This interview with T-Pain took place during his peak as an artist. He had several hit singles out and fans were looking to see what he was coming with next. It was also cool to hear his definition of “Hard & B” which was something he invented. – JDot.
UrbanBridgez.com: Is it true that you recorded a song with Nivea called ‘Ask for it?’
T-Pain: Yeah. Basically it’s just a track talking about anything that you want or need, just ask for it. The song will appear on my album.
UrbanBridgez.com: What is your favorite memory of being an R&B artist so far?
T-Pain: I did a show in South Carolina and I got chased by girls.
UrbanBridgez.com: That’s always a good thing.
T-Pain: Very good!
UrbanBridgez.com: What can we expect from your upcoming debut album?
T-Pain: A lot of versatility, true stories and something to relate to. Not just a universal relation, not a ghetto relation either but something everyone can relate to.
UrbanBridgez.com: Who are some of the producers that worked on the album?
UrbanBridgez.com: Wow, so you produced the entire album.
T-Pain: Yeah. (Laughing)
UrbanBridgez.com: It’s interesting because after checking the credits on Charlie Wilson’s album, I saw that you produced a track on there. That was shocking because who would have known that you were also a producer.
T-Pain: Yeah, no one really knows that yet (Laughing). Well, I guess they know now.
UrbanBridgez.com: How was it working with Charlie?
T-Pain: That was crazy. I never thought I was going to meet him. That was just a really good experience. He’s a very talented guy.
UrbanBridgez.com: I know Nivea makes a guest appearance on the album. Any other artist making appearances?
T-Pain: Right now I got Bone Crusher, Styles P., and Akon.
UrbanBridgez.com: How do you feel about R&B tracks today needing the assistance of 16 bars from a rap artist?
T-Pain: I mean, it’s like a Remix. If you would have done it right the first time you wouldn’t need a remix. Sometimes you need help and sometimes you don’t need it. It depends on the vibe of the song. I think it’s just interesting when R&B and Hip-Hop come together, but not all the time.
UrbanBridgez.com: So would you say that your album is a straight up R&B record?
T-Pain: Yeah basically, but it’s going to have some Hip-Hop on it.
UrbanBridgez.com: What made you decide to go by the nickname “T-Pain” rather than by your birth name?
T-Pain: Basically, it’s just two different people. T-Pain is the music lover. T-pain, he’s the person that went through all of this to get to where he is.
UrbanBridgez.com: How did you get signed to Akon’s label?
T-Pain: He called me. He found my cell phone number somewhere. I don’t know how he did that. But he called me on my cell phone. I thought somebody was playing. He called me and was like “I wanna sign you.” So we went through all the paper work and now I’m signed with Konvict.
UrbanBridgez.com: I heard you took the beat from “Locked Up” and sung over the track?
T-Pain: Yeah, at the time I was doing a “Jacking for beats” CD. Just something to put underground on the streets. The song got out and I guess it got all the way up to Atlanta and he (Akon) called me and it was a wrap.
UrbanBridgez.com: How did you make the transition from rapping to singing?
T-Pain: I think it was when I stopped caring about what people was thinking about me. It was a slight transition because I was already singing hooks for my rap group. So it wasn’t like a major change, I was already singing. But I started to seriously sing after the group. It would be like sometimes while performing with my group, I wouldn’t wanna sing after everybody’s already heard me rap. I didn’t wanna have to hear what people would have to say but I stopped caring about that.
UrbanBridgez.com: I heard you came up with the term “Hard & B.”
T-Pain: That just explains me. It’s just a more truthful, soulful R&B. Not the “take your body and all that crap” (Laughing).
UrbanBridgez.com: Will you ever work with your old group Nappy Headz again?
T-Pain: Yeah, I’m still with them and I’m signing them to my new label Nappy Boy Entertainment. They’re going to be on that label. They also make an appearance on the album.
UrbanBridgez.com: Will the song “Time to Make Love” appear on your debut album?
T-Pain: It could. We’re actually working on that now. We just did a new version with Field Mob on it.
UrbanBridgez.com: Tell the fans about the irony of the song “I’m Sprung” and how you are married to the woman you were talking about in the song.
T-Pain: Yeah that was crazy! I don’t know how that happened. I can’t even really explain it. It just happened.
UrbanBridgez.com: Were ya’ll high school sweet-hearts or something?
T-Pain: Naw, we got married like 8 months after we met each other.
UrbanBridgez.com: How excited are you about the success of your single, “I’m Sprung?” It’s a hit down South and will hopefully gain rotation over here on the East Coast.
T-Pain: Right. I’m not really excited, excited. You know how when it’s your Birthday is just feels like another day. That’s how I feel right now.
UrbanBridgez.com: Which female artist would you love to work with?
T-Pain: Wow, that’s a hard question. Umm, I don’t know. That’s kind of hard to say. I would like to work with Ciara because she can dance and I like dancing now.
UrbanBridgez.com: If you had to choose three music artists to tour with, whom would you pick and why?
T-Pain: Cee-Lo, Andre 3000 and Devin the Dude.
UrbanBridgez.com: That would be a hot tour. I hope if they read this ya’ll decide to make that happen. Does T-pain have any hidden talents that no one knows about?
T-Pain: I write and produce all of my stuff.
UrbanBridgez.com: Have you produced or written anything for anyone lately?
T-Pain: Yeah, I just did a track for 3LW. I did a hook for Juvenile, Young Bloodz, Akon and Trillville.
UrbanBridgez.com: Any last words for your fans?
T-Pain: Yep, watch out for the Nappy Headz.
9. Laura Izibor
It’s not every day you hear about emerging black talent coming from the beautiful country of Ireland. In a place known for folklore and Celtic sounds, singer Laura Izibor was one of the few who dared to be different.
Fueled by the sounds of American soul, Laura talked candidly with me about why she sings with soul and how R&B icon Al Green gave her the best advice on how to be successful in the music business. Izibor was very genuine and very bubbly about making a name for herself in the genre of music she adores. – Dhaani (CJ)
UrbanBridgez.com : Laura, I wanted you to know personally UrbanBridgez.com chose you as one of the top ten artists to look out for in 2009. We are just so in love with “From My Heart to Yours”.
Laura: Aww, thank you. Thank you so much. I didn’t know that and you really put a smile on my face.
UrbanBridgez.com: Awww (laughs)! I was reading a little bit about you and you stated in your bio the foundation begins with soul, explain that for me.
Laura: Well I think the foundation of what I do in looking within the soul is finding the genre that has the biggest impact. It comes down to what I love to listen to and what I sing and I think with my music that’s where it all begins.
UrbanBridgez.com: So you began working on your album at the age of 17. How important was it for you to define your style / sound before releasing the album?
Laura: Defining your style to me is something that happens very naturally. The problem is with a lot of people is they expect you to have everything [style] together very young. This takes a long time and I think all you can do is be real with yourself, be honest with who you are and who you’re becoming. I think that’s what this album is and that’s probably why it’s different with a lot of things you hear. Listening to other people they’ll tell you need to be R&B style, an urban chick, or dress like this and that. I’ve been fortunate to have people to embrace me for who I am although I didn’t know who I was exactly and they just embraced the process. It eventually reflected in the music and the journey in finding me. Thankfully in the end it paid off not to fall for industry pressures and I still maintained the person I’m destined to be.
UrbanBridgez.com: Do you think not knowing who you are has led to some of the downfall of some of today’s artists? Many have come and gone so quickly I think.
Laura: Oh yeah, I mean I think we forget what it’s like to be a teenager. Then being thrown into a woman as soon as you get into the industry. Just think about all the pressure, the fame and scrutiny on top of that. For example you could be having a bad day or that time of the month and you could say to yourself “oh god I feel so fat!” On top of that you’d have people coming along talking about “oh yeah, you do look fat girl!” You know what I mean? There’s a whole other element to this industry that the people could make a clear decision not to buy into.
Laura: I think when you get that into people they’ll respond to you to the way you want them to. I was talking to a friend recently and he was like I hear your single (From My Heart to Yours) is a big hit at home. It’s the number 3 most played song in the country. He was like wow you must get recognized a lot and it’s time for you to start dressing like a superstar. I’m like no, no, no! Don’t get it twisted, that’s not me! When you see me in the airport or anywhere else, you’re going to see Laura Izibor chillin’ and off work! That’s not what I’m trying to be. When I’m in performance mode that’s what it is. I want to make it clear that I’m still this normal person who happens to do this [sing]. They need to sort of know these things about themselves and people will have no other choice but to accept it. That’s the problem with us young women; it’s this major fear to not to give to societies pressures and actually stand tall for who you are. You shouldn’t be afraid to find out who that person is.
UrbanBridgez.com: Alright! Speak that! Okay, so tell me about “The Soul of Ireland”. I for one didn’t have a clue Ireland produced soul music. Do you find it weird people don’t know soul music comes from your homeland?
Laura: A lot of people definitely but I wouldn’t say weird but godsmack because they say you look like this, sound like this, and you’re from Ireland…that’s crazy! The thing is about Ireland and Europe that Americans don’t realize is that soul music is so adored in Europe. All your classic people like Otis Redding and Donnie Hathaway are still being spun on radio stations continuously. I don’t think I’d have the same access listening to this type of music on the radio if I grew up in America. In that sense it’s a real blessing to be off in this crazy place musically and I could anticipate it from a very different point of view. I was able to see and hear these artists and it was a magical experience for me being exposed to artists like Otis Redding. I like it! I like being from Ireland and it trips people out but then when people dig it, it’s cool. It’s just like being black from America, France, or what have you. We’re all the same and music is one thing that connects us all – it’s a beautiful thing.
UrbanBridgez.com: Good stuff! As far as listening to the artists mention, did it give you the will to want to sing? How did it inspire you in becoming an artist?
