Teairra Mari: This Is Me Now

There’s a reassured calmness about Teairra Mari as

she prepares to reintroduce herself to the world. Like a shooting star, she

illuminated the R&B scene with her sparkling debut, Roc-A-Fella Presents: Teairra Mari. The Detroit native’s 2005 ladies

anthem, “Make Her Feel Good,” climbed to 23 on the Billboard charts. It seemed

all was well with the world until the doe-eyed songstress got a call from Def

Jam that she’d been dropped. Suddenly, the lights flickered and slowly faded to

black. Teairra returned home to regroup and kept focused on making music, but

something was missing. It was her drive.

While she stayed in the recording booth, the notion of starting

all over was as daunting as it was draining. While former labelmates Rihanna

and Ne-Yo catapulted into stardom, Teairra was forced to pick up the pieces and

make them fit again. She eventually connected with producer Cudda Love, who

reignited her hustling spirit by channeling their creative energy. With a sound

that’s more refined, Teairra is back with a flashy new video, “Cause A Scene”

and a sophomore album slated for the summer. AllHipHop.com caught up with

Teairra Mari to reflect on her journey and celebrate her rebirth with At

That Point (Warner

Bros./Fo’Reel Entertainment).

AllHipHop.com Alternatives: It’s been four years since you’ve been on

the music scene. How have you been preparing for your comeback?

Teairra Mari:  I was just getting my mental right. When I first

got released from Def Jam I was like in a state of depression. So I got back on

my feet and moved from Detroit to L.A. got some sun in my life and I’ve been

recording nonstop.

AllHipHop.com

Alternatives:  Rihanna and Ne-Yo

seem to have gotten a different kind of support from Def Jam. Do you feel there

was disconnect between you and the label?

Teairra

Mari: I didn’t even know there was

an issue to be honest with you. That’s why I was so baffled when I was released

because I didn’t know where it came from. Still to this day, I just think it

was a business decision. I think we all got the same support and it was just

their time. There was nothing I could do about it and it was what it was. They

put so much money into the album and when it didn’t sell, it was cleanup time,

and unfortunately I got let go.

AllHipHop.com Alternatives: You had to have walked away from Def

Jam with a lot of insight. What was the hardest lesson for you?

Teairra

Mari: I walked away with so many.

The biggest one is to keep good people around that have been with me from day

one. They’ll tell you like it is whether you’re wrong or right. I didn’t do

that when I was at Def Jam. I closed a lot of people out of my life and that

was a big mistake and a huge lesson for me; one of many.

AllHipHop.com Alternatives: Jay-Z was really a mentor to you. What’s

the best advice he’s given you? And do you have any for Melanie Fiona, the new

R&B Princess of The Roc?

Teairra

Mari: It was some of the most

cliché advice but it was so true: to work hard because hard work pays off. He’s

a living walking example of hard work and what it can do for you. Just staying

focused and not caring what other people think or have to say. Once you do that

and make your own choices, life is a lot easier.  It’s no stress when you don’t think about the outside world.

And to Melanie, have fun.

AllHipHop.com Alternatives: You were very vocal in King about your disappointment in Jay-Z and the

Rihanna rumors. Have they reached out to you since then?

Teairra

Mari: No I haven’t heard from

anybody. People have come to me like Jay isn’t too pleased with some of your

interviews, but I won’t believe that until I hear it from him. It’s all love

and I am going to be graceful about the situation. I would never be rude or

bitter towards anyone from that period in my life.

AllHipHop.com Alternatives: What got you motivated to try again

after the setbacks?

Teairra

Mari: Getting that old thing back.

I had to go home and realize Def Jam isn’t going to make or break my drive. I

had to get home and get the right people in my ear like come on Teairra! So I

was like you know what, let me get off my butt and get out the funk and go do

what I’ve always wanted to do.

AllHipHop.com Alternatives: How did you end up at Warner Bros/Fo’

Reel Entertainment? Why was that situation a good fit for you?

Teairra

Mari:  A friend of mine put me in touch with Cudda Love

and said he wanted to meet with me. So he flew me out to L.A., we recorded, and

the chemistry was great! Also, he’s like a fighter. He could be told no twenty

different times, and he’ll still keep knocking on the same door.  That’s the kind of energy I needed for

my sophomore album. Then I just felt Warner was the best situation for me. Now

that I have the experience under my belt I can step up more.

AllHipHop.com Alternatives:

How has your sound changed? How would you describe the vibe of At That Point?

Teairra

Mari: I think my vocal range has

definitely grown and the tone of my voice is more experienced. The content on

the album is more things that I’ve been through personally. The last album had

more things that I’d seen other people go through. I have a lot of mid-tempo

but it’s really a good balance of all things. I have your love songs on there,

dance songs and all.

AllHipHop.com Alternatives:

Which artists and producers did you work with on the project?

Teairra

Mari: I worked with The Runners, Mad Scientist, The

Movement and Rico Love, who executive produced the album. He’s an extraordinary

writer. I also worked with up-and-coming producers from Miami, Jackpot

music.  Artist wise, I featured

Pleasure P, Flo Rida, Rick Ross, Kanye West and Nicki Minaj.

AllHipHop.com Alternatives:

What was the most challenging part about making your sophomore album? The R

& B climate is a bit different now.

Teairra

Mari: You have people out now that

are not afraid to speak their mind, so I’m enjoying that. Because that was my

thing, I said what I wanted to say and how I felt and if a curse word or two came

out then hey! The biggest challenge was finding a niche and a sound that was

consistent. I used to go home every day from the studio like this is not it

this is not it, getting discouraged at times. But of course I kept going. I am

a resilient woman and I found the sound.

AllHipHop.com Alternatives:

Blogs have become more popular while you’ve been away. What’s the funniest

rumor you’ve heard about yourself?

Teairra

Mari: That’s a tough one! I hear

all these dating rumors, so the silliest ones have probably been those. Like,

why are you linking me to this person? I won’t say any names. But it’s funny to

me. I’m single and loving it.

AllHipHop.com Alternatives:

Your album title, At That Point,

is very significant. Where are you at in your personal journey?

Teairra Mari: It’s like the conclusion of the ups and downs in my career. I was

going around in circles and now I am finally at that point of no return –

a point of comfort in my own shoes. I’m not searching for Teairra anymore. I’m

at that point.

 

 

 

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