Teyana Taylor has been a budding force in the industry for over a decade. Having finally released her long-overdue sophomore album K.T.S.E this past June, Taylor met with Playboy to discuss her trials, tribulations, and prolonged come-up for the magazine's September/October issue.
For the R&B songstress, patience has not always come so easy. “Everybody knows, as far as the music side, it’s been a long journey for me—which it has been for any person who’s great in the industry,” Teyana said. “I definitely feel overwhelmed sometimes because I’m doing so much to occupy my mind from the things that are not quite happening the way I want or need them to happen.” But Taylor is not just "any person."
In addition to touring with Jeremih, opening up a nail salon in her native Harlem, collaborating with multiple brands, and starring in the Netflix film The After Party, BET's Hit The Floor, and The Tap, the release of K.T.S.E. has likely capped her career goals. "I might really consider that I’ve done damn near everything I’ve ever wanted to do,” she exclaimed.
Taylor is eclectic, empowered, and true-to-self. With roots in Harlem's skating scene, her unconventional upbringing played a major role in persevering her spirit. “I have a leader vibe about me,” she said. “Because I was homeschooled, I had no choice but to raise my hand even if I didn’t want to. But I was fearless—pure, raw. I would see groups of people dancing, and instead of joining in, I would actually want to make up the moves. I’ve always been a person that wants not just to do it; I want to be it.”
Years later, it's evident that her drive remains. When caught in long crying spells over the stalling of her music, Taylor's two-year-old daughter Junie keeps her grounded. “She’d be like, ‘Mommy, what’s wrong? Don’t cry.’ And I’m like, ‘You right. I’m happy. I got you. I have my wonderful husband. Life could be much worse,’” Taylor admitted.
While the G.O.O.D. Music star continues to struggle with self-doubt at 27 years old, working with Kanye West has definitely proven her organic nature.
“I’m going to be a strong woman all across the board whether you like it or not" she states in terms of career difficulties. "I was never willing to be what someone else wanted."
Though the album didn't release as intended, Taylor continues to shine through everything life throws her way. And that's exactly what makes her so like-able.
Playboy's September/October issue will hit newsstands nationwide August 28. Read the full cover story here.