Teedra Moses has slinked behind the scenes of the music industry for a few years now. Since her last project, Complex Simplicity, the soulful R&B songbird has been perfomring live shows and even dropped a couple mixtapes; however, fans still want to know what's up with the "missing" lioness. VIBE Vixen caught up with New Orleans native daughter and talked about a possible Maybach Music label deal, Complex Simplicity vs. The Lioness and who she feels is reviving R&B. -Niki McGloster
Tell me what’s been going over the last few years. A lot of people have been asking, ‘Where’s Teedra?’
I’m sure people know at this point that TVT--the record label that I was signed to--they went bankrupt in 2008. Before 2008, I’d come to the decision that TVT was the place I wanted to be at any longer. If there was some way we could have successfully moved forward, I would’ve tried, but the whole battery behind that machine, the whole energy that made that thing come together and move wasn’t there anymore. I lost a lot of money with lawyers trying to get off that label, and if I would’ve known it was just gonna fall apart, I wouldn't have wasted my money. But I got through that and then, I just had to take a second to just figure out how I was going to continue doing this. I didn’t want to run directly to a new label ‘cause I just needed to figure out what I wanted, just what I was doing period.
You stayed relevant in your own way though because you kept doing live shows and releasing mixtapes.
Yeah, I started doing way more shows around that time, and I think a lot of the biggest promotion for my album came around that time. I started grinding so much more and more people had become aware of me. I continued to put out mixtapes, you know. The Young Hustla was the first mixtape I put out before my album came out because I was frustrated waiting for TVT to put out my album. Then after my album came out, I was frustrated waiting to get the opportunity to put out a second album, and I hit the road. I did a live mixtape, Live From The Jungle. Then I didn’t have any way to put out an album because I didn’t have a label, so I put out Lionhearted. Basically, it was all songs that were sitting here and I gave them to the people. In 2010, I put out my last mixtape called Royal Patience, and that was just something for fans of the music.
Each mixtape had a purpose- Lionhearted was when I was really scared, so I had to be courageous and Royal Patience was more of me holding onto to my faith. Be patient. You have talent, people want to hear from you, keep going, just be patient.
Do you think TVT going bankrupt was more of a blessing for you than anything?
Ooh yes! Have you ever been in a bad relationship and you’re just sitting there and you know this shit is dead wrong but you can’t find the gumption to get out of it? In this situation with TVT, I had all the gumption in the world. I love Steve Gottlieb, and I mean that because he gave me the opportunity to give my music to the world, but dude was not letting go of nothing. He had people in his label that were inactive for 10 years! He didn’t care. He wasn’t going to let me go, so it was a huge blessing.
What was the reason for the discord? They weren’t pushing your music and not trying to let you out of your contract?
We just didn’t agree. I remember having a meeting with the marketing person after Complex Simplicity came out. I recall sitting with him and him saying, ‘Well, you know, Complex Simplicity didn’t really have any singles.’ And I was like, ‘Word?’ [Laughs] I remember being on the road for the album and the album not being available in stores, so there were a lot of things that happened. They just didn’t know what they were doing, nor did I. Bottom line.
That’s a serious struggle. There are so many artists, even now, hating their labels for the same reasons. Did you hit a low point or were you depressed at all during this whole battle with TVT?
The great thing is, I didn’t reach my emotional down point until I hit my financial down point. Luckily, before TVT went bankrupt, I was making money writing, so I did really, really well. Then there was another situation I fell into legally with one of my biggest records, and that sent me into a financial whirlwind. After TVT went bankrupt, that’s when the financial thing hit me. Nothing really depresses me except not being able to do what I’m supposed to do for my children; Nothing else really gets to me.
Regardless of that situation, it’s a good thing that you stayed pretty present afterwards. I guess if people are only following your albums, they may think you were gone, but you really weren't.
The funny thing is that people come up to me, in recent times, and say, ‘Oh my God, I got your new album and it’s great!’ And they’re talking about Complex Simplicity. That’s so crazy to me that I can still win people with one album, but it’s not even a me thing, it’s really God and what he has for my life.
Now that you’re an independent artist, do you want that major label machine behind you again?
I do want a label, and I'm talking with people. I've had a label before so you can't get me with the lure of 'Oh, we gon' sign you!' That don't mean shit to me, you know? [Laughs] That don't mean nothing because if you don't believe then that don't mean nothing. The number one thing with me is do you get it?
I had this experience: The night of my birthday. We went out, we had drinks, me and my friends. We went to this little lounge place that I go to here in Miami. I came home, and I'm just having this really good birthday…and going into this birthday I never felt so strong. I never felt so boss! I just really felt like the lioness to the truest form, like nothing could mess with me. I'm coming home, it's like 4 o'clock in the morning and I just hop on Twitter. I never check my DM's because I don't really talk to people on the DM's, but I look at my DM's and I see that Rick Ross hits me and was like, "Who you signed to? I doing this company…" blah blah blah. I'm like cool! He likes my music and that always makes you feel good when your peers acknowledge that you're good too. From that point on, we kinda start talking. He lives down here in Miami too, so I start going over there and catch the vibe with him. He hustles really, really hard, so whenever he was in town, I would go over there and check him out and do tracks and just vibe.
When was this?
He hit me in December; we started communicating in January. And you know, I really like them. I like the fact that he's an artist that understands what I'm doing. He always says, 'You my Anita Baker.' Like, he understands what I'm doing. Not saying that I'm Anita Baker, but that's kinda the way I wanted to do it. I want somebody to say, 'Hey, this girl is hustling. She does her thing. Why is nobody signing her?' I never wanted to go to them and beg. So… we're talking and I really rock with them. I'm considering that very strongly, as he is considering it very strongly.
Wow. So Maybach Music could be the new home for you?
I believe so. Yeah. I like the way they move, and I like the hunger over, and I like that it's all about work. As much as Rick talks about the glitz and glamour or whatever, he goes hard and he works hard, so I rock with that. And that's what I do. I work hard, I rock shows, I touch the people and I try to make good music. I'm not really into the hoopla.
Now, I don't know if you can or cannot talk about this, but when will this be developing? I know he just recently signed some people, so will you sign this summer or something later in the year…?
Oh, I'm more than sure. We are in close talks and working on the compilation now.
Yeah, I'm giving songs to the compilation. Hey, listen-- I'm so simple. I'm big on vibe, and it's not enough for somebody to say they like your music and I rock with you. I have to see how you roll. I really just went over to his camp and just scoping it out to see if it's somewhere I can fit. He has Wale and Meek Mills and then the people that are around him that just came up with him, that's a big deal to me. You know, I feel comfortable at this point, so I think it's something that's going to be probably by the summer.
That’s going to be nuts. It seems that much is to be expected from that compilation album, as well as your upcoming album The Lioness. Tell me about how this album compares to Complex Simplicity.