Word spread like wild-fire across the Internet this evening that R&B songstress, Teena Marie, had passed away in her sleep. Within minutes, celebrities and reporters were confirming what no one wanted to believe; Teena Marie (aka Lady T, Vanilla Child, and the queen of “Blue Eyed-Soul”) was gone. If you were a follower of her Twitter account then you knew that Marie was one of those approachable celebrities with an easy smile and a ready word of encouragement.
Marie was a California girl born in 1956. She was a protégé of the late Rick James. Marie’s vocals were rich, robust, and dripped with soul, but that wasn’t all she had to offer. She was a poetic lyricist and talented musician who played the guitar, keyboard, and congas. Once you heard her style of syrupy sweet ballads or fast paced dance tracks that often featured her rapping over beats before there were female rappers, you either loved her or you didn’t. Marie topped the charts in the 70’s and 80’s with her hit singles, “I’m a Sucker for Your Love,” “Square Biz,” “Lovergirl,” “Ooo La La La” and “Fire & Desire” (her passionate duet with mentor, Rick James.) Yet true Marie fans fell in love with her lesser known album cuts: Songs like “Portuguese Love,” “Casanova Brown,” and “If I were a Bell.”
Teena Marie’s musical career spanned 30 years. She was an true a legend of R&B music. Her spirit and insatiable passion for music will be missed, but her gift of soul lives on.