Saturday, December 22, 2012
"Beautiful," Teena Marie's Final Album, To Be Released 1/15/2013
I've been getting behind the groove of Teena Marie's catalog quite a bit lately. Hard to believe it's been almost two years since her death. Like many, I was shocked and saddened by her passing. Having been touched by her music for so long, it's a loss that I, like many I'm sure, still have yet to get over. Much to my surprise, I discovered Teena Marie's final album, Beautiful, will be released on January 15, 2013!
Teena Marie was in the process of finalizing her 14th album just before she died. Composer/bassist Doug Grigsby, Marie's longtime musical director, co-produced the project and Alia Rose, Marie's daughter, oversaw the completion of the project. Alia performs on three songs, a cover of Curtis Mayfield's "Give Me Your Love," "Rare Breed," and "Sweet Tooth" (both of which she co-wrote along with the title track). According to Urban Bridgez Entertainment, Beautiful, "with its intimations of death, was a difficult one for Alia, with her mom seemingly prescient about her destiny..." Alia said, "If you listen to the lyrics, it’s almost as if she was making that transition to the spiritual world as the record was being made, which is incredible...It’s like we’re going on this journey with her."
One can only imagine what it's like losing your mother and going into the studio to finish what would be her final album. Alia said it was a "a very dark and emotional time for her," but she knew she was the only one who could finalize her mother's album. She said she "almost didn’t want to finish [Beautiful] because [she] knew it would be the last time [she'd] get to work on it." As perfectly stated by Urban Bridgez Entertainment, "Beautiful is a mother’s gift to her daughter, who returns the gesture the only way she knows how, by completing it. The end result is a true labor of love."
The first single, "Luv Letter," is classic Lady T—soulful, passionate, and funky. The song is a tribute to Alia Rose's father, who was a postman, and pays homage to The Marvelettes and Stevie Wonder, specifically his hit "Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)." The single was sent to radio in November and is available for purchase on iTunes and Amazon. If you haven't heard it yet, check it out on Soul Tracks or Urban Bridgez Entertainment.
Beautiful is a bittersweet opus that I'm sure will add to Marie's iconic, awe-inspiring, poetic, and rich musical legacy. The album is currently available for pre-order on Amazon.