R&B singer Teenear creates music that reflects life
The young R&B singer opened up about being an emerging artist, creating through the coronavirus pandemic, and more.
Breaking into the music industry has officially become a digital game, and emerging R&B star Teenear is taking full advantage. The Miami-bred R&B singer, signed to the infamous Slip-N-Slide Records, began generating buzz as an artist by uploading covers of popular songs on YouTube.
Today, she’s singing her own lyrics, expressing her own thoughts, and carving her own lane among Gen-Z R&B talent.
For Teenear, who has been singing since the age of three, a music career seemed to be her destiny since day one. Her early start came from pageants, talent shows, and church, all stages where she learned how to perform and captivate an audience.
“My music pretty much reflects just who I am at the moment,” she told theGrio. “I love hearing when people can connect to whatever it is I’m singing about, and they tell me their stories behind it and how it helped them. Music is very healing, and I love the power behind it, and that encourages me a lot.”
Five years ago, she released her debut single “Friday Night” featuring west coast rapper Sage The Gemini and has steadily built her career since. In November, she released the song “Special Attention,” a sultry single showing fans a more intimate, sensual side.
theGrio caught up with Teenear, who shared more details on her latest song, her musical inspirations, and how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted her artistry. Read the full interview below:
theGrio: How was it shooting the music video for “Special Attention?”
Teenear: Honestly, that entire video for me was so nerve-wracking because I’ve never done something like that before. At the same time, I was excited because I wanted everyone to see a different side of me—for example, the hoop scene from the video. I was leaving the gym one morning, and I just kept seeing that play around in my head, and I was like, I have to do this in my video. I started calling everyone, the choreographer, my project manager, and that week, I did three classes. The video shoot was that weekend on Friday, I learned how to get on an aerial hoop, and I thought it was an amazing addition to my video. It came out so pretty.
tG: Can fans expect a remix or an extended version of ‘Special Attention?”
T: I honestly love this record so much! A remix can happen, not saying it will happen, but I would love to hear somebody else’s point of view on it too.
tG: What does your song “Free” mean to you? Can you share the creative process?
T: That song came from a place of wanting to free myself from something that was holding me back. Originally, I really wanted it to be big on empowering women, because there are so many different situations, not only in my field, where women can feel held back. That song helped me break free from whatever was restricting me and I wanted people to be able to feel. It was a good track to release to let people just feel motivated and feel empowered, and liberated in a way and feel good within themselves.
I remember when we were planning to release that song, I was super nervous about it because it was a sensitive topic. But I feel like the fact that I was able to use my voice made me free myself. I feel like it liberated me even more because I was able to express it to other people. People sharing how the song makes them feel encourages me to keep doing what I’m doing.
tG: Has the pandemic, social justice movements, and other 2020 events impacted you creatively?
T: When it comes to the situation with the police brutality and everything for me, I had a really big moment where I just had to take a step back and really evaluate what I wanted to do and how I wanted people to see me and just like myself in general. And I feel like it helped me open up and just become more of who I am today. There’s so much more growing I have to do.
I feel like I got to tap into [myself] more and what I love to do during the quarantine. I remember at the beginning of quarantine, I had just put out a new single, “Come See Me,” and I wasn’t sure how I was going to promote it. I was freaking out for a minute. I sat in my room, put up my camera, and started recording. I got to do a whole little quarantine video for myself, and I edited it. That experience was really cool because I got to learn a new field. This entire downtime has just been a time of growing for me, and I’ve enjoyed it.
tG: Can you remember any specific event that helped shape you into the musician that you are today?
T: Before I even knew that I wanted to be a singer, I was always kind of entertaining people. I didn’t realize that this was 100% what I wanted to do until I was in junior high. During that time, Justin Bieber was huge. I didn’t know who he was, but everyone at school kept screaming this boy’s name. I remember sitting in my bed one day, and I looked him up for like, hours. I came across this contest where you had to write to one of his instrumentals. I sat in my bed, and I just wrote for hours. That entire process of creating something sparked something in me.
From that moment, I was like, oh my God, this is what I love to do. Not only singing but creating. That was the moment that made me want to be an artist.
tG: Are there any of your peers that you would like to work with?
T: Definitely Kiana Lede; I love her so much! SZA, H.E.R, Kehlani, I listen to them all the time. I think they’re amazing and are doing a fantastic job in the R&B field right now. I also love K Camp. I have to do a song with K. Camp. He’s not a singer, but I’m obsessed with his music.
tG: What are you looking forward to most in 2021 regarding career growth or even personal growth?
T: The biggest goal for 2021 is stepping into my confidence 100% and owning it. In this whole world we live in, this social media world, you have moments where you can waver, and I’ve been really big on just staying true to who I am, especially the last few months. I’ve been getting to know myself more, so starting next year, I want to be in that 100% and build on that throughout the year.
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