Laura: Honestly I was just singing because I got a good reaction. I was a kid, started singing, and people loved it. I began to do it more and more. It wasn’t until I was 14 or 15 discovering Roberta Flack, Aretha Franklin, Jill Scott, and India Arie. Then I really heard singers and it was much more than listening to the songs, I began singing along with them. I’m thinking wow; I didn’t think I could sing like this or say words like this. Both women have a way of expressing themselves and it made me aware of the gift I possessed. After embracing my gift of singing, my writing just started to blossom because I was so inspired.
UrbanBridgez.com: Wow, Very interesting! So is this how you earned your nickname “The Soul of Ireland”?
Laura: Um, I don’t know how I earned that. That just popped up everywhere. Every interview I’ve done has started out introducing me as “The Soul of Ireland”. I like it and I’m taking it all in!
UrbanBridgez.com: I hear you and I love it! I’ve heard you’ve opened for acts such as Angie Stone, The Roots. And the late Godfather of Soul James Brown to name a few. Which one were you nervous about meeting and which one gave you the best industry advice?
Laura: I got to meet Angie, the Roots and I supported Al Green as well as Aretha Franklin. Aretha, I was so nervous in meeting her but in the end we didn’t get to meet. The person that gave me the most advice was Al Green. He was so crazy and he’s just a beautiful human being. He said to me to keep being myself. He said when he was the most successful, he was the most miserable. Al said he’s the happiest now that he’s ever been. Al the key is to know and maintain who I am because when you start changing for everyone you become a people pleaser. When you know who you are and stand by it, you’re going to annoy a lot of people but you’ll be happy with yourself! Hold on to it, he said. It definitely stuck with me and is a beautiful thing. Al told me this about two years ago.
UrbanBridgez.com: That was some beautiful advice, I love Al! He’s most definitely one of my favorites.
Laura: Yes he is!
UrbanBridgez.com: Tell me about your new album “Let the Truth Be Told” and what’s the meaning behind it?
Laura: It’s my truth, my truth about life from when I was 15 writing songs on down to the last song I wrote when I was 20. You get the whole choke of that time when we’re always looking back and comparing everything to. In a sense it’s like a time capsule to me. People ask me if I’m sick of singing the songs already and I’m like no. These are like memories and real things I’ve gone through so they’re kinda like my babies! I’ll never stop holding them!
UrbanBridgez.com: Aww, that’s so sweet! When you first heard “Mmh” featured in the Tyler Perry film, Why Did I Get Married, how did you feel hearing that in the movie?
Laura: First thing I was like oh WOW what a cast! Janet Jackson is my hero and Jill Scott…when I actually saw the scene it was played in it was placed so perfectly! It was so nice to hear my song at a beautiful moment for such a beautiful lady. It was a great film overall so the combination was overwhelming. I’m just so flattered and proud.
UrbanBridgez.com: I tell you what, I have From My Heart to Yours stuck in my head all the time. I listen to it when I get up or before I go to bed. It’s such a sweet song!
Laura: Oh thank you!
UrbanBridgez.com: So what type of advice would you give those who want to break it in the business?
Laura: I would say if you’re young and under 18, I would tell them to take their time. You have to be emotionally, physically, and mentally equipped to handle the challenges. It would definitely benefit them just to live life a little and to work on their craft. What is meant to be will be and if you work hard, things will come your way. People may think it’s crazy and not want to hear it bug they need to and realize what it is they’re chasing. Being in this industry you have to prepare yourself for the downfalls. So I would also say stay focused, stay motivated and definitely live your life a little bit. You’ll be able to bring so much more to your album when you get to record it.
UrbanBridgez.com: That’s so true. While we’re on the subject of albums, tell the people why they should pick up your release.
Laura: There’s a lot of honesty to the album and there’s every color (mood) you can imagine; every emotion of the relationship as well as the beginning to the end…life in general. It’s just a very genuine record – it’s coming from one person to the next. The album’s not forced, contrived, or someone trying to manipulate you to buy the record. I hope it’s someone people pick up and connect with.
UrbanBridgez.com: Cool, so what’s something funny people should know about you?
Laura: I say when I eat I get really giddy! Whenever I have a full meal, I just let it all out. My friends would be like…Laura’s got the giggles! Here we go!
UrbanBridgez.com: As were coming to a close, do you have any last words for your fans?
Laura: Thank you so much to everyone who’s making the single a success. Pick up the album, you won’t be disappointed. I just feel blessed to be able to share my gift with you all.
UrbanBridgez.com: Thank you Laura, it’s been a pleasure speaking with you. I will be sure to tell everyone to pick up the album and I’m going to make sure I get one for myself also!
Laura: Aww…thank you, that’s sweet!
8. Teairra Mari
I remember this interview taking forever to happen. We kept having to postpone and our schedules never seemed to work together. However, Teairra was very pleasant to interview. She was excited about the release of her second album and the success of her single at the time. What most thought about her, I didn’t get from our time on the phone. She really made me pay attention to her after our interview and though this album was never released, I’m glad we at UBG endorsed her. – BryWoo
UrbanBridgez.com: First off congrats on the new single and the video doing so well on World Hip-Hop. How did the collaboration with Pleasure P come about? There was a remix online a few months ago of “Did You Wrong” with you on it and people were feeling it. How did you guys hook back up with “Hunt For You?”
Teairra Mari: Me and P had met through a mutual friend and ever since then we’ve just been friends. We’re cool, we go bowling, we go eat, and he’s like a brother. I hook him up with girls, he gives me guy advice. It was just natural, I was like “Hey I got this hot record” and he jumped on. It was simple.
UrbanBridgez.com: And of course it is a hot record, Rico Love wrote it right?
Teairra Mari: Yeah it was written by Rico Love.
UrbanBridgez.com: Who else did you work with on the album?
Teairra Mari: I’m finishing up with Rico Love & The Runners. I worked with this hot producer named Oak, Tony Dixon from the Underdogs, and that’s pretty much it.
UrbanBridgez.com: That’s what’s up. Sounds like it’s going to be a pretty well rounded album, especially with people like Rico Love and Tony. What makes the new album different from your debut, because even then you had a mature album for such a young age?
Teairra Mari: Well I think that’s what makes it different, the fact that I’ve matured. And I think since I know the business now also. Before I took things more personal and now I’ve learned that it’s business and I’m able to separate. Then I was young and hardheaded and thought I knew everything, but now I’m older. And it’s a good album, it’s an album I’m happy with so I’m really pleased with it.
UrbanBridgez.com: Were you pleased with your debut album or did you feel the music and image was forced?
Teairra Mari: I was pleased with it, but I think the image and the music didn’t connect. They marketed me as this young girl, but the album had a parental advisory sticker on it. So you wanted me to sell to kids, but the album had the sticker on it and what sense does that make?
UrbanBridgez.com: I feel you. I enjoyed the album, but also wondered what audience they wanted you to appeal to. I’m a few years older than you so my crowd could relate, but I remember the younger crowd jamming to it too.
Teairra Mari: Uh Huh [laughs]
UrbanBridgez.com: A lot of people are confused about your sudden departure from Def Jam. You came out with “Make Her Feel Good”, then “No Daddy” and then there was No Teairra, can you shine some light on that situation?
Teairra Mari: Like I said it was business, you know. My album didn’t do what they anticipated so they had to let me go. At first I was a little heartbroken and I spent a lot of time with friends and family, but it was business. I don’t think there was anything funny involved [laughs]
UrbanBridgez.com: And of course there has been talk about a feud with you and Rihanna. Me personally I didn’t really see the problems, but with your release from the label it does bring suspicion. It just makes you wonder, “What really happened to Teairra?”, “Was Rihanna the reason”? Do you all talk or are friends? Do any of the rumors hold any weight?
Teairra Mari: She has her career and I have mine. It was nothing to do with her, nothing at all. We were two separate commodities. She was here and I was me and that’s it.
UrbanBridgez.com: So off of all the Def Jam stuff. We of course know that you have a new album that’s going to be released soon. Have you decided on a title yet?
Teairra Mari: Yeah the new album is called “At That Point” and it will be released in April.
UrbanBridgez.com: Alright, and you mentioned some of the people you worked with. Did you write any of it yourself?
Teairra Mari: Yeah, I co-wrote a lot of it myself. I wanted to really be involved this time around. Even though with Sean Garrett, it was a collaborative effort.
UrbanBridgez.com: What are some of your favorite songs from the new album so far?
Teairra Mari: Oh my God, I love the whole album [laughs], but my favorite is probably this song called Emergency, I love “Holla”, and I love the single. I always loved this single.
UrbanBridgez.com: Is “No, No” going to be on the album?
Teairra Mari: No that’s not going to be on the album, The Movement produced it, but I also did two other songs with them. One called “Independent Stay” and the other is the title track.
UrbanBridgez.com: Who did you enjoy working with the most?
Teairra Mari: Oh God! I can’t say [laughs] I enjoyed working with everyone, but I worked with Rico the most, so that was like home.
UrbanBridgez.com: What are your long term goals with your career?
Teairra Mari: Reach deeper. I want to start a shoe and accessory line. And just be happy!
7. Tye Tribbett
I interviewed Tye during what seemed to be one of several controversial times in his career. He was releasing his album “STAND OUT” and the title came from a pledge he was asking his supporters to take to cut out different things in their lives including “secular” music. As a supporter of his and of secular music I was really looking forward to talking to him about the issues he had especially when he himself had worked with several secular artists not too long before. All in all, this was one of my favorite interviews and Tye was pretty cool. – BryWoo
UrbanBridgez.com: The new project “Stand Out” is out now and upon first listen I loved it, but it is a lot different than the material on the last two projects, what was the motivation behind this album?
Tye: Just growing as a musician, I’ve grown musically. It wasn’t intentional, I’m just growing.
UrbanBridgez.com: On the title track “Stand Out” you say “how you gonna be the praise leader and listen to R&B?”, but yet you’ve worked with artists from several genres. People from Justin Timberlake to Faith Hill to Bubba Sparks; many feel that is a contradiction being you are a praise leader yourself. What would you say to those people?
