Teairra Mari…Waiting For Takeoff

First Things First

We’re going to get into Teairra, but first let’s get the rumor mill on the right track. For those thinking here comes a newer version of Teairra Mari’, it’s not. She’s not trying to reinvent herself. It’s not necessary. And for that reason, it’s time for a conversation and she’s setting things straight, but she’s not going to pussy-foot around, she’s getting straight to the point. Photograph by Allwyn Forrestor

What we know is Teairra isn’t sweating the past and what went down over at the Rock (Rockafella Records). For those of you still stunned about the separation with camp Jay-Z , move on. But for those of you who didn’t know, here is the rundown. My girl Teairra is at prom with her friends when she gets a text message (messed up, I know) that she’d been dropped from the label. Cold, right? “…I was hurt because I was so young and I thought these people were like family...because that’s what they said!”

“When it first happened everybody was like, ‘What are you gonna do now?’ I’m gonna keep going, what do you mean what am I gonna do? I’m not gonna stop because of one “tragic” thing! It didn’t kill me. I can keep it pushing.”

Pushing Past the Drama
Phtography by Allwyn Forrestor
The unfortunate lesson that Teairra had to learn was that she was like many artists who start out young. They believe that learning the business is someone else’s job and all they have to do is show up to sing their part and pose for a few pictures. But the industry has changed so much and you have to come to the table with a ‘don’t-let-up’ mindset. You have to be a chameleon and be so many things to so many people all at once. So you grow up and deal and that’s what she did she’s doing. “I didn’t know at that age how to differentiate business family from real family. Now I know. I know now that with business family, you can never take things personal…”

MAS: Since then, has your business sense matured?

TM: “Tremendously! That’s one of the best things I got out of the situation. I have a new sense of business. I’m real savvy when it comes to that. I’m in control of my own shit! I’m happy about that. Before, I had people holding my hand and doing everything for me and not teaching me anything. After that, I had to become independent if I wanted to continue to do this because I didn’t have anybody. Once they left (the label), everybody that I thought was for me, was like peace out! So I had to start from scratch by myself. I had to get up off the ground and say I’m a grown woman now. I have to take matters in my own hand if this is what I want to do… There is no book you can read! It’s no school you can go to that will teach you about this business. It’s more about experience and a little bit of street smarts and common sense. You gotta know this is a dog-eat-dog world. Shit or be shitted on! Nobody really has your best interest in you but you. Don’t be mean … just be prepared. “

MAS: How was the family support system during this time?

TM: “My mom and aunt used to go on the road with me. But since all that stuff happened, my mom had a stroke and it impaired her speech. She decided to step back from it. That was the best thing anyways because this business had divided us and turned us against each other. Before I turned eighteen, I was trying to get emancipated. It was crazy. We’re closer now that she’s not dealing in the business. I can call her and its more of a comfort to have her just be a mother.

When my mom started with me, she had millions of books and would always say, ‘I read in the book…I’d be like honey, they will shiest the hell out of you talking about a book! Looking back, it was fun and what don’t kill you makes you stronger. You can laugh at it in the future. Now I can look back and I’m like, Oh God!”

So does she keep in touch with the Jigga Man? Hell no! But she explains, “I haven’t spoken to him…Maybe once or twice over text since the whole ordeal. But we don’t keep in contact. It’s no hard feelings; if I see him, it’s all love and respect. There will be a third album and a fourth and so on! “

Still Bankable

With time passing and the music business ever-evolving, it’s an all consuming job to continue to stay relevant and on the minds of those who were once fans. So while on a hiatus from the business, Teairra Mari was taking care of another kind of business. Movies.

In theatres on August 20th, Teairra joins an all-star cast lineup consisting of Ice Cube, Mike Epps, Charlie Murphy, Naturi Naughton and Bow Wow in ‘Lottery Ticket’, a movie about a kid from the projects (Bow Wow) who wins the lottery. Speaking of her role in the movie, “My character is Nicki Swayze…and I’m the hot chic that everybody wants. We’re all a bunch of kids from the projects and I’ve never paid Bow Wow’s character any mind until he hits the lottery. It’s a comedy, so it’s very funny.”

MS: So how did you feel when approached about the role?

TM: “I was so excited because I didn’t think I was gonna get the role. I did like six auditions. They even called me for the table read! Normally when you get to the table read you think it’s in the bag. But no honey, after the table read, they called me back and said they chose to go in a different direction. They got somebody else. I was a little depressed. Cause I just knew…I talked to God and he told me this was my role. There I was, doubting my faith and then a week later they called and said ‘She’s (the other role contender) horrible! Can you get on the next plane out tomorrow?’ I said yes! I knew He told me this was my role. It was a great experience. I had a ball! And yes I would do it again. I was out there for a month. I would do it again and stay for three months.”

Any other movie roles on the table?

TM: “I did another movie with Jackie Long and Gary Dourdin called the Magnificent Cooly Tee. That one is going to straight to DVD.”

On the Horizon

Phtography by Allwyn Forrestor

So what else is the diva-in-training making a move towards? Now, after partnering with her new label Warner Brothers, of course her music is her madness with the radio waves burning up her hit single Sponsor. With Gucci Mane and Souja Boy co-starring on the track, it was sure to climb the charts and sparked lots of discussion on the way up. The video is also a staple on viewers playlist (Gucci Mane was absent during filming due to incarceration).

Unfortunately, many of the tracks from her album At That Point were leaked online and Teairra and the label decided to shelve the album until she was ready to go back to the studio to re-record her album which will get a new title as well. The album was laced with tracks from Nicki Minaj, Flo Rida, Pleasure P., Soulja Boy, Gucci Mane, Kanye West and Rick Ross. Teairra has already recorded a handful of songs to be debuted on the impending untitled album. In the meantime, Teairra has released an EP called Sincerely Yours as well as Point of No Return, a DJ Drama produced mixtape that can be downloaded from her fan site (click here).

She beams about her project by recalling her exchange with the infamous DJ/Producer, “DJ Drama chose me. He said he was doing an R&B mixtape and he had just done one with Chris Brown. He normally does hip-hop music, but he was like, 'I want you to be the first female I use for my R&B mixtape.' So I agreed. With this mixtape, first I did a remix to Usher's "Daddy's Home" and another one to Waka Flocka's song 'O Let's Do It'…”

The Point of No Return Mixtape track listing is as follows:
1. “Detroit”
2. “Body”
3. “Girl Power”
4. “I Know It’s U”
5. “Super High”
6. “Lost My Mind”
7. “Daddy’s Home”
8. “Coins”
9. “Goodie Bags”
10. “My Lovin’”
11. “Find My Way Back”
12. “Lights Go Down”
13. “Holla”
14. “Over”

To be more informed on everything Teairra Mari, go to her fan site at http://www.teairrafans.com/.