They are a rare breed. White skin, much, much darker voices. They sing unlike they look. George Michael. Lisa Stansfield. And, yes, Teena Marie.
She was not nearly as famous as her voice had promised in the 1980s when she let Rick James lead her towards stardom. She sang for the legendary Motown. She recorded several hits singles and then like many of her 80s contemporaries she disappeared into obscurity.
News of her death this week made me pull out the album Robbery, an 80s R&B joint that captures the times perfectly. It was her first album after a long fight to leave Motown and it showed Marie is control of her career, writing and producing nearly every track. At one point in the album Marie holds a forceful note for ten seconds. It’s a sound of heartache and liberation, all at once.
Dust off her back catalogue and enjoy blue-eyed soul at it’s best. Lady T worthy of rediscovery.