Tye: Well the keyword is “used to”, God called us out of that and told me that “you’re supporting another ministry” and he called me out on that. I’ll take them to Moses in the Bible instead of my own personal life, God called him out and he’s called me out as well. I understand how people can call it a contradiction, but it would only be a contradiction if I was still doing it and I’m not doing that anymore. Say somebody gets saved then say “listen man ya’ll should smoke and stuff” then someone says “well you used to do it”, but we all used to do something.
UrbanBridgez.com: Are there any artists who you haven’t worked with that you want to work with in the future?
Tye: I would love to work with a converted Busta Rhymes [laughs] if he gets saved. I’ve worked with everyone I’ve wanted to work with, Kirk Franklin, CeCe Winans, John P. Kee, Israel….OH! Toby Mac, I would love to do something with Toby Mac.
UrbanBridgez.com: That would be hot! I can get a feel for Toby on the project now.
Tye: Yeah man, we’ve spoke a lot, but we just haven’t made it happen. I can’t wait for that.
UrbanBridgez.com: Moving back to the new project, I’m sure you love every song, but what are some songs that you really want to “Stand Out”?
Tye: My favorite song on the album is “Chasing After You”, track number 13, it’s kinda like an acoustic type song. I just love it, it’s about just wanting more and I never want to become content, I just want to stay hungry.
UrbanBridgez.com: What inspired “Good In The Hood”?
Tye: Uh Oh, What inspired “Good In The Hood”? [laughs] A lot of stuff man, I was in jail on speeding tickets and I was doing a jail ministry and I saw that there were some good kids, just got caught up in some bad decisions, so that’s what inspired it.
UrbanBridgez.com: And being you’re from the hood and lived on the east coast has influenced, do you think that inspired you musically?
Tye: Oh yeah, it inspired me someway, I’m a product of what I listen to. I listen to a lot of worship music and a few gospel artists also, but yeah the east coast inspired me.
UrbanBridgez.com: Who are some of your musical icons?
Tye: Um, DAVID! In the Bible [laughs] but naw my musican icons are Thaddeus, Torrence, Troy, um you can just say “SOUNDCHECK” my band, I love my band. If I wanna hear new music, I’ll just have band rehearsal. They are my musical icons.
UrbanBridgez.com: As a director and also performer you are very energetic and creative. If you had to name 3 choir directors who style you appreciate, who would they be?
Tye: The craziest choir director I saw was O’landa Draper before he passed, CRAZY! Very animated, but who else Ricky Dillard, um I don’t know, I’ll just do two.
UrbanBridgez.com: Being a preacher, how important do you think it is for artists to have a stable church home, where they serve faithfully?
Tye: I think it’s as important to plugging a light up into a socket. I think our source ultimately is God who is the socket, but the cord is the church.
UrbanBridgez.com: Are you happy about the direction gospel music is going?
Tye: Yeah I see it shifting. I see it less about staging and more about God. I’m happy about where it’s beginning to go.
UrbanBridgez.com: You said you hear new music through your band, but what are the last 3 cds you bought?
Tye: Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuh [sings] Does itunes count? [laughs]
UrbanBridgez.com: Of course!
Tye: The last cd I bought was, “The Fight Of My Life” by Kirk Franklin, Jeremy Camp, I buy so many songs, but I also bought Deitrick Haddon’s last project.
UrbanBridgez.com: What advice do you have for new artists that are trying to break out?
Tye: Why are you an artist?
UrbanBridgez.com: I sing
Tye: What? Congratulations Bryan, you just got signed! [laughs]
UrbanBridgez.com: Don’t play! [laughs]
Tye: But I’ll just say seek the Lord and obey what he is. When people start a group and want to make cds, and they get frustrated at the challenges, but it’s like hold up! Did God ever say it? Did God ever tell you to do what you’re doing? It makes it more easier to go with the “God Said It”, “God told me to start a group”, “God told me to make a cd”, “God told me to try to get on a label”, “God told me to make a myspace page with songs on it”. It’s so much easier when you put the “God said it” before it. I’ll say to all these groups, you go the talent, you got the energy, you got the choreography, but get the “God said it”
UrbanBridgez.com: I’m loving that! So what’s next for you guys, I know you’re working with BET on 106 & Gospel?
Tye: [laughs] Yeah that’s in the works, I don’t even know how solid that is. We’re trying to be seen as well as heard, so expect something. Something’s coming.
UrbanBridgez.com: Do you have any last words for your supporters?
Tye: Thank ya’ll for supporting me! I love ya’ll so much and remember to “Stand Out” no matter what!
What I remember about that interview with Lyfe was feeling like he was a man with a meaning and message. He seemed amped up for the opportunity to discuss what he was thinking and feeling and doing musically. Almost as if he was in his own artistic world. You got the feeling he was in the game for the right reasons, beyond money or chart positions. And I really appreciated that. – Rory
UrbanBridgez.com: Where does that name Lyfe come from?
Lyfe: You know, I talk about life situations, [about] while I was incarcerated, and my name used to be “Music For Lyfe” but they said that was too long, and since I’m talking about life situations they kinda nicknamed me “Lyfe.”
UrbanBridgez.com: How important is it to you to maintain that positive message, to have that substance in your music?
Lyfe: It’s like one of the most important things, it’s the reason for doing it. I think even if you’re walkin, if you don’t have a reason for walkin’ and you don’t have nowhere to go, then you’re just walking around aimlessly. Know what I’m sayin?
UrbanBridgez.com: Definitely. So “Never Never Land” is the new single and that’s picking up steam at radio. You recently premiered the video, was there any situation that you dealt with personally that inspired you to write that song?
Lyfe: You know, “Never Never Land” and a lot of my songs are just wishful thinking songs that give you something to shoot at. I’m going through a situation in my life right now where I’m definitely dating but I definitely have one person in my life that everything is honing in on and it’s just something for me to shoot for, it’s just a remainder that something special that you have can be gone in an instant.
UrbanBridgez.com: Well I think that’s a great message to send out to kids, and I think that’s one of the reasons that you’re a great role model for a lot of kids out there that might be lost or just need some kind of guidance. I think a lot of kids can look to you for that positive reinforcement! You have a new album coming out, tell me about that.
Lyfe: The new album is coming out April 29th, [this] month on the 29th, the 29th of [this] month. The album [has] a lot of features that I didn’t usually do, not a whole bunch, not too many. And the album again is just a journey, man, it’s not as I guess melodramatic as the last two albums were, although you definitely [still] got that classic Lyfe. But it’s also some informative stuff man, some happier stuff man.
UrbanBridgez.com: Definitely, what made you want to work with a lot more different artists this time as opposed to the last couple albums, what made you decide that?
Lyfe: My first two albums, I didn’t really listen to music really at all, cuz I remembered something that Missy had said and I kinda latched on to it that you can’t really be truly creative if you listen to the radio cuz you’re influenced by other things. But I’ve been listening to the radio lately and I’ve found that I like other things. And I think that other things inspire you to take those things and put your own twist on them. So these artists were just part of taking something old and releasing it again as something new.
UrbanBridgez.com: Who have you been listening to lately, who do you like that’s out right now?
Lyfe: Know who I’ve been listenin to lately? I’ve been listening to that Rick Ross… and what’s the album I just bought?… He played a guitar… Old school white guy… oh, I’ve been listening to all his albums. I forget the dude’s name!… Bob Dylan! I been rockin that Bob Dylan!
UrbanBridgez.com: He’s a real old school white guy! That’s like old, old school.
Lyfe: Man, Bob, yo. Bob yo!
UrbanBridgez.com: What was the best part of the recording process for this album?
Lyfe: The best part was just getting in the habit of just wanting to do something different, getting in the habit of getting comfortable working with different producers. Not just with the music, I had been so used to doing everything for myself, cuz in prison you had to do it for yourself. So when you work with guys you tend to have that same self thing on your back, and so when you work with more, you get more comfortable letting another person take the reigns for a while and you can sit back. You know?
UrbanBridgez.com: Definitely, well that’s how you evolve, that’s how you grow as a person and an artist.
Lyfe: Right! Right!
UrbanBridgez.com: So if you had to select three songs on the album for non Lyfe fans to listen to that you feel once they listen to those songs, they’re gonna love the album, they’re gonna know what the album’s about, they’re going to wanna go out and buy the album, what would those songs be and why?
Lyfe; I have a song called “Never Never Land,” because that’s something to shoot for and I think the melody is great. There’s a song called “Will I Ever Fall In Love,” and I think we all go through that at some point, even if we’re in a relationship, we remember those times. And there’s a joint with me and Wyclef on there, it’s called “You Think You Got It Bad,” and it’s about all the things we complain about in life when there’s people in the world that don’t have anything at all even to complain about! So those would be three tracks that I would choose.
UrbanBridgez.com: As a songwriter, I think a lot of people are curious how you go about writing a song, because everybody has their different methodologies, everybody has different ways that they go about song writing. What works the best for you? How do you sit down and write a song?
Lyfe: You know what, lately I really don’t write like that. I just let the song come, and if the melody comes, then I write in pieces, I write it over time. I don’t even put it on paper anymore, I just kinda let the song develop by itself, and I’ve been getting very, very good results. Lyfe; Nah, I don’t worry about it. Because if it’s meant to be in the song- It’s funny because if you let a song develop itself everthing is gonna be in place and every word is gonna be right. So the ones that were wrong are the only words that you’re gonna forget.
UrbanBridgez.com: That is a great point. What is the best song that Lyfe has ever written, in your entire life…Lyfe? What song are you most proud of that you’ve ever written?
Lyfe: There were really two songs I were really proud of. A song called “Hypothetically” and a song called “She Got Kids.” And I think was able to convey the message completely and fully and I don’t think it lacked that one part.
UrbanBridgez.com: Those are classics. Now, you recently had to deal with the death of a friend, LaLa Brown, who we know appeared with you on “S.E.X.”, where were you when you heard about that tragic news and how have you been dealing with the tragic loss of her?
