“MAKE HER FEEL GOOD” INTRODUCED US TO TEAIRRA MARI BUT THAT FLEW OUT THE WINDOW WHEN SHE WAS DROPPED FROM ROCK-A-FELLA ON HER PROM NIGHT. SHE’S SHOWN US JUST HOW LIKEABLE SHE IS ON THE SECOND SEASON OF LOVE & HIP HOP BUT IS NOT TRYING TO BECOME A REALITY TV STAR. ON THE HEELS OF RELEASING A NEW SINGLE “U DID DAT” TEAIRRA MARI TOOK SOME TIME TO TALK WITH THEHIPHOPDIVA ON HER PAST EXPERIENCES, HOW SHE BOUNCED BACK, AND WHAT SHE’S HOPING TO ACCOMPLISH.
Most recently we’ve seen Teairra Mari be the girlfriend that Emily B. needs on season two of VH1’s “Love & Hip Hop” reality television series. She’s there for Emily and completely has her back, but is not afraid to tell her what she really thinks about her relationship with hip hop artist Fabolous. However, unlike the other ladies on the show, excluding Olivia, Teairra Mari has already made a name for herself, perhaps as the young budding talent that was dropped from Rock-A-Fella, but even more so as the young lady that kept working and proved that she deserves to be in the spotlight.
At the age of 16 Teairra Mari joined the Def Jam family at the beginning of Jay Z’s tenure as President. She sang for LA Reid who signed her on the spot and Jay Z then selected her for the Rock-A-Fella roster. Not a bad start hunh? In 2005 Teairra Mari released her first album, Rock-A-Fella Presents: Teairra Mari, with her hit single “Make Her Feel Good”.
Everything was going good for the teenage artist – she had a record deal along with Jay Z’s support, her videos were being played on BET and MTV, and she was working on her second album. As she was getting ready to attend her high school prom she received a phone call that immediately changed her entire situation – she was being dropped from Def Jam. Teairra recalls the experience saying, “It was crazy. I was so young…It was funny how I thought my life was planned out and then everything was going wrong. I was young and didn’t quite understand the business side of things. I took some time off. I had to reevaluate”. However, soon after that Teairra flew out to LA and began making music again and got over being dropped even if the industry still held on to that memory. Of challenges she encountered Teairra says it’s “Probably people not taking me seriously because I was dropped. I was putting out mixtapes and people were like wow, I didn’t know you were actually making this good of music. When people finally give me a chance they get into it.” Able to withstand the challenges, Teairra has since released several mixtapes and videos and co-starred in the film “Lottery Ticket” alongside rapper/actor Bow Wow.
After hopping around different camps that didn’t quite fit her, Teairra has now made Division 1 her home. On her relationship with the infamous Rico Love Teairra states, “I call him my musical soul mate. I feel like every song we record is hot. I don’t have that kind of chemistry with anyone else. I asked to be released from Warner Bros. so that I could go and be with Rico at Division 1.” She now has a new single, “U Did Dat”, with rapper 2 Chainz on the remix and is working on an album slated to be released this year. She’s shown that she’s built for this industry and we are rooting for her to receive what she deserves.
“U Did Dat”
Read the full interview below.
HHD (THEHIPHOPDIVA): How did you land your Rock-A-Fella deal with Def Jam at the age of 16?
TM (TEAIRRA MARI): I started recording when I was about 12. The first song I recorded was in my cousin’s basement. After that I ended up running into this guy that had a better studio in Detroit. My mom was like let’s go over there and see what he’s talking about. He’s interested in signing you. We went over to his studio and it was way better than the basement. We got nice quality recorded music. We shopped the demo around and he had some friends in Atlanta that he linked us up with. They introduced us to LA Reid. I performed for LA Reid and he signed me on the spot. Jay Z had just got his job as President of Def Jam. I went and met Jay Z and he was like I want to give you the Rock-A-Fella stamp.
HHD: When you were with Rock-A-Fella you released one album and then you moved on. Can you take us back to that time and let us know what was going through your head and what that experience was like for you at the time that you were separated from Rock-A-Fella?
TM: It was crazy. I was so young. They didn’t know this, but they released me on my prom day. I was actually getting ready for the prom when I got the phone call. It was funny how I thought my life was planned out and then everything was going wrong. I was young and didn’t quite understand the business side of things. I took some time off. I had to reevaluate. I ended up meeting this guy and flying to LA and recording with him and the chemistry was great and after that I got over being dropped real quick.
HHD: You released your last album in 2005 and you’re scheduled to release your second album this year. That’s a seven year timespan. When you drop this album this year what are you hoping to accomplish?
TM: Hopefully I get to have a broader platform. I would like the album to at least go gold, I would be happy with that. I would be happy with touring, meeting my fans, and just being able to take care of my family and be happy. I’m not looking for much, everything else will come. I’m just asking to make a living.
HHD: What has been the most challenging aspect of your career?
TM: Probably people not taking me seriously because I was dropped. I was putting out mixtapes and people were like wow, I didn’t know you were actually making this good of music. When people finally give me a chance they get into it. That’s probably the most challenging thing at times when people don’t want to give you that chance.
HHD: Now you’re at Division 1 working with Rico Love. What has that experience been like so far?
TM: It’s been amazing. I call him my musical soul mate. I knew that was going to be the home for me. I feel like every song we record is hot. I don’t have that kind of chemistry with anyone else. I asked to be released from Warner Bros. so that I could go and be with Rico at Division 1.
HHD: What do you hope comes out of you working with Rico Love and being at Division 1?
TM: Just solid albums, solid music. All else will follow if you’re making a good product.
HHD: Let’s transition to Love & Hip Hop? Why did you decide to join the cast?
TM: I’m not officially part of the cast. I was asked to make a cameo, maybe one or two episodes. But it turned out every time I was in New York they asked me to film. So it turned out that more than half of the season I was on there.
HHD: As an actor and a singer/songwriter what are you hoping to gain from reality tv?
TM: I just had fun with the ladies. I’m a believer that if it makes you feel good and happy inside then do it. Of course it’s a platform, it’s a stage, but I wasn’t trying to gain anything. I barely talked about my music on the show.
HHD: What is your take on the Yandy/Chrissy beef?
TM: I know it’s history there that none of us really know too much about. I try not to get involved in that. I don’t even comment on it. They’ve known each other for a long time and it’s just too deep to get involved if you don’t know anything about the situation.
HHD: You’ve collaborated with a couple of male hip hop artists? Are there any female hip hop artists you would like to collaborate with?
TM: I did a collaboration with Nicki Minaj and I want to do another one. There’s this new girl named Iggy Azalea, she’s a female rapper. She’s like the female Eminem. I think she’s from Australia, she’s a white chick with blond hair. She’s dope though. I like her flow. I would like to work with her.
HHD: What is your definition of a hip hop diva?
TM: Somebody who doesn’t give a f-u-c-k what others think. Somebody who is independent and can handle their own business with their eyes closed. Somebody who demands what she wants and is very classy about it. Someone who can stand up for herself.
Find Teairra Mari in the following places: