Teairra Mari: This Is Me Now
Theres 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 natives 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 shed 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
thats 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
AllHipHop.com Alternatives: Its been four years since youve 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 Ive been
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?
Mari: I didnt even know there was
an issue to be honest with you. Thats why I was so baffled when I was released
because I didnt 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 didnt 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?
Mari: I walked away with so many.
The biggest one is to keep good people around that have been with me from day
one. Theyll tell you like it is whether youre wrong or right. I didnt 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. Whats
the best advice hes given you? And do you have any for Melanie Fiona, the new
R&B Princess of The Roc?
Mari: It was some of the most
cliché advice but it was so true: to work hard because hard work pays off. Hes
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. Its no stress when you dont 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?
Mari: No I havent heard from
anybody. People have come to me like Jay isnt too pleased with some of your
interviews, but I wont believe that until I hear it from him. Its 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?
Mari: Getting that old thing back.
I had to go home and realize Def Jam isnt 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 Ive 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?
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, hes like a fighter. He could be told no twenty
different times, and hell still keep knocking on the same door. Thats 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.
How has your sound changed? How would you describe the vibe of At That Point?
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 Ive been through personally. The last album had
more things that Id seen other people go through. I have a lot of mid-tempo
but its really a good balance of all things. I have your love songs on there,
dance songs and all.
Which artists and producers did you work with on the project?
Mari: I worked with The Runners, Mad Scientist, The
Movement and Rico Love, who executive produced the album. Hes 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.
What was the most challenging part about making your sophomore album? The R
& B climate is a bit different now.
Mari: You have people out now that
are not afraid to speak their mind, so Im 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.
Blogs have become more popular while youve been away. Whats the funniest
rumor youve heard about yourself?
Mari: Thats 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 wont say any names. But its funny to
me. Im single and loving it.
Your album title, At That Point,
is very significant. Where are you at in your personal journey?
Teairra Mari: Its 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. Im not searching for Teairra anymore. Im
at that point.