Lyfe: I was in Atlanta. I’ve been dealing with it like anyone deals with a loss, definitely go out and pay my respects to her family and try to help with the ongoing process and try to find the assailants in the case. And definitely try to use that matter to inform other young girls that they definitely have to watch who they are hanging around, cuz a boyfriend situation may come back to haunt you when you don’t have anything to do with it at all.
UrbanBridgez.com: That’s what Lyfe is about! Taking those life experiences and turning them into a positive message, that’s what you do.
Lyfe: Absolutely, I try.
UrbanBridgez.com: So when can Lyfe fans expect to see you out on tour?
Lyfe: We’re going out on tour starting June 1st, we’re doing 40 cities. Last album we went out on tour, and we didn’t really go back out like we did with the first album, like we didn’t go all the way down south in places that people never go and I made a point to do that with my first album because a lot of these places, they don’t even have artists goin through their cities, ya know what I’m sayin?
Lyfe: So with this album right here, we’re gonna re-do that man, we’re gonna go back, I think we’re gonna call it the “Nobody Comes Here Tour.”
UrbanBridgez.com: (laughs) Well I’ll be there!
Lyfe: That’s wassup!
UrbanBridgez.com: What do you do when you’re not working? What do you do to chill?
Lyfe: Usually the majority of my time when I’m not working is with my kids. I’m there with them until they go to sleep, and then I may go out and have a couple of drinks with my partners, but nothing crazy, nothing that’s gonna take me away from the kids more than I already am.
UrbanBridgez.com: How do you deal with that, being away so often? Is that something that you didn’t originally foresee when you first started doing music? Has it gotten more difficult or easier over time?
Lyfe: I definitely didn’t foresee it when I first started because I didn’t have kids when I first started, and it’s definitely getting harder because my boys are really feelin my swagger these days so they really want me to be around. But this tour that I go out on, I’m in the process of planning it now, and they’re coming out with me, because they’re at an age right now where they really need their pops. So we need to make it happen.
UrbanBridgez.com: Any last words for your fans?
Lyfe: Yes, I have an album coming out April 29th, [this] month on the 29th, the 29th of [this] month, I have an album coming out! Write that down!
5. Leela James
Interviewing Leela James was a lot of fun! Leela is a good sport and definitely stuck through some of my tough questioning. It was fun to hear her take on some of the less-talented music artists in the game as well as her response to sex ,being single and pop culture topics. Definitely one of the stand-out artist of our time, Leela shows why she is here and here to stay. – JDot.
UrbanBridgez.com: If you had to use three words to describe yourself what would they be?
Leela James: Black, short and nappy. (Laughing)
UrbanBridgez.com: (Laughing) For your online readers and fans sum up who is Leela James.
Leela James: Leela James is a regular girl from around the way in South Central LA, California that can sang, not sing but sang. She also loves making good ol’ soul music.
UrbanBridgez.com: A Change Is Gonna Come has finally been released. Why has the wait been so long?
Leela James: I know right. You know what, it’s been a long journey, and a long call. I went through a lot. But if you don’t stand for something, you fall for anything. I went through several different changes at the record company which kinda played a part in the album release coming out so late. One minute a staff of people is there and then they get fired and then another staff of people is there and then they get fired. All the politics of the label were going on and I was just caught up in the middle. It really wasn’t anything that had to do with me. I was just signed to a company that kept going through a lot of changes.
UrbanBridgez.com: Talk to me about the different producers that made the album.
Leela James: I worked with Commissioner Gordon, Raphael Sadiq, Kanye West, P Rock, Wycelf Jean, James Cozier and a host of new producers as well.
UrbanBridgez.com: Sounds like you have a star-studded production there.
Leela James: (Laughing) Yeah, I guess I do.
UrbanBridgez.com: How does it feel as a new artist to get a lot of big name producers to work on your album? Doesn’t it give you a great sense of these producers having faith in your material and work?
Leela James: Exactly, they totally did. They believed in me, they understood my vision and supported me. It was destiny for what I was doing at the time which is making music. At the end of the day, these producers want to make good music too and they want to give back and welcome artist that are down to do some things that they are trying to do as well.
UrbanBridgez.com: Is all of your material self-written?
Leela James: Yeah.
UrbanBridgez.com: What’s your most personal song on your album?
Leela James: They all personal, they all like my babes. It’s like I gave birth to like several children at once. They are all personal because they all directly and indirectly come from my life and my story. They’re all personal.
UrbanBridgez.com: What is your greatest fear?
Leela James: I fear God.
UrbanBridgez.com: I hear that. What was your most embarrassing moment if you have one?
Leela James: I don’t know (laughing). I don’t really have any. I’m such a funny person and I have a joking spirit to me. Things that may be embarrassing to other people may not be embarrassing to me. And I’m always clumsy so for me to fall and bump my head is like whatever… I’m very clumsy so it’s not really embarrassing if I do fall or something.
UrbanBridgez.com: What’s your take on the R&B game right now?
Leela James: I think it’s a little one-sided and it can use some balance and some change.
UrbanBridgez.com: Speaking of change, let’s get down to the good stuff. Name three singers you think the R&B game can’t live without right now?
Leela James: I mean I think 3 singers that you can’t live without are Aretha Franklin, Al Green and Gladys Knight. That’s just me though. Those are the types of artists that I’m into.
UrbanBridgez.com: Give me 3 singers that you think should leave the game?
Leela James: (Laughing) You ain’t about to get me to do that, cause it would be more than 3!
UrbanBridgez.com: I know that’s right!
Leela James: I mean, you name them and then I’ll tell you if I agree.
UrbanBridgez.com: Hmmm… Ashanti! (Laughing) I’m sorry…but ya know…
Leela James: (Laughing) I ain’t trippin, don’t apologize to me (Laughing).
UrbanBridgez.com: I mean, I’m just a fan of good music and it’s just that it’s gotten to the point where anybody can get a record deal. And it makes me mad when these artists who are backed by these big labels sell all the records. Then you have the artists who can sing and that put out good material and they don’t go anywhere. I can say that about Tweet. There is no reason why her album is not in the Top 200.
Leela James: Right.
UrbanBridgez.com: And she’s only sold like a lil’ over 100,000 records and it’s sad because her album is really good. I’m not sure if you heard it….
Leela James: Yeah, I’ve heard the album and I thought her first CD was the truth. I think she’s a very talented artist and it is unfortunate. But you know it’s funny because money talks and talent seems not to be able to walk. (Laughing) You know it’s like these kats and their money and their contrived marketing plans of forcing-feeding people down their throats, making people seem like something that they are not. If you have the marketing dollars behind you and people willing to spend it, they can get some of those things that are unattainable by the artist who really have talent.
UrbanBridgez.com: How do you feel about Beyonce?
Leela James: I like Beyonce. I think she’s very talented. I think she’s talented at what it is that she does. She’s a great entertainer and a great girl. I think she’s cool. I’ve never felt like she’s tried to do or be anything other than what she truly is and that’s a great entertainer and artist. You know, it’s a difference between people like that and some other folk that I feel are kinda like forced on us in an attempt to convince people that they are something that they just truly aren’t. I honestly feel that Beyonce is just sincerely talented. You didn’t name your other artist though. You only named one. (Laughing) Who else can leave the game?
UrbanBridgez.com: (Laughing) Hmm…okay. I’m going to give you two more. Amerie.
Leela James: Who?
Leela James: Oh, okay (Laughing).
UrbanBridgez.com: And…umm..let me see who else is garbage… I mean, I like Amerie but Ashanti can definitely go away. Ciara is a great dancer and performer, but umm…I guess we can’t really knock her. I can’t think of any more. I can ask you how you feel about one of my favorite artist though; how do you feel about Brandy?
Leela James: Oh, I forgot about Brandy. It’s funny; Brandy is actually from my neck of the woods. I think Brandy is talented and she do what she does. That was her thing. I like her.
UrbanBridgez.com: What’s the dirtiest deed that you’ve ever done in your life? Something grimy?
Leela James: I probably just had to go upside somebody’s head back in the day.
UrbanBridgez.com: A male or female?
Leela James: A male. Yup, sure did.
UrbanBridgez.com: What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of sex?
Leela James: When I think of what?
Leela James: S-E-X. Oh no you didn’t! (Laughing) I know you didn’t just ask me that. I guess marriage.
UrbanBridgez.com: Do you have any crushes anybody in the industry?
Leela James: No (Laughing)
UrbanBridgez.com: I know this is personal but I’m going to ask you anyway. Is Leela James currently single?
Leela James: Yeah it is personal. (Laughing)
UrbanBridgez.com: Okay, I got all the juicy questions out. Those are gone. During one of your live shows you did a cover of Gwen Stefani’s “Don’t Speak” and you nailed it. Is she somebody that you favor or like in the game? And can we maybe expect a possible collaboration in the future?
Leela James: I would love to work with Gwen. I think she’s very dope yes indeed. I’m a big fan of No Doubt. I think they’re one of the dopest rock bands. I always thought that Gwen was dope. I like people that are sincere and true to themselves. They know what it is that they are doing and they don’t try to be anything other than that. She was very original when she came out just like how Madonna was when she came out. Madonna was very much on the edge and Gwen gives me the same thing. She rocks to her on beat and I think that’s hot just being an individual. I always thought the song was hot even in its rock format. When I first heard it I was just like “this is a dope song.” Just everything about it I liked and I just fooled around with it in the studio and I was like this is how I would do it if I flipped it. I put the season salt on it.
UrbanBridgez.com: Is that song going to be on the album?
Leela James: Yeah.
UrbanBridgez.com: Awwh yeah.
Leela James: You like that?
UrbanBridgez.com: Yeah, I like it. It’s really live. I heard a clip and it’s hot.
Leela James: Thank you.
UrbanBridgez.com: Name three goals that you would like to accomplish when you drop the album.
