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Teena Marie Has Died: Who Was Teena Marie

I was confident since broke the story that my source was a good one. Several people who are close to Teena and her family have called and emailed me to confirm it’s true.  

teena marie

Sorry to report this sad news the day after Christmas. Ironically, I JUST finished the page on the Deaths for 2010 for a review of 2010 this afternoon.   I guess I will have to edit it now. Still no word on the cause of her death. I will keep you posted.

Teena Marie suffered from Grand mal seizures. Sources have informed us her medication for the condition was making her severely depressed and she stopped taking it. We will keep you posted on any further news. Please give credit to .com for this information.

Radio Facts‘ CEO Kevin Ross on Teena Marie

I’m preparing for a syndicated radio interview in the morning on the passing of Teena Marie so I’m reviewing some of my favorite material by her. I’m blasting “Midnight Magnet” on my iPod at Borders.

Without question, it is hard for me to believe I have sat at the same table as Teena Marie and had conversations with her. She was so down to earth, I almost forgot how brilliant she was musically.

I remember the first time I heard her I was in college “Square Biz” was a HUGE smash all over campus and Teena took it ALL the way in that song talking about Collard Greens and at the same time giving clues to her identity “…Casper, shorty Lil’ Bit and some they call me Vanilla Child” She even rapped during the song which at the time was still pretty new to the mainstream ESPECIALLY from women.

Industry genius Berry Gordy stated he intentionally kept her identity a secret for as long as he could because he wanted people to hear her voice before they categorized her.

When Teena finally appeared, for me it was a TV appearance with Rick James, I was blown away. I am from Buffalo and my high school friend dated Rick’s bodyguard so I knew that crew but I never recall Teena hanging around Buffalo back then. When I saw her and Rick on TV the first time, I thought… Teena Marie is WHITE? I thought…

Then the thought went as fast as it came when I had to say “DAMN, she can really sing” who cares what color she is. That was Berry’s exact intent and it worked like a charm.

While black artists may not have been treated fairly during the pre Civil Rights Motown days, black music ALWAYS made an indelible impression on EVERYONE whereas white singers who sang black music were often rare and there were probably many who never made it to the limelight (or like Elvis, STOLE the limelight) because they were categorized immediately (sound familiar?).

It certainly had to be viewed as a true labor of love from other white artists who KNEW they fared better singing pop music. What I liked MOST about Teena was her amazing ability to write and then to paint an amazing picture with her lyrics. “Midnight Magnet” was one of my favorite songs by her. I am listening to is as I write this and I can’t believe how great it sounds.

A couple of my other favorite songs was “Dear Lover” Teena sang the sh… out of song and her voice melted right into the orchestration perfectly. Another favorite was “Out on a Limb” where Teena described being hopelessly in love like no one else ever has. It is ironic that I could not help but to hear how flat she was on that song and maybe it was intentional but it worked.

Why is it that when a star passes, their music is so much more appealing but only for a moment? For the most part, their songs are rarely played after their deaths.   There are many in the black community who will immediately state their favorite song by Teena (and Rick James) was “Fire and Desire.” That was a great song but I have never been like everyone else and I have always enjoyed looking deeper for the hidden gems.

However, I can’t deny Rick and Teena owned that song and when I heard Johnny Gill and Coco from SWV’s lackluster version I thought it was an insult. That song cannot be sung again by anyone else….sorry.   Teena will be greatly missed

Berry Gordy Statement on Teena Marie’s Passing

“I am horrified by the sudden death of my darling Teena Marie. She was my “baby,””always true to herself, always true to her heart. When I first auditioned her she was so awesome she blew me away. She had so much soul ““ the only thing white about her was her skin. She was a powerhouse performer, writer, producer and arranger. Anyone who ever saw her perform, alone or with Rick James, will never forget how exciting music can be. My heart goes out to her sweet, sweet daughter, Alia Rose, her family, friends and fans. Teena Marie will always be a part of the Motown family. We will all miss her”. Berry Gordy Founder of Motown


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