Slip-n-Slide Records has produced some of the largest names, not only come out of Miami, but the entire south: Trina, Trick Daddy, and Rick Ross to name a few. Though a typically Hip-Hop and R&B-focused label, Slip-n-Slide deals in many genres. Their latest signee, singer Teenear, doesn’t want to be defined by a certain category. Over the course of the last few months, Teenear has released various singles including “Streetlights” and “Friday Night ft. Sage The Gemini” We recently spoke to her in an exclusive interview to discuss her journey to building a brand, her attitude towards social media, and much more.
Reading your bio online it says that, “Music found [you] at three”. Can you elaborate on what that means? Normally you hear it the other way around in terms of, “I found music.”
It more or less means I just found music. I just grew up around music. I’ve just always loved it. It’s been a passion since then. The very first time I sang in front of everyone was when I was five. So it’s just been a love since I was a little girl.
That makes sense. Going back to being a little kid and finding music, I remember reading that Michael Jackson had an extremely valuable impact on you and the sound you wanted to develop. Was there anything in particular about him that impacted you in being the artist you are today?
Well, I love Michael Jackson simply because he started music when he was young and stuck with it. He built his name into a brand focused around music. That is my ultimate goal as an artist. I want to make sure that I build a brand from my name and make it really positive. It was a whole bunch of things about Michael Jackson and one thing that really stuck out to me was the fact that he wrote down what he wanted for his life before it happened. The fact that he wrote down what he wanted for his life before it happened, it makes me want to believe that if I believe in myself, there is nothing that can stop me. That’s what really makes me love Michael Jackson.
Are there any other artists who have influenced you in your development as an artist?
I would definitely say that Beyonce is one of them as well because like I said before, “The brand thing is a big thing for me.” She’s built an unbelievable brand that is going to follow her even after she’s gone. Along with a Michael Jackson, those two are my biggest inspirations because that’s what I want to do for myself. I want people to be able to look at me and see something positive. Not only see my music, but a brand and business behind it.
I definitely understand, as a lot of today’s artist are doing a multitude of things. Beyonce’s got clothing, Tidal and really just a whole bunch of things across the board.
Speaking of positivity, I saw that advocacy plays an important role for you. Is there a particular focus you have regarding giving back?
I believe that now, it is really hard for people to believe in themselves and just to stay positive because of everything that goes on in social media. The only thing that I say that I am an advocate for is being positive, pushing all the negativity away, and doing you. Believing in yourself and doing what you want to do. Find something you love and just do it. Don’t listen to everything around you and what the world says. Do what you believe, that’s my main point.
Regarding your music, you’ve put out a few singles, would you say there is a particular focal point? A certain sound or topic that you’re trying to get across, or are you still trying to develop your sound?
I think I am really just developing my sound at this point, but I don’t want to be stuck in a certain category. I want to be able to stretch around in different categories and be very open so that I can target different audiences. I don’t want just to be R&B. I don’t want just to be Pop. Don’t want to be just about love stories and guys all the times. I just want my music to be different, fun and reflect who I am.
You don’t want to be pigeon-holed at the end of the day.
Have there been any experiences or opportunities that have stood out over the course of the last few years as you work on developing your sound, learning about the industry, working with other artists, etc.?
I will say I don’t think there was a specific experience. I know The Wright Sounds, they were a big part of my music. Meeting them just opened up my eyes to a whole new creative process because they had such a big passion for music and it showed me that there is still a lot of love in the music. It isn’t just about social media and all of the other things. I feel like right now, social media has gotten so big that music has lost its passion. They just reminded me that you can still love music and put out what you want while not focusing on everything else going on in the world.
So going back to your comment on social media, are you not a fan per say of social media? Does it play a role in your daily life, or is it more or less just for marketing purposes? I know for many people, the end all be all is “I have to get such-and-such number of likes and retweets.”
Right now social media has to be a big thing, but it is definitely not something that I like focusing on. I feel like it just blurs the entire art now because it’s just based on how many followers people have. I want to focus on my music, so I am always getting yelled at for social media. I am never on Twitter, to be honest with you. I can do Instagram and Snapchat, but Twitter I don’t like going on there. Social media isn’t something that I focus on every day, but I guess I need to nowadays because it’s huge.
As you’re working on music, what’s in the pipelines that we can look forward to and that you’re looking forward to yourself?
I have a lot of new songs coming out that I am really excited about, and they’re all different. None of them reflect the same sound as the first single “Fright Night” or “Streetlights” that just came out. I am excited to see the different responses I get. I’m really just focusing on working on my music right now and from there we’ll see what comes out of it.
What’s something that you like to do for fun when you’re not in the studio or working on music?
For fun, I like baking. I bake all the time. I also love to paint and draw. Anything that has to do with art, that’s what I’m into. Those are my different hobbies; I paint all the time.
Any particular subject matter that you like to paint?
No, just whatever comes to my mind at that moment. I sit there in my room and just start doing whatever comes to my mind.
I also read that you’re in school pursuing a business degree.
Yes, I’m doing online classes, and I am focused on business management. Like I said, “I want to build a brand.” I figured that was a good way to start. Just to have another perspective and to learn a lot more about the business. When I was graduating from high school, I was actually going to be going to an arts college in California because I am big on music theater. Acting and singing are my two passions, so that was my first plan. Since we put out my first single “Friday Night,” I decided to stay home and do online classes.
Anything with acting coming up?
I am definitely starting auditions soon because I just got signed to a talent agency in L.A., so they’re going to be sending me a lot of work soon that I am excited about.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share?
I am very big on my faith. I put God first in everything that I do. I want that to reflect in everything that I do. So just know when you follow me on social media, you’re going to get a lot of positivity. You’re going to hear a lot about my faith throughout my career.
There is nothing wrong with positivity especially in today’s day and age. Is there anyone else on the label Slip-n-Slide Records that you recommend we keep an eye out for?
Well, there’s Sebastian, he’s so talented. Amazingly talented and I know that he has a lot of new stuff out. Definitely look out for Sebastian Mikael.