Leela James: Of course when it comes out I would love for the album like you said to be in the Top 200 with great marketing and stuff. I would like for it to touch the people and I would like for people to really receive it. I also would like for it to be the beginning to a change in the whole R&B game right now. Just like what we’ve been talking about. I think it’s time for some balance and some change and some real singing. Some artistry and real music. I hope it does really well. So you buy several copies and you tell your homeboys and girls to buy like 5 too. And if all ya’ll buy 5 each we can sell a lot of records. We about selling records and trust me, change will come!
UrbanBridgez.com: I got you. Readers, go cop the album! Fan out, go get the album. Okay, I’m going to name several things and I want you to put them in the order that you would like them to be in:
(1)Artist publicity (2) Raw Talent (3) Live Shows (4) Artist Marketing (5) Word of Mouth
Leela James: Well first off all, I think you said raw talent. You definitely need that. I know a lot of people don’t and they get the marketing done behind them but I think it should first and foremost be the talent. Then you need the live shows & word of mouth. Then from there you get the publicity and the marketing.
UrbanBridgez.com: Hate it or Love it?
Leela James: I ain’t gonna front. I love me some Mc Donald’s. I be tryin to eat that everyday. Them dog on French fries get you in trouble every time.
Leela James: I like BET. I can’t say I hate it.
UrbanBridgez.com: Plastic Surgery?
Leela James: Umm, I can’t say I hate that either because some people need it.
UrbanBridgez.com: President Bush?
Leela James: Umm…..I ain’t gonna even lie I ain’t got no feelings towards him.
UrbanBridgez.com: Do you have any last words for your fans?
Leela James: Yes, album in stores now. Please go and cop the album!
4. Kenny Lattimore & Chante’ Moore
Interviewing Kenny & Chante Moore was very special. They are both veterans in the R&B game and the interview that took place was real, authentic and honest. It didn’t feel like they had “robotic” answers for each question and I appreciated that. On top of that, they were both very funny and hilarious. – JDot.
UrbanBridgez.com: Talk to me about the new record and why your new and old fans should go out and pick up the album?
Chante: Because I said so! (Laughing)
Kenny: (Laughing) We did ‘Uncovered,’ which is the cd with the love songs. We wanted to make sure that we came back and gave people what we normally would give them. But at the same time the Lord time really opened the door for us to do the gospel covers portion of the double-cd. The label came to us (Max Seagel) and it was really their brainchild for us to do it. Personally, I was a little apprehensive about packaging them together. But I really have come to see how they actually fit. Packaged together they actually represent more of our lives because we are who we are 24/7. We’re married and very much in love and have our relationship. It’s filled with lots of wonderful things but as well we have our relationship with the Lord and he never gets put on the shelf. Nor do we put ourselves on the shelf to front for some relationship with him. It all becomes one in reflecting exactly who we are. It feels very liberating because when we go on stage now we’re hoping that with our new audience and with our old fans coming and listening to much of the gospel that we’ve done, that it allows us to just speak freely about our lives. We don’t have to go into our concerts trying to be too sexy or too one-dimensional when reflecting an album. Now we can just talk about who we really are.
UrbanBridgez.com: Who’s idea was it to cover Sade’s ‘Ordinary Love’ and why, because you guys sounds great on that track.
Chante: We don’t remember (laughing). He thinks it was me. I’m not sure.
Kenny: It was Chante and Michael Malden our manager.
Chante: But, I love Sade. I love her. She’s awesome. We were a little fearful of doing it. But what made it more interesting is, I don’t think I would have attacked it alone. What made it more different and safer is because we’re speaking about our love and it not being ordinary. The fact that we think it’s about ourselves and that there is an ordinary love that God has given us. Yeah, it’s a good song. But no, I wouldn’t sing it alone. Also, with the other songs on the cd like ‘Love Ballad,’ it also has the same concept where it’s about people not being able to really see what we see or know what we know. They don’t know what we know, that’s what I’m trying to say (Laughing). But yeah, both songs value our love in a special way.
UrbanBridgez.com: ‘Figure it out’ is a great single. Will there be a video for the single?
Chante: Not right now.
Chante: This industry has changed quite a bit. Right now, no. Call management and our record company and give them the idea.
Kenny: If the fans demand the song on the radio and help garner spins, it may get the attention of our label. That may help demand a video. Were in a day in age where, well it happened about maybe eight years ago with the shift. The industry just took this shift and attitude about what they consider adult music and a lot of times the record industry wants to make fast dollars instead of making careers and understanding that there’s money out there to be spent by adults, especially by adults. We have more expendable incomes than our kids and we give money to our kids. And we still go out and we spend much more money because we’re going to see the concerts and to eat out at dinner and play that music again. But somehow the industry has disconnected from the adult community because the records aren’t bought as fast, and as a result they don’t think that they know how to market to adults. I don’t think that’s true, I think it’s the effort that doesn’t really go out; the dollars are not really spent. We have a BET J now that’s gives us an outlet and a reason to make a video now. What our record company did do with us (which we’re really grateful for) is that they partnered up with BET J to do a special and to run the commercials there.
Chante: They’ll be some live footage that we’ve already done and more to come. There will be something. You’ll see it eventually.
UrbanBridgez.com: Just speaking about the how the industry has changed and how difficult things have become, I think back to my Mom and Dad and how in their day they were huge supporters of music artists. It’s weird because they still have money and they still have certain artists that they will go out and buy a record for; so how frustrating is it that the adult, contemporary R&B music for the black community is not being tapped into like it should be?
Kenny: We thank God that we are considered viable enough to make the records. We really do hope that people go out and support this record, not that it’s putting so much money in our pockets or anything like that. It really helps the community at large. It helps when Kim comes out and goes Gold in a couple of weeks. Or when India Arie does 150,000 plus the first week. It let’s people know that the audience is there. Hopefully, we will have similar support at retail and all the signs that are needed for the world to support on another level.
UrbanBridgez.com: Still speaking about the industry, how do you guys balance yourselves as far as being two celebrities in your own rights in this business? We’ve seen time after time, all the celebrities that get married break up at some point. How are you guys balancing being in the spotlight and dealing with people trying to tear your apart?
Chante: We don’t have that lifestyle with people trying to tear us apart. If they try to tear us apart they will be exiting my presence. People can talk about you all day long but that doesn’t change your life from day to day. It’s about us. It’s about our everyday life and what energy we put into our relationship. It’s about the prayer that we have inside that says you know, I’m going to sacrifice whatever it takes to make this relationship work. We’re committed to one another and really they can’t penetrate what we don’t let them penetrate. It really isn’t a worry as far as that’s concerned. The problem is sometimes we as people don’t put the energy or the time into one another. We work so hard to make money or to do the things that we want to do in life but we don’t put that same energy, concentration and focus on our relationships and on ourselves in that relationship. You can’t look at somebody else to make you happy. That’s the thing is that people don’t always look at relationships in that way. But they do fail and it’s not something that they mean to do. Certainly we are attacked more by the enemy within ourselves sometimes more than other people coming into our relationship.
Kenny: It’s Hollywood too I think that’s the cause of relationships gone bad. I think that the foundations of a lot of relationships are just wrong from the beginning. They are based on things that are nothing about a relationship. It’s based on, “I can make a lot of money with this person. And I can get more publicity, etc.”
Chante: For some people it’s not about really becoming attracted to one another. They say, “I’m hot, you’re hot and then they wanna do it and then get married.” But that’s not why you marry somebody. Sometimes it gets confusing because this business doesn’t promote the real essence of what love is. We’re so stuck on sex all the time that we don’t see what a relationship is really about. But we thank God that we found each other because we have the same sense of how we want a relationship and how we want to live and grow old together. There’s a lot of people I could have dated but they weren’t gonna go to Bible class with me on Wednesday and Sunday morning service and be a father to my daughter and really be a leader in the household spiritually, to be able to handle me and to be able to keep me happy in another sense when I know that they are gonna be there always. To be supportive and be a man of integrity. You get what you look for.
Kenny: I think it’s hard for celebrities too because sometimes it’s like, who do we date? A lot of times we gravitate to one another because you go in and you get a psycho fan that’s a stalker or something. That’s a reality in Hollywood. I think that’s what makes celebrities draw to one another.
Chante: Sometimes it’s the success that will draw you to people. It can be a very intoxicating thing to meet somebody that has money falling out of their pockets and can just point and that’s what they can get if they want it. That can be a little blinding if you can’t really see who that person really is. You think the money is going to make you happy but usually the money is the last thing you’re thinking about when they are on your nerves.
Kenny: Sorry, because we are going on and on with this.
(Josiah & Chante laughing)
Kenny: Let’s try and do at least one more question. We’ve got a bunch of interviews left.
Chante: Do you have any more questions? (Laughing)
UrbanBridgez.com: Yes, let me see if I can squeeze in a couple more. Do you guys plan on working with Brian Michael Cox again in the future?
Kenny: We definitely enjoyed working with him and definitely plan on working with him again in the future.
UrbanBridgez.com: Do the two of you plan on having any more children?
Chante: We have one that’s already three. We beat ya. My daughter is ten and our son is three. We did that already. No more though.
UrbanBridgez.com: No more?
Chante: No, no, no now (laughing).
UrbanBridgez.com: Speaking of your marriage and relationship, have you ever considered doing a reality television program?
Chante: No, no, no. Talking about keeping your relationship together, keep folks out of it! Nobody is coming to my house ever.
UrbanBridgez.com: Besides music are there any other upcoming projects that your fans can look forward to?
Chante: Nope, just singing (laughing).
Kenny: The fans can check back at www.myspace.com/kennyandchante or www.kennyandchante.com. We are going to post up tour dates and all the new stuff that is coming up. We’re going to have all this available online.
Talking with Brandy was so much fun because it didn’t feel like an interview. It felt the way it feels when you bump into someone at your friend’s house party and you get to talking and really have a great chemistry. It really became less of an interview and more of a conversation. For that reason, I think she was much more candid and comfortable. I still love the moment when I made her admit that she was singing “Have You Ever” about me. She was game to be silly, and I dig that. I still wanna hang out with her, I think we’d have fun. – Rory
UrbanBridgez.com: Are you tired? I feel like I’d be exhausted if I were you, you sound like you have quite an action-packed promotional schedule going on.
