Sometimes, it pays to be selfish. Just ask Teedra Moses, who for years has penned hits for Christina Milian (Dip It Low), Trina (Here We Go), and Macy Gray (Finally Made Me Happy). With a new mixtape, Royal Patience: The Young Hustla Volume 3, dropping April 23rd, and her sophomore studio album, The Young Lioness, completed, R&Bs best kept secret is now putting her career first. And due to her label TVT Records filing bankruptcy this past February, Teedra Moses initiative could not have come at a more crucial time. AllHipHop.com Alternatives: Your new album was supposed to come out last year, and I know youve had a lot of pushbacks with TVT. When the news broke about them filing bankruptcy, what were your initial feelings and reactions?Teedra Moses: To be very candid with you, I started feeling like, God is so real, because Ive been battling [TVT] for a long time trying to get the opportunity to go somewhere else. Trying to do that with them not going into bankruptcy wouldve been really hard. Now its an easier task with them being in the situation theyre in. But a little bit of me also felt like, Well dang, how did it even get to this point? Now I understand a little bit clearer why things were they way they were with my project [The Young Lioness]. Sometimes you just want your music to come out so bad but its not [Gods plan] to come out on that label. Then Id have a situation where Im not well promoted, and they really couldnt facilitate that at the time. So it was a blessing. Part of me was like Yeah! and the other part was like Dang! But it is what it is.AHHA: Before they went into bankruptcy, Im sure you had a lot of meetings with them about the album and the release date. What reasons were they giving you about why the album had to keep getting pushed back?Teedra: Our communication was just horrible. The person I was dealing with [from TVT] was Brian Leech. He was the A&R that came to the studio and listened to what you were doing. Through him I was able to communicate with the label.Im not the type of person that can easily sit in the midst of all the technical stuff. I try to stay away from all that so I can be creative and do what I do without the restraints of thinking about what [A&Rs] have to do. Thats why I have people around for those jobs.So once Brian left, there was really no way to communicate with them as an artist. There was no music person there. There were a couple other A&Rs, but they used to be assistants. There was no music person to really communicate with that could understand the vision I had. You have to have that person to translate the vision to the label. It was a hard situation because everything was in disarray, and after Brian left, everything just started to fall apart. There were a lot of people underneath Brian that left too, and it kinda fell apart, unfortunately.AHHA: So are you a complete free agent at this point?Teedra: Not exactly; Im not off TVT yet, but its something Im moving towards. Its very, very near.AHHA: Youre one of the few R&B artists out there that has an ongoing mixtape series [The Young Hustla Volume 1-3]. Was this originally your idea, and how do you approach the mixtapes as opposed to your albums?Teedra: Definitely my idea. I just thought it would be really fun. With the first album [TVT] had it for a long time too. It was held up for a long time, so I wasnt going to the studio working for me. It was working on songs for other people. And thats cool, but I didnt get a chance to express myself as myself, and not as a ghostwriter.So I went in and just started rocking over beats that I liked on the radio and other albums. Thats kinda how it started. And Volume 2 was me picking old stuff that was never released, still rocking over other peoples beats, and incorporating live stuff from Complex Simplicity. The third one is more just my impatience; my impatience about really wanting to put out music the proper way. But I have to take it back to the hood because [TVT] are not in that situation right now. So its more about what I have to do to be heard.AHHA: The music industry is known to make artists into stock characters. For example youll have your vixen/seductress, then your earthly, spiritual types Teedra: [laughs] Youre so funny AHHA: [laughs] Now you were able to get away from that with your first album? And you really havent had that problem of being classified that rigidly. Do you feel that the industry and fans are now more open to three-dimensional artists over the caricatures weve seen in the past?Teedra: I hope so! But I dont know people are just very comfortable putting labels on things, so they can understand it. People have a hard time seeing something as a whole. They rather just see a piece.Im hoping that now the world is willing to see things more three-dimensional, especially in America. I think a lot of times other countries dont have this hard of a time accepting things without having to stuff it in some type of box. Its about time! Things arent just one thing. Green is green. You can sit on a street and look at green, and see 20 different types of the color.AHHA: On the new album you talk about how your childrens father [rapper Ras Kass] didnt love you the way you needed to be loved [I Told You]. What is true love to Teedra Moses?Teedra: [pauses] That is hard, but thank you for mentioning those words. Love for me is accepting exactly who I am. That should be love for anybody. You love that person not for anything thats around them, but for the core of them. Even though you may see fault in that person you only try to build them up and make them better. You