This Weeks Featured Artist is:
Born Mary Christine Brockert, March 5, 1956. Early on Teena's mother knew her daughter was destined for stardom, as a young girl she had a part on the television show, "The Beverly Hillbillies" and would go on to make television commercials and by the tender age of 17, Teena would be signed to the most famous black owned music company, Motown.
While Teena would remain at Motown for 3 years before her first release , her path would cross with Rick James, who would write, arrange and Produce along with , Art Stewart, 1979's"Wild and Peaceful".
Venice, California, was Teena Marie’s launching pad, about as far away form the Motor City as one can be and still be in the lower 48. Born Mary Christine Brockert, “Tee” as a child showed promise as both an actress and singer; she performed in commercials and in one episode of the classic sitcom, The Beverly Hillbillies. While studying English Lit at Santa Monica City College, she landed a Motown-produced TV pilot called Orphanage Children. While the pilot never aired, Motown signed 20-year-old Teena Marie in 1975.
Four years passed, during which the white soul singer worked on demos with a variety of producers. Then, while practicing in a Motown office, she was discovered by Rick James. It was magic. Not since Stevie Wonder introduced Syreeta had Motown produced such synergy between superstar and apprentice. James co-produced with longtime engineer Art Stewart her 1979 debut, Wild and Peaceful, which featured Teena Marie’s first Top 10 single “I’m A Sucker For Your Love.”
What the album didn’t feature, at least in its U.S. incarnation, was a picture of Ms. Marie. Nervous that a white singer might not be embraced by urban radio, Lady T’s picture was left off the album cover, and her ethnicity wasn’t broached in any of the publicity material. And she sure didn’t sound white. The album climbed to #18 on the Soul LP's chart.
Lady T’s tenure at Motown lasted four albums. She made a lasting mark, and her career continued to thrive more than two decades later.
Teena moved to Epic Records after leaving Motown in 1983. Releasing "Robbery", "Starchild", "Naked to the World", "Emerald City", and "Ivory"
1994 would see Teena release "Passion Play" on her own "Sarai Records", with the single "Warm as Momma's Oven". A music video was produced and released for promotion of the CD. Teena embarked on a tour to promote the release as well.
After a 14 year absence, from a major record company release, in 2004 Lady Tee released "La Dona" on Cash Money/Universal Records. The CD contained the hit single "I'm still in Love". The CD has gone onto gold status.
Teena's release of "Sapphire" was released on May 09, 2006 on Cash Money/Universal Records. Her single off the "Sapphire" CD ,"Ooh Wee", was on the top 10 Urban Charts!
Teena's "Congo Square" was released June 9, 2009 on Stax Records. The CD single was the radio friendly "Can't Last a Day" a duet with Faith Evans. The follow up single was "You Baby".
Sadly Teena Marie passed away in her sleep on December 26, 2010. She will forever be in our hearts and her music will live on! 2012 will hopefully see the release of Teena's recordings she was working on shortly before her death. It is said to be titled "Beautiful".
(Courtesy of vanillachild.com)