Teairra Marí is an artist on the verge of a new beginning. The young singer’s career thus far has been filled with unexpected twists and turns. After what seemed to be a guaranteed slam dunk – landing the co-sign of hip-hop mogul Jay-Z for her debut album – life proved that no one is bigger than their last hit. While Marí clearly has the chops for the big tent, her attempts at a breakthrough were not well received their first time around. In a flash, her brief tenure with Roc-A-Fella was over and she was without a label home. After catching a short performance set at the CW Center in Midtown Atlanta, be assured of two things about Ms. Marí:
1) Teairra Marí is hungry.
2) Teairra Marí has used her experiences to make her stronger.
In fact, she makes our 2009 Grad Class because her drive to show the world what she’s got is palpable. She oozes desire. Why shouldn’t she? Does she not possess comparable talent to Rihanna, who enjoyed a similar cultivation during her artistic adolescence? Research of her history shows Teairra Mari is no freshman when it comes to the hustle. She began her career at age 12, recording in her cousin’s basement and soon caught the attention of Big Mike, Ed K and Helluvah of Detroit’s K.I.S.S. Productions, which developed her from the age of 13 onward. Teairra attended Aaliyah’s alma mater, the Detroit High School for The Fine and Performing Arts and was a vocal major, performing in many of the school’s talent showcases. At the age of 16, K.I.S.S.’ Big Mike felt that Marí was ready for the big time, and he brought the R&B starlet in front of a who’s who of label execs and arranged for Marí to appear at local dates. Under Big Mike’s guidance, Marí spent every free moment in the studio, working with some of the hottest producers and songwriters in the game. Marí soon found herself rubbing shoulders with industry peers such as Ray-J, J-Kwon, and Lola Damone. In October 2003, K.I.S.S. Productions released Teairra’s first album, an 5-track EP called Get Away, which became a local sensation. Candy Tookes, a friend of Big Mike, introduced Teairra to industry veteran Daryl Simmons in Atlanta, Georgia. Simmons then shared Marí’s K.I.S.S. Productions-produced demo disc with Antonio “L.A.” Reid, Chairman of the Island Def Jam Group. After hearing Teairra Marí perform live, Reid offered her a contract on the spot. Marí worked with Jay-Z, then-president of Def Jam, to create “Make Her Feel Good”, the hit single from her debut album on Def Jam’s Roc-A-Fella Records label. The second single “No Daddy” had a video that led to commercial success on MTV. The video spent 16 days on Total Request Live (TRL), peaking at #4.
BE Magazine Editor-In-Chief was busy this month! He got to interview Teairra after her show here in Atlanta. Check out the audio below along with a couple of Teairra’s hottest videos out right now!
Teairra Marie featuring Pleasure P “Hunt 4 U”
Teairra Mari Feat Flo Rida “Cause A Scene”