA: How did you hook up with Jadakiss initially, and how did you hook up with Hype Williams for the video?

Teedra: I recorded the song ‘You’ll Never Find’ before I even got my deal, and I knew I wanted a rapper on it, I just didn’t know who. People don’t really listen to the words, but it’s coming from a drug dealer’s girl’s point of view basically. The song can be taken in many ways, that’s just the way I wrote it. My A&R told me ‘I just worked with Jadakiss on Lil Jon’s album, so he’s really dope.’ I was like ‘that’s great’ because I love his voice. Just his voice alone – he’s got great lyrics – but his voice is so sick, he could say yabba dabba doo or whatever and it sounds hot. We haven’t even met yet. He called me though, and he was like ‘I love the song, and everywhere I go people tell me about the song’. I’m really looking forward to meeting him, because I really respect what he did on my record, and I respect what he does.

As far as Hype, I used to be an assistant wardrobe stylist to my very best friend Sondra MacKenzie, and she is very good friends with Hype, and one day she calls him over and told him ‘Hype, I want you to do the video’ and he was like ‘okay let me hear the music’ and he was like ‘I like the music’. He just rolled with me, and he’s pretty much doing me a huge favor. It’s a blessing.

AHHA: Name three other rappers that you would work with if you could.

Teedra: Scarface, Nas, and Ludacris.

AHHA: Does it bother you to see the sexier images of women in music today, or does it make you more self conscious about your image?

Teedra: My image is so Teedra, that I don’t think about what my image is going to be, because it’s just everything I’ve been all my life. It’s just who I am, and I’m not naked all the time, but sometimes I do dress sexy, and I’m not in a head wrap either. I’m not bothered with what other people try to do, because I’m so wrapped up with what Teedra is trying to do. I look at people like Beyonce, and I think she’s amazing, and she’s beautiful and I respect it. I look at someone like Goapele and her music is great and she’s beautiful or whatever, but I never look at them in the sense of how they compare to me. It’s like, I’m doing my thing, and hopefully it pans out. I don’t have to be the best, because I’m not competing with anyone but myself. That’s it.

AHHA: It seems like TVT has been really supportive of you. Did you have any second thoughts going into your deal considering that it’s been primarily a rap label?

Teedra: It was kind of scary at first, but the thing that made me feel that this could work – like I said, I’m a Hip Hop chick – and if you can take me that route, I can make it that route. I may not make it the Whitney Houston route, but I can make it on a street level, because that’s who I am. The fear kind of went away when I thought about it. The way that they work records is on a real grimy street level, and not that I’m a grimy person – I’m a very classy young lady – but I grew up in the ghetto and I’m on some real shit. If I was on a major label I’d probably still be sitting on a shelf.

AHHA: Do you look down the road this year and see yourself in any particular position? You say that you don’t care about being a big superstar, but if you had that opportunity, are you ready for it?

Teedra: You know what? Whatever God brings me. My life moves at speed, so whatever He brings me, I’m ready for it because that’s what He has in store for me – but I really really see myself more as a writer than a performer. I love to perform, and I think I do it well. I love all of that side of being an artist, but I really hope that my album, if nothing else, triggers the ears of the people that create music and they want to work with me as a writer. I really love to write. I have vision for different artists, and you can make more money on the other side. I see myself this year working on as many projects as I possibly can.

My goal is to be like Missy – how she just got it locked. What female is gonna come write you a hit? Missy, that’s it. There is no one else. I want to get a piece of that – that’s all. I’m moving into production – I just really want to control the music. I really want to get it all out of me, because for so long I’ve had so much music in my head, and I haven’t had the opportunity to get it out.

AHHA: What do you want people to know about you from this album?

Teedra: I want people to feel like ‘I know her’ – ‘that’s the chick I went to high school with’ or ‘she lives next door to me’ or ‘I’m just like her’ – people to relate. Sometimes I feel like people are too far away from the common person. I’m just an average person dealing with the same crap everyone else is dealing with, and I don’t mind saying I’m broke, I don’t mind saying my heart’s been broken, I don’t mind saying I wish somebody would just love me and stop acting like an asshole, I don’t mind saying I want to have sex tonight – all these emotions that we all feel and may not want to deal with. I want people to just be able to relate. I want people to just say ‘I know her, she’s cool people’.

Find out more about Teedra Moses at http://www.teedramoses.com

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