Brandy: I do, I’m tired, but you know what? It’s a good tired. I’m putting in a lot of work for something that’s positive.
UrbanBridgez.com: The album comes on Tuesday, it’s called “Human.” How does this album compare to your past records and what makes it different, would you say?
Brandy: Um, well all of my albums are from the heart, all of my albums are passionate and I feel like the songs I’ve done in the past have been quality and relatable and this album is the same way. The difference I feel is that I’m a different person, I’ve evolved and my music has evolved with me and so the topic matters are a little different. They’re about self and being a better me and things like that. So they’re a little more inspirational and message driven than my old stuff.
UrbanBridgez.com: Well you know speaking of your old stuff, can you believe its almost been 15 years since you recorded your first album. What does that feel like?
Brandy: It doesn’t feel like 15 years, that’s the strange thing!
UrbanBridgez.com: I know, it feels like yesterday that you came out.
Brandy: That’s how I feel as well (laughs). But it has been 15 years (laughs) and that’s a long time. But it feels good to be back doing music again and it feels good to have the hunger the same way I had it when I first came out. This album feels like my first album. “Human” feels like my first album.
UrbanBridgez.com: You were talking about songs being message-driven and inspirational, Right Here (Departed), the first single, is such an emotional song. You sing that song with such conviction and the vocal performance is so soulful and it’s touched and inspired so many people. Why do you think that song is so powerful?
Brandy: I think because people understand that everybody needs somebody at the end of the day. It just feels good to have people that you can depend on and just the lyric itself “I’ll be right here with you, You’ll be right here with me,” everybody has that person in their life. And I definitely connected to it when I first heard it. I was like “Oh my God this sounds like something that I actually sat down and wrote myself. So I just love singing that song and I love performing it live too, that’s a lot of fun
UrbanBridgez.com: You sound great singing it live too. I saw you on the Today Show and you sound great!
Brandy: Oh thank you so much!
UrbanBridgez.com: Now speaking of how you sound, everybody knows you have the craziest vocal runs and that beautiful texture in your voice that has inspired so many vocalists, myself included. How do you come up with those runs? What’s your process in recording?
Brandy: I just hear crazy things in my head and just go with it. I’ve been hearing different melodies and different things in my head since I was a kid and my dad used to have this 4-track and I would just always record on it and put it down. So I started very young doing that and I do the same thing in the studio to this day. I just do it and even if I mess up. It’s interesting because even when I mess up in the studio, that’s when something good is born. I always mess up in the studio (laughs).
UrbanBridgez.com: I always feel like it takes a vocalist to fully appreciate vocals, and when I first heard “Right Here,” you could just tell Brandy is back and she means business like you are not messin around when you are singin that song.
Brandy: Thank you! I really got a chance to really let go on that song and really challenge myself because that song is pretty high in range and you know I like my lows (laughs). I like to sing low. So I definitely challenged myself to sing a little bit high.
UrbanBridgez.com: So I loved the Afrodisiac album personally. I loved songs like “I Tried” and “Who Is She 2 U” and songs like “Nothing” from the Full Moon album. What are Brandy’s favorite Brandy songs? Like top 4 or 5?
Brandy: Top 4 or 5? Hmm, I gotta get these answers together (laughs) like… I don’t even know. Let me see! One of my favorite songs would have to be “Almost Doesn’t Count.” I love that song. I love “Nothing,” too, as well. I also love “When You Touch Me” off of the Full Moon album. And then some other songs that I’ve done that have never been released. Like a song called “Sweet Nothings” I love. It’s been all over the internet but it’s never been on an album. And I love a song called “Open” I did on the Osmosis Jones Soundtrack.
UrbanBridgez.com: Yeah I feel like there are a lot of those songs that weren’t released that absolutely should have been released that people don’t really know about they’re like the hidden Brandy songs and once you discover one it’s like a hidden gem.
Brandy: Yeah thank you!
UrbanBridgez.com: My favorite Brandy video is “What About Us?” because that was when new, adult, sexy Brandy was unleashed. What is your favorite Brandy video you’ve done?
Brandy: My favorite video right now is “Long Distance,” the new one I did for the new album, the second single off of “Human.” That’s my favorite video at the moment.
UrbanBridgez.com: I love that song, that’s a beautiful song. And I really liked how the video transitions from black and white to color, that’s a beautiful video.
Brandy: Thank you very much! I love “Sittin Up In My Room” too. That’s another one of my favorites.
UrbanBridgez.com: Aries (UrbanBridgez.com) tells me your mom Sonja is very spiritual and gives good advice. What is the biggest lesson your mom has taught you through your life and career that sticks with you?
Brandy: To stay true to myself. And not watch anybody else. Because if you watch someone else it takes the focus off of you.
UrbanBridgez.com: Now your daughter is six now, correct?
UrbanBridgez.com: Has she seen Madagascar 2 yet?
Brandy: Yes she has!
UrbanBridgez.com: Did you see it?
Brandy: She saw it without me! That’s the movie I wanted to see with her and she said “I just can’t wait for you to get back Mommy, who knows when you’re coming back home”
UrbanBridgez.com: Awww! Well I was gonna tell you she needs to see it if she hasn’t but clearly she’s on top of things and already saw it. Because I thought it was hilarious, and now you’re gonna need to see it.
Brandy: Yes, well we saw “High School Musical 3” together so.. I was good with that.
UrbanBridgez.com: (Laughs) And how did you feel about High School Musical 3, Brandy?
Brandy: I loved High School Musical 3! I love all the High School Musicals! I am in love with Zac Efron he is So cute!
UrbanBridgez.com: (Laughs) Really!? Well it’s interesting that you say that because I heard a recent interview where you revealed… tell me if this is true or not… you said you have a girl crush on Jennifer Lopez.
Brandy: I said that?!
UrbanBridgez.com: Do you have a bit of a girl crush on J.Lo?
Brandy: I love J.Lo, I can’t even lie! I love J.Lo to death. I’m obsessed with Beyonce too.
UrbanBridgez.com: Well see, okay Beyonce I understand Brandy. But J.Lo? When I heard that I was like I don’t know how I feel about Brandy’s taste in women…
Brandy: No no no! I love, Are you kidding me?
UrbanBridgez.com: No, see here’s how I feel Brandy. I’m attracted to women who can really… and this isn’t to discredit Jennifer Lopez at all… but I’m attracted to women who can really sing! Do you know? When you hear that passion, that’s a turn on! So people like Mariah Carey and “Brandy” and Toni Braxton, those I feel are attractive women. Beyonce as well. But J. Lo… hmmm. I don’t know about that.
Brandy: See, I like J.Lo’s voice and I like her song choices and I love the way she dances. She’s very pretty and she can act! She has a lot going on there man!
UrbanBridgez.com: Alright well, fine agree to disagree. But speaking of which, I have a confession to make and that is this. I have had a crush on you since I was 10 years old and I’m 20 now, and some how you’ve managed to become even more attractive over time, I don’t know how that happened…
UrbanBridgez.com: So if you are dating a guy, let’s say we’re on a hypothetical date. What is Brandy’s ideal evening out?
Brandy: Well I’m a simple girl so if we’re just going anywhere just to have a good time and to just laugh and to get to know each other that’s it for me I don’t need much. I just wanna be able to talk to somebody about anything and just laugh.
UrbanBridgez.com: But now are you one of those girls that says that but really wants a very extravagant time? Like you say you want simple, but do you really want simple?
Brandy: I really want simple, man.
UrbanBridgez.com: I believe you.
Brandy: It’s a the simple things that count.
UrbanBridgez.com: So my next question is this, and it’s a very serious question. So don’t get too overwhelmed. It’s deep. “Have you ever loved somebody so much it makes you cry?”
UrbanBridgez.com: You have? Was it recently.
Brandy: Was it recently? No it wasn’t recently but I have.
UrbanBridgez.com: Was it me?
Brandy: It was you, Rory!
UrbanBridgez.com: Oh it WAS me? See that’s all I needed. I’m easy to please. But speaking of going out, what do you order to drink. What’s Brandy’s go to drink at the bar of the restaurant?
Brandy: Now are little girls gonna be reading this, because I don’t want nobody to think I’m an alcoholic…
UrbanBridgez.com: No! I don’t think anyone thinks you’re an alcoholic Brandy! But everyone has a drink when they go out.
Brandy: No but when I tell you the drink that I like, you’re gonna be like “oh that is strong!”
UrbanBridgez.com: Is it a tequila shot?
Brandy: (Laughs) No, it’s not! If I go out and just have the feeling of wanting to have a drink it would have to be a Long Island. You know, the Long Island, they put all (stresses all) the different alcohols in the Long Island.
UrbanBridgez.com: Brandy that’s not that bad. I thought you were gonna tell me that you were like doing body shots at a bar and doing crazy stuff, that’s not that bad.
Brandy: That’s too hard! But one Long Island is good for me, and if I’m not feeling that type of drink, I have a glass of wine.
UrbanBridgez.com: Well you know what Brandy, it’s too bad that you live on the other side of the country because I feel like we would have a good time together, but unfortunately, the LONG DISTANCE IS KILLIN US!
UrbanBridgez.com: How did the new single “Long Distance” come about?
Brandy: Well of course my A&R Brandon Creed found it and Phillip Lawrence and Bruno Mars wrote the song and I fell in love with it when I heard it I was like “Oh my God so many people can relate to this! This is big!” It was all beautiful and Rodney came in and did his thing on it and it became a good song.
UrbanBridgez.com: It didn’t become a good song, Brandy, it became a GREAT song.
Brandy: (laughs) Thank you!
UrbanBridgez.com: Don’t sell yourself short! I feel like you’re too humble sometimes. It’s okay to say “I have a DAMN good song on the radio right now!”