dont take advantage of someones faults.AHHA: Also on the album you talk about how youre now ready for true love. What has happened recently to make you feel this way?Teedra: I am ready for that. When I listen to Andre 3000s The Love Below, I totally get it because you want someone to go through this life with. Me being a woman in a business where you have to be tough, I want someone I can be soft with. The young lioness is a part of me but theres a softer side to me that only a man can bring out. And Im ready to not have to force myself to do that, but have a pardon my French, a n**ga to bring it completely out of me. [laughs] A true man to bring it out of me, thats what Im ready for.AHHA: Now obviously the next thing people will want to know is what does Teedra Moses look for in a mate? What catches your eye, and, more importantly, what keeps you stimulated with a partner?Teedra: I love intelligence and confidence. When I say intelligence I dont mean a dude who is just a scholar. You have been going through life observing, going through phases, and learning and can teach me something. That is very attractive. I also like confidence. Someone who is secure enough in themselves where they can be comfortable in any situation, like a chameleon. So no matter where you take them that can fit right in and be comfortable. Those are very strong characteristics I like in a man.And I like a caretaker. [laughs] You know, a man that wants to be a man. Im not trying to be the breadwinner, go out and do everything, and come home and take care of you. Im willing to contribute. [laughs] I like a caretaker. So those are the main things.Oh and spiritual have to mention that as well.AHHA: Sophomore albums can be just as important as debuts in establishing an artist. Did you feel the pressure in making sure The Young Lioness builds on the success of your debut?Teedra: For a quick second I did. I cant even front I was shook for a minute. I got to the point where I was saying, What if they say Im doing the same stuff I did on the last album?But then I said [to myself], Teedra, this was never about the music industry or fame it was always about what you felt what moves you and feels good to you.And I know I should have responsibility at this point, because people have taken to my music. But I cant take that on. For me, that would take away from me as an artist to think too much about things that I never thought about before. So for a second I did, but I had to let it go.I read in one of those life books that you cant hold onto something and worry about whats going to happen. You have to either create it and let it do what its gonna do or dont even do it. So I had to let that go.AHHA: Its been four years since your last album, and thats a lifetime in the music industry as far as trends coming and going. What has stood out to you in the last couple years?Teedra: The trend of more dance music and bigger sounding records. Not really Hip-Hop dance music, but club dance music. I really like that style. Madonna has always done it. Ive liked the two-step sound. Its more of a consistent bass, kick and snare. I like the vintage dance sound of Amy Winehouse too.AHHA: On the new album youve enlisted some producers like Cool and Dre to compliment your established collaborators like Poli Paul and Raphael Saadiq. Was there a particular sound you are going for on this record?Teedra: It wasnt really a sound, more so a feeling. I established a certain sound with my first record. It was very cool with Pol to see what our chemistry brought about, and that helped me to establish my sound as an artist. I took that and tried to mesh it with different feelings.Sometimes it produced the same sound, but sometimes it didnt. So I really didnt put much emphasis on the sound as I did the musical journey I want listeners to have.AHHA: You have a very strong singing voice, but theres an undercurrent of delicacy and vulnerability to it. With those elements in your voice have you ever considered doing a straight jazz album down the line?Teedra: Oh Lord I was just talking about that with my brother in law. I would really love to just do a whole jazz set, I really would. When I get myself to a point where my level of notoriety as an R&B artist is there, the next thing I would do may even be starting a group.Id have a bass player, piano, and do different genres of music, not just jazz. [It] would be some side stuff it aint gotta be about record sales, it would be about just making music. I would love to sing jazz. Im from New Orleans so thats my base.AHHA: One last question. A lot of people believe that going independent solves all problems. You get $9 a CD, you control your whole project, etc. Let everyone know out there thats it not that simple.Teedra: [shocked] NO! Youre independent, that means no support. [laughs] A lot of things you get on a major label, like the relationships they have with other labels and radio stations arent there and makes it less easy. I liked the feel of coming into this thing independent and being able to do what I wanted to do. But even on an independent label, theyll get involved and start telling you what they want. Because even an indie label the whole time wants to get as big as a major. All they want to do is revel in the fact theyre independent and selling records like a major. It puts pressure on you and theyll get all up in your s**t just as much as a major label. Its the same game just on a smaller level. And theres more pressure since your handling everything on your own.Check out Teedra Moses' performance at Atlanta's Sugarhill Nightclub from 3/28.