On Music: Artists pay tribute to Teena Marie

By Jim Hagerty
Staff Writer

Just hours after R&B great Teena Marie died, a host of her contemporaries were busy writing public tributes to the singer. Marie died Sunday, Dec. 26, of what has been announced as natural causes.

Mary J. Blige, Alicia Keys and several music media outlets made public statements about the influence Marie’s 30-year career has had on today’s music.

“(Teena Marie) inspired me vocally as a child,” Mary J. Blige tweeted. “I sang (her songs) in the mirror with a hairbrush. So rest in peace, I love you. Every girl that grew up in the ’hood, with her blasting through the windows, cars and radio waves can feel me.”

Alicia Keys praised Marie’s music for its timelessness, saying certain songs “just have ‘that thing.’”

A host of Teena Marie collaborators such as Smokey Robinson and Rick James were listed at MTV.com, while Soul Train reps remembered Marie, known as the Ivory Queen of Soul, for being one of the first white performers to find commercial success singing primarily black music.

Teena Marie recorded 13 studio albums on four different labels, seven compilation projects and released 30 singles. A staple during MTV’s early years, Marie scored a No. 4 single in 1984 with “Lovergirl.” Rick James wrote all but one track on her 1979 debut, Wild and Peaceful. The single, “I’m Just a Sucker for Your Love,” a duet with James, reached No. 8 on the Black Singles chart.

Marie was scheduled to make several appearances in coming months, including a January 2011 show in Los Angeles. She was 54.

From the Dec. 29-Jan. 4, 2011 issue

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