UrbanBridgez.com: Alright, my last question is this. What is your relationship with Whitney like now? Do you still talk? Because I know at one time you were very close.
Brandy: We talk every now and then, yes we do.
UrbanBridgez.com: Alright then, well Brandy good luck with everything, I feel like you’re about to have a big couple of months coming up. Of course the album comes out Tuesday, I know I’m buying like 5 copies at least for myself.
Brandy: Thank you so much Rory.
2. Michelle Williams
This interview with Michelle couldn’t have been better timing. It took place right after Destiny’s Child did their reunion tour. It was nice to hear her honest thoughts on the group, their success and what her next moves were going to be. With Michelle, what you see is what you get. There is no “fake” or “phoniness” here. She’s 100% real, 100% of the time and that’s definitely warranted. – JDot.
UrbanBridgez.com: How did you get involved with the soundtrack to ‘Roll Bounce?’
Michelle Williams: I got involved with the ‘Roll Bounce’ Soundtrack because it’s on Sanctuary Records, my manager’s label and it was just easy. It’s his label and I’m on the label and it’s cool to be on the record with some of my label mates like Ray J, Beyonce, etc.
UrbanBridgez.com: How does it feel to be apart of an all-star soundtrack?
Michelle Williams: I was actually surprised when he (Matthew Knowles) said they were going to put ‘Let’s Stay Together’ on there because that particular song was actually intended for the Gap campaign that I did. But it’s all good, it’s all good.
UrbanBridgez.com: Have you seen the film ‘Roll Bounce’ and if so what do you think about it?
Michelle Williams: I have not seen the movie because the day it premiered in L.A., I was in New York. So, I couldn’t make it but the movie comes out tomorrow!
UrbanBridgez.com: How was it putting your spin on the Al Green classic, ‘Let’s Stay Together’?
Michelle Williams: It was great! I wanna talk to him and I hope he likes it. I didn’t do nothing extra on it, I stayed cool with it. Jazzy Pha produced the track so I love that soulful music. I could sing that all day long.
UrbanBridgez.com: Do you plan on shooting a video for the song?
Michelle Williams: You know what, I would love to. I would love to.
UrbanBridgez.com: I think that it would be hot to see you and Al Green in the video!
Michelle Williams: THANK YOU! You know what, that’s what I’ve been saying.
UrbanBridgez.com: Well, hopefully someone at the label will read this interview and take a clue.
Michelle Williams: Yep! I hope so.
UrbanBridgez.com: Do you plan on doing any more acting (Broadway, touring stage plays, TV/Film)?
Michelle Williams: Oh gosh, yes. I would love to do some more Broadway. I auditioned for a Broadway musical a few days ago in New York. And then I have some other movie scripts that I’ve been reading. So I think that as long as I keep God first, I believe that the sky is the limit for what it is that I can do.
UrbanBridgez.com: Recently, Destiny’s Child received an award at the World Music Awards for being the ‘World’s Best-Selling Female Group of All-Time.’ Tuesday night on ‘R U the Girl’ with T-Boz & Chilli, they were introduced as the world’s best-selling female group of all-time. Do you care to comment on this?
Michelle Williams: No, I don’t. We grew up listening to TLC but as far as that I have no comments on that. I just know that we got the award a few weeks ago, so I don’t know how they do there calculations or how they tally them. A lot of people can say the Dixie Chicks are the number one selling group or the Supremes. I dunno, we are all in this together. We’re all up there, it don’t matter to me if your number one or number two; I know my girls and I are up there. Destiny’s Child doesn’t get into all that foolishness. Life is definitely too short.
UrbanBridgez.com: And that’s the media for you. They always want to create some type of competition.
Michelle Williams: They do and that’s their job.
UrbanBridgez.com: Talk to me about the upcoming ‘Greatest Hits’ Album due next month.
Michelle Williams: Wow! It’s going to be incredible. I was looking at the song list the other day. It’s like wow, that’s a lot going on there because we’ve got three new songs that we recorded. One stand out song is called ‘Stand Up For Love.’
UrbanBridgez.com: Definitely. I heard the song on AOL First Listen, it’s definitely hot.
Michelle Williams: That song is incredible! It came out beautifully. We put our heart into that song because those words are just so emotional. It makes it hard to sing that song due to what happened down South in Louisiana and Mississippi. Actually we need to say a prayer for them again because of this hurricane…
Michelle Williams: Rita & Katrina, they upset at somebody.
UrbanBridgez.com: Yeah, they really are! I just hope they leave us alone.
Michelle Williams: I know, I hope so.
UrbanBridgez.com: You are really blowing on “Stand Up For Love.” Have you guys shot a video yet for it?
Michelle Williams: Thank You. Yes, we did shoot a video with Matthew Rolsen.
UrbanBridgez.com: Is there a certain concept to the video?
Michelle Williams: The concept is pretty much simple. There’s nothing high-tech about it. There is a little bit too it, but as far as the way we dressed and did our hair, it’s very simple. There’s no crystals, diamonds no nothing. A matter of fact I don’t even think we have on any jewelry in this video (Laughing).
UrbanBridgez.com: You really did your thing on the DC Fulfilled and Loving It Tour. Fans were more receptive to you on the tour than they have been in the past. Were you expecting such overwhelming support?
Michelle Williams: Umm, you know what. I think it’s because this time I really came out of my shell. I’ve been out of my shell but somehow I just burst out and said you know what, I’m going to give it all I have. I’m used to this industry now. I know when I first came in I was a lil’ different. When around the girls they knew how crazy I was, I was so protective of them because of what had happened to them. So when I would be in interviews or just around people I would be mean muggin’ them and just like “don’t even ask me any questions.” But then I was like okay Michelle, you have to get over that and just be Michelle, be that Michelle that my Moms and them know.
UrbanBridgez.com: What will Michelle be up to after DC officially splits?
Michelle Williams: Umm, wow. I’m definitely gonna rest. Career-wise, I’ve got businesses that I want to open. I’ve got some music that I want to do. I love all types of music. I want to do a Soul record for my next album. I want to get married and have some little kids one day. One day, not soon but one day.
UrbanBridgez.com: It’s interesting that you want to do a soul album, because a lot of people from the fan forums wanted to know whether or not you are going to record a soul album.
Michelle Williams: Thank you so much. That’s good to know.
UrbanBridgez.com: It is said that you are the one in the group with the biggest sense of humor. Any possibility of Michelle starring in her own show, like a sitcom?
Michelle Williams: Definitely. Definitely, one day. It’s got to be right though.
UrbanBridgez.com: Did you ever think in a million years that you would be apart of a mega-successful group?
Michelle Williams: Never and I can say never. I never thought this. It’s a dream come true.
UrbanBridgez.com: What does Michelle Williams do on a typical day “off?”
Michelle Williams: On a typical day off, I’m usually asleep till about 3:00 in the afternoon. I sleep my life away.
UrbanBridgez.com: What keeps you motivated?
Michelle Williams: Definitely not listening to negative people or I even have to sometimes turn off the radio. If hear the name Destiny’s Child and then hear what they are about to go into I’ll turn it off immediately. There are also certain magazines that I can’t even read now because they are so disrespectful. I know they have to do what they have to do to sell a magazine, but I’m just not one of the buyers.
UrbanBridgez.com: When you had your infamous fall on 106th and Park earlier this year, what where your thoughts when you felt yourself going down?
Michelle Williams: It just happened. There are so many artists that fall. A lot of them usually don’t fall on live TV. I’ve seen many of artists fall, and they just get right back up, that’s just professionalism. Unfortunately my heel got caught in the loop of my cargo pants. So, there was nothing that I could do but go down. But it was okay!
Michelle Williams: Let’s see. I would love to work with Jill Scott. I love all types of music so if I throw out names like Sting, don’t get mad. I think Sting is hot. John Legend I would love to work with one day. I would also love to see what me and Fantasia would do. That’s about it.
UrbanBridgez.com: You used to sing with the group “United Harmony.” Do you plan on recording any music with them in the near future?
Michelle Williams: You know what everybody has kinda split up. One is preparing to be a doctor. Another is married and has a baby. I don’t know. I speak to them from time to time. I don’t know how serious everybody is about it. You’ve got to be serious about wanting to be an artist. If you want to do other things with your career that’s cool, but when you want to record and be artist, it takes some sacrifice.
UrbanBridgez.com: What’s in your CD player right now, or your Ipod?
Michelle Williams: In my Ipod I got everything! Al Green, Jonathan Butler, some Boyz II Men. I got some Jay-Z, Ciara and a lot of gospel. In my CD Changer I have this young quartet called the Soul Seekers. I got Darinda Clarke Cole in there. My album is in there. Syleena Johnson, Charlie Wilson and Yolanda Adams.
UrbanBridgez.com: What is the difference for you in singing solo versus with DC3?
Michelle Williams: Singing solo is just more of me I guess. I’m up for different type of music. I can feel it.
UrbanBridgez.com: What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned since you’ve gotten into the music industry?
Michelle Williams: Not to take anything personally. Business is evil. This music business is crazy, but you know what the thing is, being of a certain genre, I just thought that an artist could just be a artist. But you’ve got some labels and people that tell you that you have to do this and do that. If you’re a size 8 you have to get down to a size 4. You have to dance even if you don’t dance. I’m so sick of seeing folks dancing that don’t dance, just let these people sing! Ya know what I’m sayin.
UrbanBridgez.com: Is there ever a time where you just want to give up being a celebrity due to the pressures and rumors that are always?
Michelle Williams: Definitely, but you can’t be a punk. I would have got talked about if I was a doctor, a lawyer or a teacher. Folks are always going to have something to say about you.
UrbanBridgez.com: Are you dating anyone? If not, what do u look for in a man?
Michelle Williams: No I’m not dating anyone. I look for a guy who takes care of himself. A guy who loves God and who definitely has a sense of humor. Someone who’s focused. There’s nothing like a focused man. I want him to be focused but also still able to pay attention to me.
