Finally, there will be one last Teena Marie album.
The Ivory Queen of Soul singer died suddenly back in 2010, and her 21-year-old daughter Alia Rose completed the album and will release it this month. At the time of her death (she was 54), Teena Marie was working on her 14th album for Universal Music Enterprises, aptly entitled Beautiful.
EBONY chats with Lady Tee’s daughter about the album, the music and what she misses most about her mother.
EBONY: What made you want to go ahead and finish this album for your mom?
Alia Rose: It was just something that I had to do. I was a lot different than I used to be. You know, I had a lot of growing up to do, and I feel like this project is almost like a milestone for me. Like, people don’t even know all of the stories behind everything. They just get to appreciate the art. But there was so much emotional weight behind it.
EBONY: The album sounds incredible, but this is a different type of Teena Marie project. What do you think your mom was going for?
AR: I feel like my mom was getting broader in a sense. I feel like this is like one of her more commercial albums that she’d done in a really long time. I feel like La Doña was of the same nature when she was with Cash Money [Records]—it was kind of like that. She always wrote from her heart, but everything that she was talking about it was like, I felt it again.
EBONY: Was this therapy for you?
AR: It was more so a burden at first. Honestly, I’m not gonna lie to you. My mom isn’t here and I have to put out her last album. So all of a sudden, like maybe eight months ago, they’re starting to send me all the mixes for the album. I listened to the album all the way through in my car—I do a lot of thinking in my car—and all of a sudden it was like I heard it for the very first time. And I really realized how amazing the album was, how amazing it could be, and how much the fans are gonna appreciate it.
EBONY: Were you guys actually working on the album together before she passed away?
AR: No, not really. I helped write “Sweet Tooth,” and I’m featured on two other songs. Of course she would always ask me for help in studio, but I mean, this is her. This is just raw Teena Marie; it is what it is. And I’m not gonna take credit for something I didn’t do.
EBONY: So what’s next for Alia Rose?
AR: I’m opening up a recording studio in Los Angeles. My partner is Syd tha Kid, of Odd Future. She’s awesome. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner, honestly. She’s amazing. She loves music, she loves what she does, and it’s just amazing to be able to work with her and create an environment where people will be able to come and do their thing. You never know who may come through there. I’m just excited about it.
EBONY: Will we be hearing music from you at some point?
AR: I’ve done some recording in my past, but I just felt that I needed to take a break and not pressure myself, and give me an opportunity to really do that but also still be working creatively in the studio all the time. I know what direction I’m gonna end up going in. I like more alternative, but also mixed with mainstream. I still like real music. I was raised on the good stuff, you know? So it’s gonna be something good.
EBONY: What’s something you miss most about your mom?
AR: I miss her cooking. I miss lying in bed with her in the middle of the night. ’Cause a lot of people don’t know that I slept with my mom until I was, like, 12. She was a single mom. So I slept with her until I was about 12 and one day she started saying, “You know, you’re gonna have to start sleeping in your own room if I ever get married one day.” So I started sleeping in my own room and then she hated it. But every once in a while I would go lay down in the bed with her. I miss her so much. She was my best friend, and there’s so many things on the daily that I wish that I could bring to her and talk to her about.
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EBONY Entertainment Editor