SFPL had recently had the opportunity to talk with the multi-talented Teyana Taylor. The Harlem native, discussed her up-coming EP The Misunderstanding of Teyana Taylor, who inspires her musically, and her favorite must have items. Peep the interview after the jump!
1. Who or what inspires you musically?
My team, they keep me on a focused path. I love Lauryn Hill, Tony, Toni, Tone, Teena Marie, Michael Jackson, James Brown, Mary J. Blige. I am such an old soul. I love the he early 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s., and Jazz. My iTunes isn’t even updated yet. I like all genres, but definitely the earlier stuff.
2. How have you and your sound grown musically, from when you were first signed to now?
It’s definitely more mature. I was signed to Star Trak/Interscope at a young age and I was able to get a release from the label so that I do what I want to do musically. I am independent now, so I can talk more about love, relationships, pain and everything else that I’ve experienced since then. When I was young, I didn’t know if I meant what I was singing because I didn’t really know about or understand what I was saying. I knew about love and those things, but I hadn’t experienced it yet. Not being signed for so long, I’ve had so much inside that I wanted to talk about and things that I’ve been through and didn’t really have a chance to speak on. I feel like now, I can talk about and express everything through my music. I have the chance to do what I want to do and give the supporters and fans what they want.
3. When can we expect a mixtape/album and what should we expect?
My EP The Misunderstanding of Teyana Taylor drops February. 29th. I released the first single on New Years “ Make your move”, which features Wale’. The next single “D.U.I.” featuring Fabolous, drops next Tuesday February 14th. What u hear from my first single with Wale’, the EP is pretty much in that lane. The EP also features appearances from Meek Mill and Jadakiss as well.
4. What does the term “Fly” mean to you?
I don’t really use that word or say it too often. I usually say, “that’s dope or that’s mean”. Fly can’t really be defined. Fly could be so many different things from your personality, to the way you talk or how you dress. It’s who you are as a person; Fly is just being fly.
5. New York is known for its musical history and its huge influence in fashion; how has being form New York played a role in your sense of style and your musical direction?
Definitely! Harlem plays a big part in my sense of style. Swag is on a trillion up there. It’s just something you have being from Harlem. The EP is so dope. I’ve definitely been inspired by Mary J. Blige and Lauryn Hill and disco. My next single, which features Fabolous, is a tribute to Janet Jackson’s “Pleasure principal”. I definitely want to bring that sound back for the legends that I feel our generation is missing. I just want to bring back real music and. Good music is good music and I’m going to do it how I want to do it. I’m not going to do something just because that’s what everyone else is doing. I want to right when everyone else is going left; I just want to make good music.
6. What three words describe your personal style and why?
Swag, Harlem, and where the hood and high fashion meet. That’s my favorite Jay-z quote. Its crazy because when I heard that I was like, “wow that’s me!” I don’t try to hard; I don’t think too much of it. It’s all about finding that balance.
7. What is one clothing item or accessory that you absolutely can’t go without and why?
My phone, my laptop and my iPad; they even come before my wallet. As long as I have those, I’m good. I also need my lip gloss (red lip) and my eyebrow pencil. I feel like once your eyebrows are done, you don’t really need anything else or any type of make up; You’re good after that. Jackets and hats are my thing too.
8. If you could work for any Fashion designer for a day, who would it be and why?
Can I pick three or four?! Number one would have to be Alexander Wang. I think he is amazing. I love Rick Owens, and Philip Lim, Vivienne Westwood. That’s my steeze right there. That’s what I mean about where the hood and high fashion meet. It’s not always about the brand. You can have a couple good pieces and know how to use them. You can put a dope Rick Owens piece with a tee, a hat, and some jeans and make it work. I love clothes and I love fashion.
9. What do you think is the biggest misconception about you?
I think people just try to find their way. I have a lot to prove. I owe this to my fans and supporters and I haven’t been able to have the freedom to do what I want to do because I was under contract. It was a lot to own up to after sweet 16. I finally get to prove myself. I can finally give the fans and supporters what they want.
10. What would you like our readers to take away about you after reading this interview?
Keep your legs closed and your eyes open. I’m a virgin and I’m proud of it. Even if you’re not a virgin, I would tell you the same thing. This industry can be very ugly. You have to stand strong and know your worth and definitely have a relationship with God. You just have to pray to him. Sometimes I feel like the blogs worship gossip and focus more on the negative aspect of things. Everything on this on earth is temporary and at the end of the day, I don’t have to prove anything to anyone but him. Everything is definitely a blessing.
11. How did you get involved with McDonald’s “Flavor Battle” and what role do you play?
My mom actually told me about it and I am very excited to be apart of it. I am a celebrity judge along with Spinderella, Doug E. Fresh, DJ Irie, DJ Skribble and DJ JayCeeOh. I will also be hosting and interacting via Twitter during the competition as well. The Flavor Battle takes place tomorrow February 9th, and will also be broadcast online at www.flavorbattle.com.
12. What’s next for Teyana Taylor?
Directing music videos! I’ve been working with my mentor Taj Stansberry, and I directed my first music video for Erk tha Jerk. I’ve been styling, choreographing and just working on my music. I don’t know what else is next, but I know God has so much more in store for me.
The Misunderstanding of Teyana Taylor drops February 29th!
[Interview By Amber]