R&B veteran Tamia Hill is celebrating 20 years in the music industry, and she's far from being fulfilled. With her sights still set on securing one of those prestigious Grammy Awards, the six-time nominated songstress will continue to push the career envelope.
Now into her sixth studio album, Love Life, Tamia plans to bring the project to life with an accompanying tour, which is set to kick off on August 20 at Irving Plaza in NYC.
In a recent sit down with the R&B beauty, she spoke about lasting in the music industry, her new album, 'Love Life', touring, having a lasting marriage, and much more.
SR: So, Love Life, tell us about this new body of work!
Tamia: Love Life, sixth studio album, 20 years in the business. It is obviously a passion project; It's a love album. It's an album about loving life; it's a happy album, a fun album, which is why I wanted "Sandwich and a Soda" to be the first single. It embodies the project; it is very happy, and it screams summer to me. I loved making this album, and the process was easy. It didn't feel like work, which is always nice. I'm excited about it.
SR: Like you said, this is your sixth studio album and 20 years in the game. Is making music a hobby for you now? Are you still hungry?
Tamia: You can't be in the music business as a hobby, it will eat you up alive. This is a business! The music part is the easy part. There is always the business aspect, and this business is not the business to play around in. I still love it; I'm still hungry. There are things musically that I want to do. I am still passionate about it now like I was at 17 when I signed my first deal.
SR: What are some of those things you would like to accomplish?
Tamia: This project and continuing on. Vocally you know, there are some things I would like to do. I have an idea for another project already but right now, I'm interested in touring. I haven't done that in a little while, and I'm excited about getting on the road and bringing Love Life to life.
SR: So, you're not shooting for any accolades or awards?
Tamia: I want a Grammy; I was close, and I've been close several times. I don't know; I try to stay focused on the music and on the growth musically as an artist, vocally and as a woman. You try not to do things for accolades. When I do a project, I put every song on the album because I love it, and I can't wait to perform it, not because I hope everyone else likes it. It is always nice when you get recognized, and everyone else likes it. It would be a great thing. One of these days!
SR: You've been independent for a while, and now you are with Def Jam. How has the transition been? Are there more hands in the pot or loss of creative control?
Tamia: No, No. I kind of have the best of both worlds because I did the last two projects independently, and now this is a joint venture with Def Jam. I still can do my thing, and they are able to do their thing. One of the reasons why I decided to come over to Def Jam is at a meeting they basically told me to 'continue to do what you're doing; we want to help you with your vision.' It's been a great experience, and the business has certainly changed. Being independent for those years has helped me understand the business, which has been good for Def Jam and me. It has been a great experiences.
SR: As you speak about the business and your longevity. Are you happy with the direction it is in now, streaming and social media driven? Do you think the record labels can get a better grip on that?
Tamia: I do know that the music business is forever changing, the way people consume music is forever changing. I was just in conversation about how giving it away free makes people want to buy it. I am still trying to get that concept down. I think it is important to evolve and stay ahead of the game and understand how people are consuming music. For artists like myself, I haven't been affected by streaming or getting the record ahead of time and not getting record sales. You can argue that the more, the merrier; the more people that hear it, the better for me. I think the music business is forever changing and that we are consuming things very quickly. For artists, to create a career, it becomes difficult because you have to get people invested in who you are as an artist. They want to know you to want to buy an entire album of you. You can sing the top 20 songs on the charts now, and you wouldn't know the person unless they walked in the room and told you they sung the song. You can have a number 1 song, but people need to be invested in you and interested in who you are as an artist if you want to have a career. We're just turning over music so quickly!
SR: You and Grant Hill have been married for 15 years. Now tell me the truth. Is this album a little braggadocious knowing that you guys can sustain in a time when marriages don't last?
Tamia: Every relationship is different. I would never be braggadocios… I do feel very blessed that I do have someone in my life who has been a great partner and certainly you can hear it on this album. I have the freedom to just sing whatever is in my heart. This album is a testament to love. Maybe I am bragging a little bit [laughs]. You can listen to the album, and you can brag to whoever you play it for.
SR: We are in the time where camera phones and social media captures everything. Everyone is in your business! What kind of advice can you give to the next couple on how to maintain the trust with all these obstacles in their way?
Tamia: Relationships are based on trust. I don’t think that you can stop someone from what they're going to do. You're two adults; you can’t monitor someone 24/7. You have to have communication and trust in a relationship. You have to build that; it doesn't come automatically. You have to build trust. What I would say to a couple is continue to communicate with each other through the good, the bad and the ugly. Talk it out and stay connected.
SR: I know we spoke about accolades, and you mentioned wanting to win a Grammy. As an artist with several classic records, do you ever get frustrated for not received recognitions for them.
Tamia: I look at the things I've done in the past, and I feel blessed by it. When I think about working with Quincy Jones and Baby Face; So many great artists that I've worked with. I'm very blessed that I've been able to have a career over the last 20 years. Its been bubbling and bubbling, and it hasn't blown. You can't help but to feel humbled and blessed at the same time. I am still here doing what I love, working on this project, speaking to you again about relevant music that I'm doing right now. I try not to look at the negatives and look at the positives but still making sure I try and grow. Maybe there were some things that I could've done better the last time that would've gotten me here. I want to improve and make it better every time.
SR: Do you have any special plans for Tamia 20.
I am just really excited about touring. It's been a while, and I'm really excited to get out there and make Love Life come to life.
SR: Can you give us your Claire Huxtable secret as to how you never age?
Tamia: I think happiness and not taking things too seriously. I mean, life happens and crazy stuff happens and things you can't control, but you have to let it go and keep moving. I think just having a healthy outlook on life can keep you young. I have no idea [laughs], I mean genetics, I don’t know. Stress will age you quickly. You know there are people called energy robbers. People you hang around, and you feel stressed right away, and you feel you are aging at rapid speed. You have to move those people out of your life. Even when it comes down to dealing with stuff that happens in life, have people in your life that are honest and can be your springboard and tell you you're tripping. Good friends keep you young. You should have a group of people you trust, or one person you trust. It can be your friend, mother, husband or sister. I think it's good to have a sounding board to be able to have someone you can bounce things off of.
SR: So, if the producers of RB Divas reach out to you, would you do the show?
Tamia: No, I wouldn't want you to see that side of me…just joking. I don't have anything against Reality TV and in many cases it has been a platform for people. It's not something I'm interested in doing. If it wasn't based on your personal life like judging on a reality show, I would do something like that. Something so personal at this point, that isn't something I can see me wanting to do.
SR: What is one of your unforgettable moments that make you smile?
Tamia: An unforgettable moment…Lots of moments come up, some that I can't share. Relating to music, I remember when I first came out and I was working on my signature. It was a moment… working on what would be a signature to use only it when we got to Japan, and someone asked me for my autograph. I wrote a long paragraph, and Quincy [Jones] was like that will change. He said soon it will be: Always, Love Tamia.