Teena Marie dies at age 54

Teena MarieWe are very sad to report to SoulTrackers that Teena Marie, one of the staples of 80s R&B and a unique singer, has died at age 54. Teena reportedly had a major seizure about a month ago that led to her death.

A protege of Rick James at Motown, Teena Marie became one of the biggest stars of her generation, particularly among urban audiences, with monster hits like "Lover Girl," "I Need Your Lovin'" and "Square Biz."  After years away from recording, Teena made a big comeback over the last half decade and re-established herself as a formidable singer and songwriter.  Last year she scored a big hit with her album Congo Square.  She will be missed.

Teena MarieWe are very sad to report to SoulTrackers that Teena Marie, one of the staples of 80s R&B and a unique singer, has died at age 54. Teena reportedly had a major seizure about a month ago that led to her death.

A protege of Rick James at Motown, Teena Marie became one of the biggest stars of her generation, particularly among urban audiences, with monster hits like "Lover Girl," "I Need Your Lovin'" and "Square Biz."  After years away from recording, Teena made a big comeback over the last half decade and re-established herself as a formidable singer and songwriter.  Last year she scored a big hit with her album Congo Square.  She will be missed.

Here is the statement we received from Stax Records, Teena's label:

Stax Records/Concord Music Group's statement on the passing of Teena Marie:

December 26th, 2010 - Stax Records, the Concord Music Group family and millions of fans around the world, lost a great artist and friend on Sunday when soul music icon Teena Marie died at the age of 54.

An internationally renowned singer, songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist and performer, Teena Marie, released her thirteenth and final album, CONGO SQUARE on June 9, 2009 for legendary soul music label Stax Records. The critically acclaimed collection was a personal milestone for the iconic, Grammy nominated soul music star and Rhythm &Blues Awards Lifetime Achievement recipient as it marked her 30th year in the industry she loved.

Teena Marie left a sensational musical legacy.  Making her debut in 1979, her sublime musical eclecticism took soul music in new directions, swiftly earning her a hallowed and singular place in the hearts of R&B purists.  Throughout her groundbreaking accomplishments, Teena remained humble, unpretentious and refreshingly down-to-earth.   Her talent was matched only by her kindness of spirit.  She collaborated with musical giants throughout her career and they reciprocated with the kind of love and respect that indicated she was truly one of them.

"The enduring influence of Teena's inspirational, trailblazing career, could only have been made possible through her brilliant song-writing, showmanship andhigh energy passion which laid the ground work for the future generations of R&B, hip-hop, and soul," stated Concord Music Group chief label officer, Gene Rumsey.  "We feel extremely fortunate to have worked with a visionary who changed music in indelible ways.  Our deepest sympathies go out to her family, friends and of course, millions of fans around the world."

A few years ago, longtime soul music writer David Nathan wrote a short bio and interview with Teena, which he shared with us:

She is quite simply, one of a kind, a phenomenon of sorts in the world of soul music.  For an amazing twenty-five years - since her Motown debut "Wild And Peaceful" - hit the streets, Teena Marie has been delivering her own brand of classic R&B to a loyal, steadfast (and primarily black) audience.  Even though she hasn't had a new release since her "Passion Play" on her own Sarai label in 1994, Teena hasn't stopped working, touring constantly and offering those die-hard fans the kind of hardcore, intense emotionally-driven vocalizing that has made her a serious fixture on the music scene. READ MORE


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