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The newly crowned "Princess Of the Roc," Teairra Marí, wasn't even born when Eric B. and Rakim unleashed "My Melody," the hip-hop classic whose sample is featured in her debut single, "Make Her Feel Good." But when the 17-year-old Detroit native heard the bass-heavy gem recycled she immediately knew she had found the cornerstone of her signature sound. Teairra Marí recalls, "When I heard that track, I was like, 'This is the one, because it's simple but also huge.'" The single is the introduction to Teairra Marí's debut Roc-A-Fella Records release, Roc-A-Fella Records Presents… Teairra Marí.
The enthusiasm that "Make Her Feel Good" set off at The Island Def Jam Music Group marked a defining moment in Teairra Mari's young career, which began at age 12 when she started recording rough demos in her cousin's basement. Despite scoring a local radio hit with one of those early songs, four years passed before a new Teairra Marí's demo landed on the desk of Island Def Jam Group Chairman, Antonio 'LA' Reid, who signed the then 16-year-old singer on the spot at a brief meeting where she performed live.
The demo was first heard by Daryl Simmons and Anthony "TA" Tate. Anthony "TA" Tate then signed Teairra Marí to his production company, Music Line Entertainment. "I couldn't believe it," she says. "I was crying because I was so happy. I feel like everyone's behind me, which is a great feeling to have coming from a time when it seemed that nobody believed in me or wanted to hear me." This was also the beginning for Teairra Mari her mother/manager and their company, "On The Rise Entertainment."
In the first creative collaboration since Shawn " Jay-Z" Carter became President of Def Jam Music Group, he and LA Reid recruited hit-making songwriter, Sean Garrett ("Lose My Breath," "Goodies," "Yeah!"), to help translate Teairra Marí's innermost thoughts and emotions into lyrics. "Make Her Feel Good" is just a peek into Roc-A-Fella Records Presents… Teairra Marí, which she describes as "a girl's dictionary."
"When Sean started writing the lyrics for "Make Her Feel Good," it was because of stories I was telling him about my guy friends," explains Teairra Marí, whose musical influences and inspirations include Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin (her grandmother sang back-up for the Queen of Soul), Prince, Sade, Patti LaBelle, and Minnie Ripperton. "I was like, 'I'm sick of this guy; he won't call me.' I was sitting right there when Sean was writing the song, and I was just basically telling him about how I deal with guys. When the song was finished, I was like, ' Yes! That is me! That's what I go through all the time.' Not only is it me, it's other girls too. Other girls can relate because I know that's how they feel. Every girl that has heard the song is like, 'Omigod! Thank you, Teairra.'"
"Everybody at the label was excited when they heard 'Make Her Feel Good,'" Teairra Marí remembers. "The whole building was just shaking. Jay-Z was like, 'You have so much personality, and I love it.'" Because of the real and uncensored emotion portrayed in the song, Shawn Carter, felt Teairra Marí's debut album was a natural to be released under the Roc-A-Fella Records brand.
In addition to honestly representing a young woman's point of view on life, Teairra Marí is excited about representing for her hometown, Detroit. "Right now, everything's all about the whole Southern movement, so me coming in from the Midwest is like a breath of fresh air. There's no other city in America like Detroit. It's just fly, and I love it. Our swagger, the way we dress--everything is so different and laid back, which is how I am. You walk up the street and everybody has a different colored mink, Cartier glasses--everything. We like to floss and be seen, so we don't have to say much. Every time someone sees me, they say, 'Girl, you sharp!' and I respond, ' Yes, I'm from Detroit.'"
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