Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Celebrated Voice : Teena Marie

While reflecting recently on cherished friendships present and past, I realized and enjoy the memory's ability to recall bits of details that, maybe at the moment, did not cause impact or difference, but become more vibrant as time adds more color, more detail.

Teena Marie's voice resonated with many, but I loved to hear the hint of emulation in Keisha's voice. Long ago I was lucky to see an ad in Backstage magazine looking for a young Latina R&B singer to audition for an all Latina R&B group back in 1998. After auditioning I met Keisha, the core of the group and the voice that carried each song.

I remember one of the first artists to ever arise in conversation with Keisha was with regards to our favorite singers, her's being Teena Marie. People make that claim everyday, who their favorites are, but over the years I loved to see how true this was for Keish.

Keisha carried her admiration in the voice she projected during every song she sang. Our voice is ultimately born of our genes, but I can hear the fingerprint left behind from influence. Keisha's admiration made me discover more music by Teena, and I loved every minute. Teena's power and emotion left its own small fingerprint on my voice and love of music. Keisha displayed her admiration for singing and for Teena by singing her favorite song "Out on A Limb" at the Apollo Theater in Harlem for Amateur night, to the cheering and applause of a notoriously unapologetic harsh crowd.

We all wish to seek learning, hearing, seeing new things from those we admire. We never know how long we have to keep learning, keep hearing, seeing. When the time comes and those we admire leave us, all we have left is what they left in our hearts and minds. Although sad to know Teena Marie has left us, I am grateful for her voice and grateful to watch and hear a piece of her exist on in those she has touched.

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