Listening to Teyana Taylor’s music is like experiencing love for the very first time. She sweeps you of your feet with soulful tunes that spark feelings you never knew existed. Her range alone puts her a class with some of the greatest musicians of our time. Between her unique, raspy alto voice, her honest, candid lyrics, and the smooth combination of 90’s feel-good music with a hint of that Harlem flavor, Teyana Taylor’s collection of work is worthy of praise.
I’ve been a fan of Teyana since her appearance on MTV’s My Super Sweet Sixteen. At 16 years old, the singer, showed she had personality and presence. When she began releasing music, I followed her career more intensely. I knew with her talent, she’d be stacking Grammy Awards left and right. I learned more about Teyana’s commitment to artistry when she released VII. The body of work confirmed that she was not the little girl from Sweet 16. She was grown, and she was gonna prove that to you through her lyrics.
I always knew Teyana Taylor was uniquely talented, but the world finally caught on when she appeared in Kanye West’s Fade video. All of a sudden major publications were wondering, “Who’s that new girl that Kanye put in his video?” While I was happy the singer, song-writer, choreographer, director, producer and actress was finally getting deserved recognition, it’s clear the world still hasn’t caught up to hope dope Teyana really is.
Now that she had the world’s attention, it was the perfect time to put out new music. In 2018, she released her second studio album K.T.S.E. (Keep That Same Energy). Although the 23 minute, 8-track album, was phenomenal, it felt like a slight to her as an artist. She expressed her disappointment in the way her label G.O.O.D. Music handled of her album and thought it felt rushed. K.T.S.E. didn’t win any major awards, but Teyana managed to showcase other talents by directing and producing the music videos to her songs.
This year, Teyana released The Album. The 23-track collection featured artists like Erykah Badu, Kehlani, Lauryn Hill, Future, Rick Ross, Quavo, Elton John, Big Sean, Missy Elliot and her daughter Junie. This body of work showed the growth and evolution of Teyana. Her days of encouraging people to “Google Me” were long gone, as the artist had become a household name. She’s won awards; acted in movies; she’s been the pen behind some of our favorite songs; she’s been the choreographer behind our favorite music videos; she’s a mother; she’s a wife, she’s a designer, and so much more. Despite all of those accolades, Teyana Taylor is widely underrated as a musician.
Last week a bunch of musicians took to social media to express their disappointment with the lack of acknowledgement and representation in the Grammy nominations. Among the artists to feel slighted was Teyana Taylor. Rightfully so. The Album debuted at the number 8 spot on the Billboard 200.
Teyana shared her frustration for her journey while expressing her gratitude to the fans for streaming her music over 162.8 million times on Spotify in an Instagram post:
“Wow, who did that? Y’all did that! 🥺Thank you 💗 I ain’t gone front in times of feeling super under appreciated as a artist, receiving little to no real push from the “machine”, constantly getting the shorter end of the stick, being overlooked, I mean the list on and on lol.. I’m retiring this chapter of my story with the comfort that i can depart with peace of mind seeing that all the hard work & passion put in was indeed loved & supported somewhere in the world! To all my supporters from day 1 & all my new ones I love you and I thank you for everything & don’t worry y’all know 🤎 all hustlers have the understanding that when one door closes another will open…either that or I’m pickin da locks petunia!!! So wassup😜🤎😘”
In a world where under-appreciated artist get their flowers when its too late, I want to take the time to really hand Teyana Taylor a bed of roses, a field of tulips, and a farm full of daisies. Although she’s eluding to closing her chapter in music, I firmly believe that singing and song-writing runs deep in her blood. She represents a rare artistry that can’t just sit on the sidelines. In order to keep classic R&B alive, we need the unique, modern voices of artists like Teyana Taylor, Summer Walker, and Jhene Aiko. They keep us connected to true R&B. Can you imagine the 90’s without a song from Toni Braxton or Mary J Blige? That’s who these artists are to today’s music.
When it feels like your first love doesn’t quite love you back, you move onto other experiences. Teyana’s other talents have made her financially fruitful so a walk away from music won’t be detrimental to her brand. Still, I hope that with time, that walk redirects her back into the studio so she can continue to breathe life into music.