December 26 marks the second anniversary of the passing of legendary soul artist Teena Marie. Gone but not forgotten, her latest single, “Luv Letter,” is still climbing Media Base’s Urban AC chart (at No. 30 at press time). Her last body of work, a 12-track album called “Beautiful, will be released through Universal on January 15. The album was near completion before her untimely passing the day after Christmas in 2010. Her daughter Alia Rose, now 20, has made it her mission to complete the project and get it out there to her legion of fans, of which many are radio programmers and personalities, and other stars of the industry.
“She had so much soul,” declares longtime urban programmer John “Candyman” Candelaria, now PD of KOAS-FM (105.7The Oasis) and KVGS-FM (Bob FM 107.9) in Las Vegas. “First thing, she laid the groundwork or a lot of artists that are relevant today. Her range was incredible. When it comes to R&B, you better bring it. Her listeners knew she was real. She was accepted.”
Mark Dylan, OM/PD of KOKY-FM (12.23) in Little Rock, is another fan of Lady T, also referred to as the Ivory Queen of Soul.
“Teena Marie, in my opinion, had as much (if not more) impact on the R&B scene (and opened doors to female rappers) as Aretha/Anita/Whitney and all others who are considered top end trendsetters. Records like “Square Biz,” “I Need Your Lovin’,” “Fire and Desire,” “Dear Lover” and many more are as timeless as anyone else’s contributions to the genre. The only tragedy I see in her legacy was “General Market” (CHR-Hot AC) radio’s failure to embrace and understand how powerful a talent she always was. Their loss, because her legacy is set in stone at Black radio.”
Indeed, Teena Marie’s “Square Biz” was arguably the first female rap record. It went to No. 3 on Billboard’s R&B chart.
She was a favorite on Black radio, where her color did not matter. In fact, music industry icon Berry Gordy said about Teena Marie”¦ “The only thing white about her was her skin.” Listeners, programmers insist, did not care about that. “I would start by saying, the first thing people think about when hearing the name of the super star is: How can so much soul come from a white female?” comments Vic Jackson, PD and on-air personality at WMGU-FM (Magic 106.9) in Fayetteville, N.C. “She was the true definition of Blue-eyed soul singer. I honestly believe that my listeners didn’t care what (read more click “next” above or below)