If you’re a music lover like I am, you probably consider music a form of therapy, a release, something powerful. When your best friend can’t answer her cell to listen to you vent about your cheating boyfriend, rekindling an old flame or taking life to the next level, you can always pop a Teedra Moses CD in. She understands, too. Anyone who listens to even thirty seconds of a Teedra track can feel the realness coming through the speakers.
Chances are, you may or may not have heard of Miss Moses, but that’s okay. A New Orleans native, Moses dropped her debut album, Complex Simplicity on TVT Records (home of Lil Jon and Ying Yang Twins), in 2004. With only two released singles, “You’ll Never Find (A Better Woman)” featuring Jadakiss and “Be Your Girl”, her following is massive. Her Myspace page (which is in my top 8) is flooded with comments from adoring fans wanting to know when she’s hitting their town or dropping another album.
One hot, blistery day, I found a quiet space to talk to Miss Moses by phone about her singing career, how she became her fans’ best friend and what’s next on the agenda. It was just like talking to one of my girls.
Without sounding like a stalker-fan (even though I am), I just had to know for myself when her sophomore album, The Young Lioness will be released. Not to fans’ liking, the release has been pushed back to the first quarter of 2008, but Teedra says it’s worth the wait. “I think it’s (the album) good—really good. I’m talking about real stuff that going on in my life,” she said. Maybe that’s what has fans hooked, her ability to write and record songs with so much feeling. “I try to see what the track pulls out of my heart,” she said.
“All That I Have” from The Young Lioness, which was written in fifteen minutes, talks about asking someone you care about to accept the love being offered. “If you can’t accept it, then I have to go on.” Another track, “Love’s Gonna Be”, from Young Hustla Volume 2: Live From The Jungle took two months to write. Even though the song’s theme wasn’t familiar to her life, she accepted the challenge to write it, saying writing is “kind of like seeing your future.” “It’s (music) all based on my life, but the process comes from different places.”
When she’s not recording, she’s writing, with artists, such as Mary J. Blige, Raphael Saadiq, Trina (“Here We Go”) and Christina Milian (“Dip It Low”) in her writing credits. Moses started her career in the industry working for a friend as an assistant stylist. She has styled for everyone from Will Smith to Gwen Stefani, but that wasn’t her destiny. “It was fun, but I wasn’t fulfilled in my life. I needed something that I could really stick to. God is so good because it panned out so easily.”
A mother of eleven-year-old twin boys, Teedra dived into music as a means to take care of her children. Even today, with all of her success, she never lets her career get in the way of what matters most. “It has to be balanced. I know I do it for them and they are a priority. If I’m not there, there’s a problem.” That’s what life seems to be to Teedra, in a nutshell—a balance. Complex Simplicity was recorded in a time when everything seemed so simple, she said. She even asked me what complex simplicity meant to me (it’s my Myspace name!). She agreed,“The simplicity of who you are is what makes you complicated.”
Referred to as her “baby”, she pinned “Backstroke” and “I Think of You (Shirley’s Song)”, a dedication to her deceased mother, as her favorites. Let’s not forget her fantasy of that first-time loving on “Take Me,” a duet with Raphael Saadiq or telling a no-good brother to kick rocks in “No More Tears.” Fast forward to now, the release of The Young Lioness is the buzz among fans. Moses attributes her growth in the industry and her faith to the title and theme of the album. “Life is like a jungle. Because of all of the confusion on my album, I was tricking myself into believing, ‘maybe I don’t have it.’ But God’s got it. You are a lioness in the jungle. I can survive, maintain my character, be the woman I am—be the queen of my jungle.”
In this album, Teedra tells her fans to grab what life has to offer. “I was feeling very strong. That’s the message of The Young Lioness. Get yours. Life is what you make of it. I know my worth. I’m not an angry woman, but a strong woman. We are queens. Now everyone wants to be a “bad bitch”, but who wants to be a queen?” Her favorite tracks on the album change everyday, she said. “Lay With You” shows that she is a true Prince fan, while “I Told You (Lioness Theme) addresses the fans and the haters, alike. “It’s saying ‘I’m okay.’ It’s a victorious song.”
This time around, Teedra taking her place in her jungle, regardless of her record label’s weak push to promote her. Most fans would say she hasn’t been given her due, not having such a hot album at the top of the charts or overflowing shows, but she’s happy with her fan base. “I’m so OK with the fan base. I wasn’t given enough opportunities for people to see or hear me. But they come to shows and pack them from the front to the back. That makes my whole world. You’re a friend of mine because you connect to my songs. What God has for you, no one can mess that up. At the end of the day, I love to make music. I hope my fans like it.”
No bizarre fan stories here, but she has been touched by young women crying and shaking when meeting her. Women aren’t the only ones feeling Teedra. Men are flocking to Teedra not only for her looks, but for her advice. “Men can relate to me, too. I try to speak so sincerely (about relationships) that maybe he can’t hear you, but he can hear me. I try to show some type of compromise (between women and men).” Lately, she has been gracing the cities of Washington, DC and Los Angeles with her raw talent. If you haven’t seen Miss Moses do her thing live, don’t worry, she has plans to tour once the new album drops.
If you can’t wait to connect with her, check out her Myspace page at www.myspace.com/teedramoses, which she maintains herself (yes, she replied to one of my messages). Read comments from loyal fans and even her personal blogs, such as “I Love You So…I Wanna Be Straight Up With You.”
Teedra never takes for granted her success and impact on real music lovers. That’s where the real factor comes in. “It still amazes me that people like it (music). It’s a dream that I didn’t know I had. There’s a group of girls: Lizzy, Rosie, and Monty, who take their own money to promote my album. I’m overwhelmed,” she says. Teedra has just one request from you. “Get to know me. That’s how I love Chaka (Khan) and Prince—getting to know them through their music. I’m trying to get friends, not fans.”
Thanks for being our girl, Teedra!