For nearly three decades, pint sized, soul-stirring songstress Teena Marie has been an undeniable force in contemporary pop and R&B. Singer, songwriter, accomplished producer and arranger - she's captured the hearts and spirits of millions of fans around the world with her versatility and style. Her star-status was reaffirmed with her triumphant return to the limelight after a ten-year hiatus in 2004 with the critically acclaimed and commercial success of La Do'a. Now, ready to deliver her 13th album, Sapphire, (not counting numerous compilations), her second Cash Money Classics/Universal Motown Records release serves as more evidence that the passionate vocalist has never been in better form.
The four time-grammy nominated singer (her given name is Mary Christine Brockert) who grew up with a strong African-American influence from her godmother has been blessed with the 'gift of music' since early childhood. The Santa Monica, California native still has vivid memories of being raised on a diet of 'pure' Motown. Incredibly, she could sing Harry Belafonte by age two fine-tuning her self-professed "Gift from God" throughout her wondrous career, including the heart wrenching sessions that made up the inspiring Sapphire.
Being the first R&B artist to rap and sing on her own records, Teena Marie has contributed much to the world of hip-hop. Kurupt, his wife Gail Gotti and her sister Queen all lend their talents to the new album, with Teena referring to them fondly: "They're like my grown kids." Intrigued by the rap-sung-spoken word combination, Teena Marie wrote the rhyme Kurupt performs on "Baby Who's Is It," while Gail Gotti and Queen do their own thing on "Ladies Choice."
Teena Marie's storied journey to music superstardom blazed a path of musical empowerment admired by artists from all genres. Signed to her dream label - Motown Records - at age 19, her magic would become fully developed under the tutelage of the legendary Rick James. Her 1979 debut Wild And Peaceful, produced by James, garnered a #8 R&B single with "I'm A Sucker For Your Love." One year later, her second and third albums, Lady T and Irons in the Fire produced the hit classics "Behind The Groove" and "I Need Your Loving" respectively. Ms. Marie also took creative control of her projects by this time, and in 1981, released the platinum selling It Must Be Magic which featured the up-tempo "Square Biz" and slow jam "Portuguese Love."
Forever young, Teena Marie is now more focused than ever: "What I think they [the listener] will feel is the sincerity of the lyrics. The younger people, I think will get to hear what we [Rick James & Teena] were and more of who I am." "I'm most proud professionally, of the legacy I've been able to create through my music."