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Teena Marie

No white artist sang R&B more convincingly than Teena Marie, whose big, robust vocals were so black-sounding that when she was starting out, some listeners wondered if she was a light-skinned African-American. 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 twenties 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 '80s, and Epic dropped her. In 1994, the singer released Passion Play on her own Sarai Records label. Ten years later, she signed to Cash Money and released La Doña, featuring assistance from Gerald LeVert, Rick James, and MC Lyte. Sapphire followed two years later. Though both La Doña and Sapphire peaked at number three on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, she switched to Stax for her next album, 2009's Congo Square. On December 26 the following year, Marie died in her sleep at her home in Pasadena, California; she was 54 years of age. Marie's daughter Alia Rose subsequently oversaw the mixing, mastering, and release of Beautiful, an album recorded prior to Marie's passing. It was released through UMe in 2012. ~ Alex Henderson, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Can't Last A Day (Radio Single)

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Track List: Luv Letter (Radio Edit) (Single)

Comments

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A gift that's truly missed, RIP!!
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jamesbemore
Affectionate l y known as the 'blackest' white girl ever, lol
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I loved her so much. My first white crush.
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bogpoppadcm
Saw Ms. T at one of last performances aboard the Capital Jazz Super Cruise. She had such energy and a positive life energy. I stayed up all night from her positive vibe!!! Watching the sun come up on the seas remembering how Ms. T touched my very soul.

Rest In Peace Sista T
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Behind The Groove: My most favorite old school artists has always been Teena Marie, the old Madonna, and Rick James.
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Rip.. Lady T...vanilla shy....White chocolate. ..thanx for the memories. ..love this song....
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Black, white, green, purple true talent is colorblind & effortless just like Mz Teena. Teena Marie, Whitney Houston, Teddy P, Luther Vandross & Barry white (many more)....can y'all imagine what that heavenly music is like up there?
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When I Listen To Your Music It Sends Chills Up & Down My Spine. It Never Mattered To Me You Were Not Black. All I Cared About Was Your Music Gave Me A Good Feeling Inside. You're Always In My Prayers. Love You Lady Tee. Brian H.
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Sure do miss you ♥
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Beautiful soul sister with a big Heart��
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Lady T's lyrics were from my heart to her lips. I felt her love AND her pain. She loved so hard that it hurt. RIP Tee!
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She was my Lady T. I remember her looking right at me at a concert and singing Hey Lover
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I love her music so much she always put me in a peaceful place listening to her beautiful voice
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She is the greatest Female Artist ever Rip Teena always b loved
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This is my song, I luv u may u rest in peace
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I love this song no matter what color she was this girl can sang sang real talent
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Lady T...listenin g to you put it down with Rick on Fire and Desire makes me realize that there will never be another like you...
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She was Beautiful both physically. And vocally. She will be missed. .....we all will miss u LADT T..
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ICON Like Ella Aretha EttaSara De ja Vu 2 Sunny skies
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BEAUTIFUL VOICE...R.I. P
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De Ja Vue Awesome vocals...fro m day 1 and her lyrics still ring true
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Square biz......... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . s h e was rapping when rapping was only out by the sugar hill gang & grand master flash & the furious 5. T was on the money....... . y o u go vanilla choc!!!! I love this girl -always & forever!
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I Need Your Lovin'...I remember watching Lady T perform this on Soul Train. Love and miss her
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Love this SONG
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She was my idol i love het songs
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LUV LUV LUV..this song.!!!!!?
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I love Lady T....she was so cool and had so much soul..her music is timeless.
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She voice resonates from the core of her soul.

She brought the best in the musical perspective out of Rick James, and he did the same for her.
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This women totally has very much to do with my attitude about life. As she has put it it, that its business. It for me me has been much more. And to the daughter she left behind, your mom was soooo awesome and an inspiration to me. I love Teena Marie then now and forever!!!!!
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She was a awesome singer
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I Need Your Loving: BUT Teena Marie is one of my most favorite singers.
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prophx1
To hear,know,lo v e , r e s p e c t , and cherish some of the greatest music from one of the greatest singers is a true pleasure.... t h a n k you wonderful soul, Lady T...RIP!
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I was soooo innocent then!
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I miss her RIP TEENA MARIA
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One of the top voices in old school r&b . . Will be missed big time . . Thank you for the memories R.I.P
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Always #1 sister. R.I.P.
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sandymcleod1 7
AWESOME BAND
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Loved her from the very first note she hit. She is sooooo sorely missed. Rest in peace, BELOVED
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R.I.P. Gorgeous...
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Now that's my girl
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De Ja Vu: Song about Bobbi. :-) I can feel this for sure. I've been here before.
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Love her music!!!
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This is str8 maken love music!! N!
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I love this girl
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I love u teena!!! I wrote all the words to lover girl on my headboard as a young girl!!! Rip
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Teena I meant....... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . L a d y T!
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I love u TINA!!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! no# 1 fav singer!
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Maintaining, listening too lady T.. nothing better than that!
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She has such a beautiful voice her song move my heart her songs touch my heart she will be in are hearts and soul lovevu teena marie
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RIP Ivory Lady.
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