Singer-actress Teairra Mari is re-establishing her independence after a few bumps in the road. With a new mixtape, EP and Movie, find out more about why she’s her own “Sponsor.”
Singersroom: Congratulations on the mixtape. I know it dropped not too long ago.
Teairra Mari: Thank you.
Singersroom: And you’re so busy. I feel like you have so much going on. You have the mixtape, the EP, and Lottery Ticket in theatres. So you’re like a force to be reckoned with right now. How does it all feel?
Teairra Mari: It feels great. Coming from two and a half years ago where I was like, “What am I gonna do?” It feels good to work hard and start to see some result.
Singersroom: Why was it important to drop a mixtape and an EP not too long after it?
Teairra Mari: Well, I was going to do the mixtape either way. And when we decided to do the EP, half of the songs for the mixtape were already done. And with the mixtape you know you do the songs that are hot right now, so I didn’t want the mixtape songs to get old and then try to release it later.
Teairra Mari: So, I wanted to release it before the EP. And I was like, “You know what? Why don’t we release it back to back?” And I figured once people got the mixtape and people liked it, then maybe they’d get the EP, too. Because I have original songs on [the mixtape] and it’s getting lots of great reviews. People love the originals as well as the remixes. So, everything’s falling into place perfectly.
Singersroom: So what’s your favorite song (s) on the mixtape?
Teairra Mari: I would have to go with “I Know It’s You” and “Girl Power.”
Singersroom: Yeah, I like “Girl Power” and “Body.”
Teairra Mari: I love “Body.” I love all of them! I love “Lights Go Down” and I love the “Lost My Mind” remix.
Singersroom: It’s a good mixtape. It all flows. What can we expect from “Sincerely Yours?”
Teairra Mari: Well, you can expect what you got from the original songs on the mixtape. I’m just taking it to another level, vocally I’ve really grown. We wanted to break the songs up from the ones that leaked, we didn’t use those. And the ones that weren’t leaked, we put them on the EP. So it’s “At That Point” but it’s “Sincerely Yours,” since I’m past the point. It’s a strong EP; I have two really big ballads on there that really showcase my vocal ability. I think it’s really well balanced. Of course “Body” and “Sponsor” are on there.
Singersroom: What has been your mindset during the transition from Rocafella to now?
Teairra Mari: I went through many different transitions. There was a point I wanted to give up. But I kept telling myself, “That’s what people want you to do.” So they can laugh at you and say you didn’t make it. Because people are watching, so was I gonna feed them that? No, I’ve always been a competitive girl. So I had to take what I had and do good with it. So, I’m here and I feel that I have so much more to do and so far to go.
Singersroom: What advice would “Sincerely Yours” Teairra give Rocafella Teairra?
Teairra Mari: The same thing I tell every young person: Keep the people that are going to keep you grounded around. At a time when I was signed to Rocafella, I lost that. I excluded everyone that was there from the beginning from my life. Because I let people in the industry divide and conquer. I let people get in my head. So the best advice I could give is, keep a strong foundation. It’s the only way you’ll make it.
Singersroom: When your first album dropped in 2005, that’s when blogs were gaining power and social networks gained momentum. How important is social media to the music industry?
Teairra Mari: We have to get with the times. Social media is extremely important to the music industry. Especially if you’re an up & coming artist. It’s very important to connect with your fans and use the tools that are available to market and promote ourselves. Because with the label’s budgets getting tighter and tighter, we have to do more than what an artist did back in the day. They had powerful machines behind them, and until you’re a superstar nowadays you’ve got to do for yourself. We have to go the extra mile â every tweet is work, that’s the image you’re putting out to the people. You control it. More than the label; more than anybody in your camp. I think social media is a tool we should take advantage of to better us and our careers.
Singersroom: When did you know that you were supposed to be a singer?
Teairra Mari: I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a singer. I can’t remember the exact moment. But certain performances like Beyonce’s “Dangerously In Love” at the Grammys and Michael Jackson’s and James Brown’s performance at the BET Awards.
Singersroom: How was working on “Lottery Ticket”?
Teairra Mari: It was fun. I had a blast. I’m ready to do more motion pictures. I really didn’t know anyone except for Bow, but everybody was so nice. I’ve heard so many horror stories about being on movie sets, but this was just a great experience.
—— By: Interview By Mattie James