How much is Teena Marie worth?
|Net Worth:||$3 Million|
|Date of Birth:||March 5, 1956|
|Country:||United States of America|
Who Is Teena Marie
From an early age, Teena, a native of the L.A. area, was involved in the performing arts. She acted and sang beginning at a young age, and appeared in a 1964 episode of the “Beverly Hillbillies” TV show (credited under the name Tina Marie Brockert) at the age of 10. In the show, her character does a tap dance audition for Jed Clampett. Also during her childhood, she appeared in commercials and sang with a 36-piece band. As a teenager, she took up singing as a career.
Meeting Rick James
In 1976, when in her early 20s, she signed with Motown Records and recorded numerous tracks which went unreleased. It wasn’t until she met fellow Motown artist Rick James and they began collaborating that Teena’s career really began to blossom. Teena’s 1979 debut album, Wild and Peaceful was originally conceived as a project for Diana Ross, but James instead worked with Teena on it. The album, which featured her first hit, “I’m Just a Sucker for Your Love,” was noteworthy in that it didn’t feature Teena on the cover; the label had feared blacks might not buy it if they knew Teena was white.
The Brockert Initiative
In the early 1980s Teena released three more albums, but her biggest success came with the Rick James duet “Fire and Desire,” from his Street Songs album. Then in 1982, she sued to get out of her contract with Motown, which she had been having creative differences with. As a result of her successful lawsuit, “The Brockert Initiative,” which is named after her, makes it illegal for a record company to keep an artist under contract without releasing new material and allows artists to leave an unsupportive record company and sign with another label.
Hiatus and Comeback
After leaving Motown, Teena signed with Epic and continued her recording career. She had a string of R&B; hits throughout the 1980s, including “Lovergirl” (1984) and “Ooh La La La” (1986). Her popularity fell off somewhat in the 1990s, and she took a 10-year break between albums. She returned in 2004 with her 11th studio album, La Doña, which was released three months before the death of her ex-mentor and lover Rick James. One of the albums songs, “I Got You,” is a duet between Teena and Rick. As of early 2010, Teena was still recording music.
Teena was found dead in her home in Santa Monica, California in December 2010. About a month prior, she had suffered a grand mal seizure and had been in poor health since. She had also recovered from an addiction to prescription pills in the years before her death.
Critic: ‘Congo Square’
Although she’s flown under the radar of the mainstream music world in recent years, Teena Marie has still managed to cultivate a career that most singers would envy. Over a career that’s spanned more than 30 years, she’s consistently managed to put out very good – sometimes great – music and has cultivated a very loyal following of devoted fans. And on her 13th studio album, Congo Square (released in the U.S. by Stax Records on June 9, 2009), Teena shows that although she may be getting older, her passion for music, creativity and voice are still as strong and powerful as they were during her peak in the 1980s.
Teena Marie has been around long enough and has enough of a track record that reviews of her music make little difference one way or another. Her vocal style’s so consistent that people who feel her music probably always will, no matter what music critics say. And conversely, people who don’t care for her work probably never will, either. But for those devoted Teena fans out there, here’s the verdict: Congo Square is one of her best albums in quite awhile. In terms of overall creativity, it’s better than her last album, 2006’s Sapphire, and is less gimmicky than the album before that, 2004’s La Dona, which tried to remake her into a female version of Ronald Isley‘s “Mr. Biggs” character.
If there’s anything else that separates this album from her other work over the years, it’s that Teena is relying less on love songs and writing more substantive material. The album’s filled with quality songs that fit Teena well, unlike some tracks from her last two albums, which sometimes felt like she was being shoehorned into a role that didn’t quite fit her. Throughout Congo Square Teena not only straddles the line between the modern and classic, she also shows that of all the white singers out there, she’s probably the most in tune with African-American culture. Among the evidence: the album’s title comes from an historical area in New Orleans where slaves were allowed to dance and sing on Sundays, plus she has songs on the album called “Harlem Blues” and “Black Cool.” And another track, “Ms. Coretta,” is an ode to Coretta Scott King, the wife of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The album’s first single, “Can’t Last A Day,” a duet with Faith Evans, is vintage Teena without sounding too ’80s. The same can be said for the straightforward “Baby I Love You” and “Ear Candy 101,” a sultry upbeat jam where Teena sexily sings come-ons like “Maybe I can be your queen if you play your cards right, maybe you can be my king if you keep your love tight.” She sounds so perfectly natural singing the words that you’ll completely forget that she turned 53 three months before the album’s release. And like “Ear Candy 101,” Teena similarly manages to modernize her sound on the duet “Milk N’ Honey,” which features Teena’s daughter, Rose LeBeau. “Milk N’ Honey” takes advantage of the Auto-Tune fad by using the pitch correction software to add an overly electronic touch to the vocals. Unlike some other aging singers who have recently used Auto-Tune as a production flourish to make their sound seem more modern or hip, Teena’s conservative but distinctive experimentation with the tool actually does enhance the song. Which is a great relief since other mature artists using Auto-Tune – including Prince, Patti Labelle and Stevie Wonder – have all sounded anywhere from a little odd to completely ridiculous at times.
Overall, the production matches the vocals well, the vocals themselves are always strong and the song topics and lyrics are well done. And since Teena produced and arranged the album herself, the praise is a testament to not only her singing skills, but also her expertise in other areas of the recording process.
What a difference a couple of years makes. After retreating from the music scene for a decade, Teena Marie returned in 2004 on a new label, Cash Money Classics, and a new image: “La Dona,” a female mob boss. (Sort of a female version of Ronald Isley’s “Mr. Biggs” identity.) Well, two years later, she’s still on Cash Money/Universal, but that’s the only thing that’s still the same. Sapphire finds Teena hitting the reset button and going back to what’s she’s best known for – sparkling torch songs.
When listening to Sapphire, it’s pretty obvious that the death of Teena Marie’s friend and mentor, Rick James had a big effect on her. James, who died in 2004, was a huge influence on Teena’s music. And Sapphire is practically a Rick James tribute album, as well as a throwback to Teena’s 1980s heyday.
Many songs sound like they were written to be duets with James, especially “God Has Created” and “Cruise Control,” both featuring Teena’s former Motown labelmate, the ever-smooth Smokey Robinson.
And although Teena has gone back to her ’80s roots, she still moves her sound forward, albeit slightly, with the inclusion of the rapper Kurupt on a couple of tracks, including the first single, “Ooh Wee.” The problem with “Ooh Wee” is that it sounds too dated, and Kurupt’s appearance at the end of the song has a tacked-on, last-minute feel to it.
Teena hasn’t lost a step vocally and still sounds sexy, even at her age (she turned 50 in March, 2006.) Her vocal range is still pretty limited, but although she’s never had the widest range in the world, she does a great job knowing her limitations and not straying outside her comfort zone. And her biggest strength, one that all the best R&B; singers have, is still completely intact: her ability to convey emotion. The biggest drawback to Sapphire is that the vocals and production are sometimes too 1980s; listening to some songs will give you flashbacks to groups like Klymaxx and The Time. Which could be either good or bad.
2009: Congo Square
2004: La Doña
1994: Passion Play
1988: Naked to the World
1986: Emerald City
1981: It Must Be Magic
1980: Irons in the Fire
1980: Lady T
1979: Wild and Peaceful
Born: Mary Brockert, March 5, 1956, Santa Monica, California. Raised in Southern California, primarily the Los Angeles area.
Died: December 2010, in Pasadena, California.