Internationally-renowned singer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist, Teena Marie, presents her thirteenth album and Stax Records debut. The collection marks a deeply personal milestone for the iconic soul music star and Rhythm & Blues Awards Lifetime Achievement recipient. In addition, Congo Square continues "Lady Tee's" penchant for sublime musical eclecticism while still delivering the hits that have made her a consistent presence for 30 years.
Congo Square, like most of Teena Marie's classic albums, is a largely autobiographical journey that cruises smoothly from southern soul and smoky jazz to dance floor funk. Along for the party are special guests Faith Evans (on the first single "Can't Last a Day"), Howard Hewett (on the steamy duet "Lovers Lane"), MC Lyte (on the sexy opener "The Pressure"), Pastor Shirley Murdock (featured on the track "Soldier"), the jazz trio of pianist George Duke (on the title track "Congo Square"), drummer/co-composer Terri Lyne Carrington and bassist Brian Bromberg (on the cinematic ballad "The Rose n' Thorn,") and Teena's daughter Rose LeBeau (on the soul salute "Milk & Honey").
Teena penned and produced all sixteen tracks on Congo Square, the title of which is a reference to the sacred area of The French Quarter in New Orleans where slaves were allowed to dance and sing in the wardrobe of their mother country on Sundays. Teena penned the songs during a period of extended personal darkness that somehow manifested positive and loving art.
"I've been through quite a few trials and tribulations over the last two years," Teena shares regarding the time between her acclaimed 2007 release, Sapphire, and now. "I spent many of those hours in prayer and felt like God was putting his arms around me. I started thinking about the music I grew up on - how inspired it was. Each song I was coming up with began to sound like the style of some favorite artist of mine from the past... Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye, Billie Holliday, the old Chicago soul of The Emotions and the new Chicago vibe of Kanye' West... Ice Cube's bumpin' in the trunk vibe and of course, Rick James. It's all in there."
Teena Marie's career has been nothing short of a sensation. Making her debut on Motown Records in 1979, she swiftly earned a hallowed and singular place in the hearts of R&B purists with her soulful singing and poetic songwriting. The fact that this new record will be released by the other most revered soul label of all time, Stax; is poetic justice. Congo Square is a nod to all that came before and to the ones who will follow in her footsteps, firmly reiterating the obvious: there is only one Teena Marie.