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Teena Marie

 


Teena Marie (March 5, 1956 - December 26th, 2010) was an American Grammy Award-nominated singer–songwriter–producer. (Born Mary Christine Brockert) Marie, nicknamed Lady T, was a protegée of the late funk legend Rick James, and is notable as one of the few successful multi-ethnic performers of R&B. She sang R&B with big, robust vocals, and played rhythm guitar, keyboards and congas. She also had written, produced, sung and arranged virtually all of her songs since her 1980 release Irons in the Fire. She has quoted this as being her favorite album. She is survived by a daughter named Alia Rose who, as of 2009, sings under the name Rose Le Beau.

Early Life
Marie was born in Santa Monica, California. She is of Belgian, Portuguese, Irish, Italian, and Native American ancestry. Marie grew up in Oakwood, a neighborhood in West Los Angeles. As a child, she had an acting role on The Beverly Hillbillies, credited as Tina Marie Brockert. She also sang at the wedding of actor Jerry Lewis’s son when she was 10 years old.

Marie worked briefly at Pup ‘n’ Taco in the mid 1970s while attending Venice High School, where she joined the Summer Dance Production, and also had a role in the school’s production of The Music Man.

No white artist sang R&B more convincingly than Teena Marie, whose big, robust vocals were so black-sounding that when she was starting out, some listeners wondered if she was a light-skinned African-American. Marie grew up in west Los Angeles in a neighborhood that was nicknamed "Venice Harlem" because of its heavy black population. The singer/songwriter/producer was in her early twenties when, around 1977, she landed a job at Motown Records. It was at Motown that she met her mentor and paramour-to-be, Rick James, who ended up doing all of the writing and producing for her debut album of 1979, Wild and Peaceful. That LP, which boasted her hit duet with James, "I'm Just a Sucker for Your Love," didn't show Marie's picture — so many programmers at black radio just assumed she was black. When her second album, Lady T, came out, much of the R&B world was shocked to see how fair-skinned she was. But to many of the black R&B fans who were eating her music up, it really didn't matter — the bottom line was she was a first-rate soul singer whose love of black culture ran deep.

By her third album, 1980's gold Irons in the Fire, Marie was doing most of her own writing and producing. That album boasted the major hit "I Need Your Lovin'," and Marie went gold again with her next album, It Must Be Magic (which included the major hit "Square Biz"). It Must Be Magic turned out to be her last album for Motown, which she had a nasty legal battle with. Marie got out of her contract with Motown, and the case ended up with the courts passing what is known as "The Teena Marie Law" — which states that a label cannot keep an artist under contract without putting out an album by him or her.

Switching to Epic in 1983, Marie recorded her fifth album, Robbery, and had a hit with "Fix It." In 1984, Marie recorded her sixth album, Starchild, and had her biggest pop hit ever with "Lovergirl." Though Marie had often soared to the top of the R&B charts, "Lovergirl" marked the first time she'd done so well in the pop market. Ironically, Marie was a white singer who had enjoyed little exposure outside the R&B market prior to "Lovergirl."

Three more Epic albums followed: 1986's Emerald City, 1988's Naked to the World (which contained her smash hit "Ooh La La La"), and 1990's Ivory. Unfortunately, Marie's popularity had faded considerably by the late '80s, and Epic dropped her. In 1994, the singer released Passion Play on her own Sarai Records label. Ten years later, she signed to Cash Money and released La Doña, featuring assistance from Gerald LeVert, Rick James, and MC Lyte. Sapphire followed two years later. Though both La Doña and Sapphire peaked at number three on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, she switched to Stax for her next album, 2009's Congo Square. On December 26 the following year, Marie died in her sleep at her home in Pasadena, California; she was 54 years of age. Marie's daughter Alia Rose subsequently oversaw the mixing, mastering, and release of Beautiful, an album recorded prior to Marie's passing. It was released through UMe in 2012.

Teena Marie (born Mary Christine Brockert on March 5, 1956) is an American Grammy Award-nominated singer–songwriter–producer. Marie, nicknamed Lady T, is a protegée of late funk legend Rick James, and is notable as one of the few successful Caucasian performers of R&B, or blue-eyed soul.
Marie is heard a multiple of times throughout tracks on Rick James' album Street Songs.
She is the godmother of Minnie Riperton's daughter, actress/comedienne Maya Rudolph.
She also guest starred on the Beverly Hillbillies as Tina Marie Brockert
Sang at the wedding of Jerry Lewis's son when she was 10 years old.
"Square Biz" was reworked and used as the theme song for the last two seasons of the Tom Bergeron-hosted version of Hollywood Squares

 

80's Hits

Lover Girl

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