UrbanBridgez.com: Has it been difficult to maintain your Christian values and your integrity since you began singing secular music?
Michelle Williams: No, it hasn’t been difficult at all. You just have to make that choice to do right.
UrbanBridgez.com: Now that Destiny’s Child is over, have you ever considered joining a different singing group?
Michelle Williams: No sir, no! Destiny’s Child is the only group for me!
UrbanBridgez.com: Any last words for your fans?
Michelle Williams: I would just like to thank everyone for there love and support. Love You!
1. Teena Marie
There have been so many artists I’ve seen in my lifetime but no one like Teena Marie. She was the ambitious girl who wanted it all while working hard just to be heard. This is where our connection lies. I had a chance to interview Teena Marie in May 2006, 9 months after the shocking loss of her friend and mentor Rick James. Teena was putting her life back in order and promoting her then new album, Sapphire. She opened up about how Rick James inspired her songs, being given a lifetime ghetto pass, what black music means to her, her daughter (Alia Rose) and working with legendary Motown artist Smokey Robinson.
Teena was one of the most down to earth women I ever spoke to. Her picking up the pieces after tragedy was an inspiration to me and it furthered my appreciation for her not only as an artist, but a human being. – Dhaani (CJ)
UrbanBridgez.com: Tell your fans about Sapphire and what you want them to get out of the project.
Teena Marie: I think they’re really going to be able to feel the Rick [James] and Teena influence; Um, it felt like he was writing some of the songs with me; I was really in a lot of pain when he passed and I’m just so thankful that I have that outlet and God gave that gift to go into myself and write my way out of my pain. It helped a lot and there were a lot of times I felt like he [Rick] was right there beside me writing with me and I think the fans will be able to hear of lot of that in some of the songs.
UrbanBridgez.com: What was the hardest part recording Sapphire?
Teena Marie: Probably that; losing him and just having to keep on pressing on and just stay true to myself as an artist. Yeah, I would think that would be it; just keep going and going not feeding into the pain and how I was feeling about him being gone.
UrbanBridgez.com: You worked with a lot of different artists for this album, how did you choose the collaborations?
Teena Marie: Well I chose Smokey [Robinson] because he’s my idol. I grew up listening to him and I pan my songwriting career after him. I studied his songs and he’s such a great love poet that it’s what I really wanted to do with my music as well. I wanted to touch people and make them feel love and to me Smokey was just that for me. We’ve known each other for years and this was the first time we actually got to go in the studio together and work, it was amazing! I was a little intimidated because I was producing the record but he’s just so wonderful, so gracious, and such a brilliant man. I played him the song one time and he smiled; I was like you want me to play it again, you want me to play it on the guitar, he was like “no I got it”. He did and it was amazing; because of his influence in my career I wonder why we didn’t sing together a long time ago because our voices really compliment each other. Have you heard the track yet?
UrbanBridgez.com: Gosh, that sounds so amazin’.
Teena Marie: Have you heard the track yet?
UrbanBridgez.com: I have heard the song with Smokey Robinson and my dad at first listen was overjoyed with it.
Teena Marie: So you did hear it, oh good! Well that’s awesome but I guess you can see what I’m saying?
UrbanBridgez.com: Oh yes!
Teena Marie: First we did Cruise Control and then we did What God Has Created; he was getting ready to leave and I was like “no, no, no, you can’t leave yet!” There’s a little piece attached to this at the beginning of the album, it’s like a prayer and I told him he had to hear it. When he heard it, he looked up at me and grinned. He was like “yeah, this is me right here!” So it thrilled me and it was really nice. I also got to work with Kurupt from the Dogg Pound, who’s a really good friend of mine. I have younger people around me who call me “Mama Tina” so um I called him up and asked him to come over and he did right away. I actually wrote the rap myself and he liked it so much and he said he didn’t want to change it. What I did was I sung while he spoke it. My daughter sang with me on the last cut on the album Resilient (Sapphire) that was written for Hurricane Katrina and that was wonderful. It felt so good having the ability to sing in harmony with my daughter, know what I’m saying?
UrbanBridgez.com: Yeah, she sounds so beautiful.
Teena Marie: Whether or not she chooses to do this as a career it doesn’t even matter to me it’s just being able to go in the studio to sing harmony with your child it’s really an amazing joy that I can’t even explain. She did most of the backgrounds with me on the entire album, so that’s pretty awesome because I have a little mini me. When we sing parts together you really can’t tell us apart kind of like how emotions were. When you hear that family harmony it’s just a blend that you can’t really get anywhere else. I have that with my best friend Mickey, who sounds like my sister when we sing together. So it’s wonderful and my little sister Jill also. I also have Lady Levi, who’s done a lot of stuff with Dr. Dre did the reggae cut with me, Simmer Down. She always brings a real exciting thing to what we do. It’s like a family thing.
UrbanBridgez.com: As a songwriter, what inspires you to write? Does something have to happen to you to be in the mood to write a song, how do you normally do it?
Teena Marie: Songs are sent to me, you know. Sometimes there are no songs at all and when that happens I don’t try to force it. Sometimes a wave of inspiration just comes through and I write for a week or two. Then it goes away, when it goes I just let it go. I used to force it when I was younger but then I came to realize early on that it was divine. So I just wait until the time comes.
UrbanBridgez.com: Now if you could do another duet on your next album per se, would you work with a female great or someone from the younger generation?
Teena Marie: I would love to. I tried to put something together on the last record. A demo singer Dee O’Neal came in and she sang the song so tough that it was like I’m leaving her on here. She really, really brought it on the song from the last album called, I Love Him Too. But yeah, there are a few people I wouldn’t mind working with. Mary and I have talked about doing some stuff together before; Faith Evans, who just has a beautiful beautiful voice and you know… I love Alicia Keys and Keyshia Cole, but I don’t know how we would sound together because her voice is rawer than mine.
UrbanBridgez.com: Yeah, and I think the music industry, especially the R&B ladies, I think a lot of them need to have a sense of togetherness. Saying “Hey, I got your back.”
Teena Marie: Oh I do too. I agree with you!
UrbanBridgez.com: Because it’s so much pitting artist against each other and I’m like for what, there’s room for everybody.
Teena Marie: It’s so true and I’ve always said that. We should be more supportive of each other.
UrbanBridgez.com: So what’s the next single going to be on Sapphire?
Teena Marie: I don’t know because the record just came out last week (May 9th); but it looks like “Ooh Wee” still has some longevity going on and that’s what’s great about AC radio because tracks last longer than mainstream. I’m not sure but I think radio might choose the next one, the record is out now. We’ll probably see or hear what people think, but so far I’ve been hearing a lot about Cruise Control. I wouldn’t mind having a record with my guy [Smokey] that I love so much.
UrbanBridgez.com: Do you have a favorite song by a popular artist out now?
Teena Marie: Um, my favorite song right now probably is Love, by Keyshia Cole. Yeah, that’s probably my favorite song. The other one is an up-tempo by Christina Milian.
UrbanBridgez.com: Say I?
Teena Marie: Yeah, Say I.
UrbanBridgez.com: Since June is Black Music Month, what has Soul and R&B music meant to you throughout your career?
Teena Marie: It’s been my whole life. I remember being told a story about taking me to church when I was two years old attending a Catholic church and the priest was chanting in Latin (chants in Latin). I jumped up and sang “Day….Daaaay O! Daylight come and me want to go home!” That’s pretty amazing for a two year old singing about a black man tallying up some bananas in the islands. To me, that just says the chant came from somewhere else; you know what I’m saying? I’m guessing it was just the beginning to my destiny. I really appreciate the fact all these years black people as well as black radio has embraced me the way they have. You know they gave me a ghetto pass! I thought that was so funny to me, I said this is so cool! Teena Marie has a lifetime ghetto pass! (laughs)
UrbanBridgez.com: Now one artist who I think who would probably love to work with you is Christina Aguilera, do you listen to any of her material?
Teena Marie: I love Christina Aguilera, yeah I do. I love Mariah Carey, all the great singers out there. I have to walk outside because they’re working on my house; let me walk to the next room. Can you hear me now, Can you hear me now. Lord I sound like Alicia [Keys] (laughs).
UrbanBridgez.com: So will you be doing any tours this summer?
Teena Marie: I’m going out the end of this month; my first show is on the Tom Joyner cruise.
UrbanBridgez.com: Tom Joyner cruise…oooh!
Teena Marie: Yeah, in the islands. After that I’ll be touring the states.
UrbanBridgez.com: So what’s going to be up for you over the next year?
Teena Marie: I’m actually writing already; I’ve been working on a jazz album and I’ve been working on inspirational music. So between that and the touring I’m getting ready to do, I’ll be raising my daughter which is really an ongoing job; raising a 14-year-old that’s enough to keep me busy for a while!
UrbanBridgez.com: Say if your daughter went to the music industry, would there be any advice you’d give her?
Teena Marie: It’s funny, she’s really smart. When she sang on my record she was 13 and she’s 14 now; she really doesn’t want to come out with a record for another couple of years. So she’s kind of smart and all she wants to be is a normal kid, you know? She’s boy crazy and she’s a good kid but she’s really smart and I’ll be right beside her every step of the way.
UrbanBridgez.com: I know you’re a very busy woman and I didn’t want to keep you too long, do you have any last words for your fans?
Teena Marie: I’m just really thankful and grateful that after …let’s see what this 20, 27 years in the music business after I came out with my first album in ’79 that people still love me and it’s such a wonderful thing to be doing something that you love. Thanks to my daughter and friends, music has been my greatest joy. So I’m just appreciative that people still love me.
UrbanBridgez.com: That’s very nice. I think artists need to hear the word “Thank You” instead of expecting so much out of them.
Teena Marie: Oh, I’m very thankful. It’s a blessing everyday.
UrbanBridgez.com: Thank you Ms. Teena for talking to UrbanBridgez.com we all love you and appreciate everything you do.