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Tamia

Tamia

1975–

Singer, actress

"I always wanted to be a singer," Tamia told the New Pittsburgh Courier. "Ever since I was six years old and I stepped in front of the congregation, I knew that that's what I wanted to be." From her home in the McDougall Street Projects of Windsor, Ontario, Tamia has sung her way from church choirs to amateur contests to the top of the R&B charts. Getting her start as a teenager singing for musical legend Quincy Jones, Tamia has established herself as a formidable musical force on her own. With three albums to her credit, the singer seemed set to carve herself a lasting place in the music industry.

A Gifted Young Singer

Born Tamia Renée Washington on May 9, 1975, in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, she grew up in a poor section of town with her mother and three younger brothers Tajhee, Tiras, and Trajan. Tamia's hometown of Windsor is a small factory town in western Ontario. Its population is also very ethnically diverse. Tamia, who has an African American mother and a white father, told Mic Check that she "had the best of both worlds," and added "that she's related to most of the black people in Windsor…. My family comes in all shades from really light to very dark."

Aside from the music she heard and sang at church, Tamia was exposed to diverse music from an early age by her mother and stepfather, Barbara Washington Peden and Frederic Peden. She enjoys a wide range of music, especially ballads. She told Teen, "I don't care about labels-country music, rock music, it's the way it makes me feel that counts." "Naturally witty, comical, talented … and a bundle of energy," is how Ebony Man described Tamia. Tamia also possesses a great deal of creativity. She told Mark Scheerer of CNN, "I used to staple two paper plates together and put rice in them to make a tambourine…."

It was not long before the gifted young singer began receiving recognition for her talent. John Vacratsis, director of the arts program at Walkerville Collegiate Institute in Windsor, recruited Tamia to the school when she was in eighth grade. Vacratsis had seen her perform in community musicals, such as The Little Shop of Horrors, and was blown away. Tamia made several appearances in local theater and choral concerts before winning Canada's prestigious YTV Vocal Achievement Award in 1993 and the Steve Ross Music Scholarship at the American Academy of Achievement's Annual Salute to Excellence in 1994.

Became a Star

The early presence of music in her life helped to plant the seeds that would sprout into superstardom. Many young people dream of meeting a big music executive, impressing them with a song, then skyrocketing to fame. In Tamia's case, her dream came true when she sang at a birthday party for Luther Vandross in 1994 that was hosted by her manager, Brenda Ritchie. One of the guests, music legend Quincy Jones, took note of Tamia and was moved by the passion in Tamia's voice when he saw her perform.

Jones contacted Ritchie, and offered Tamia the opportunity of a lifetime. "Quincy had a song on his album that he had tried six or seven singers for, and they couldn't do it." Ritchie told The Record, "He asked Tamia and she did it." Jones also invited Tamia to Los Angeles to appear on his album, Q's Jook Joint. Tamia remarked in Essence, "Can you imagine being 18 years old in the vocal booth with Quincy Jones waiting for you to sing his song? What an experience!" "I had so much fun," Tamia told the New York Beacon. "Quincy made me feel comfortable the whole time. He made me feel that he was excited to work with me as I was to work with him." Her work on the album was the spark that ignited her career.

Recorded Hit after Hit

Tamia won a Grammy nomination for "You Put A Move On My Heart" in the Best Female R&B Vocal Performance category in 1996. The song was the first single on Quincy Jones' album, Q's Jook Joint. "You Put A Move On My Heart" established Tamia as a major new recording star. Songwriter extraordinaire, Babyface, then asked her to perform a duet with him, which would also be featured on Jones' album. Babyface chose Tamia to share the spotlight with him on Jook's second single, the romantic duet "Slow Jams," which earned them a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Performance by a Duo. Tamia also collaborated with Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight, and Brandy on the song "Missing You" for the Set It Off soundtrack. "Missing You" was later nominated for a Grammy. All of these hits were released before her debut album, Tamia, hit the stores in 1998.

Tamia has worked with some of the music industry's greatest artists, including Quincy Jones, Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight, Babyface, Brandy, R Kelly, Eric Benet, Daryl Simmons, Mario Winans, and many others. She is treated as a peer by other recording stars. "I've fallen victim to seeing people on TV and thinking that's how their personalities are. I think you just kind of put them on a higher level, and when you meet them, you realize they're just like you … It's all still kind of weird to me to have people acknowledge me as a peer," Tamia stated in Ebony Man.

Tamia is grateful to those who have helped her to stardom, including Quincy Jones. She told Ebony Man, "he [Jones] introduced me to the world … I felt very honored to have him take time out of his busy schedule. He's one of the most humble people you'll ever meet, and he has everything going for him." Tamia has had her share of doubters and critics, but has been able to impress the right people at the right time. Being nominated for three Grammy awards before the release of her debut album has increased the pressure on Tamia. As she remarked to The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, "That's when having Quincy Jones introduce you to the music world is not such a great thing … because people tend to listen to you harder—and judge harder. Man, the expectations!"

Working with the likes of Quincy Jones and numerous other music legends has taught Tamia that making an album is not all fun and games. As she told Ebony Man, "I thought that you just got up on the microphone and sang. There's a lot that goes into getting that person onstage, contract negotiations, and then there's the technical work." She added in Essence, "It got to the point where I just stopped telling people when my album was coming out. I'd record a lot of songs, write a few, then throw them all away and start again! Finally I had to let go and let God in on the process."

Found Greater Success with Albums

Tamia's debut album was very successful. It featured several hits, including "So Into You" and "Imagination," which was produced by Jermaine Dupri. Tamia told Ebony Man, "I really believe that it's not about your voice. It's the anointing that God puts on your voice that separates you." Her manager, Brenda Ritchie, recalled in The Record that when she first heard Tamia sing "she had the voice of an angel…. Immediately, you just know upon listening to her that she is going places."

At a Glance …

Born Tamia Renée Washington, on May 9, 1975, in Windsor, Ontario, Canada; married Grant Hill, July 24, 1999; children: Myla Grace. Education: Walkerville Collegiate Institute.

Career: Singer and actress, 1995–.

Awards: Youth TV (YTV) Vocal Achievement Award (Canada), 1993; Steve Ross Music Scholarship, 1994; Grammy nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for "You Put A Move On My Heart," 1996; Grammy nomination for Best R&B Performance by a Duo for "Slow Jams," 1996; Grammy nomination for "Missing You," from the Set It Off soundtrack, 1997; Grammy nomination for "Spend My Life with You," 1999.

Addresses: Web—www.tamiaonline.com.

Tamia's career took off. In addition to her career as a recording artist, she appeared as a model in Tommy Hilfiger ads and made her acting debut in the 1997 film Speed II: Cruise Control. Following the release of her debut album, Tamia signed a recording contract with Elektra Records.

In 2000, Tamia released her second album, A Nu Day. The tracks included a number of songs Tamia co-wrote with her producers. The New York Beacon heralded it as a "storybook," adding that "the songs have all of the makings of becoming R&B classics." Among the album's critically acclaimed songs, "A Stranger in My House," stood out as a crossover hit, mixing Tamia's rhythm and blues sounds with pop music. Ebony called the song "the pinnacle of the recording." For her work on this second album Billboard labeled Tamia "truly one of tomorrow's divas."

Maintained Stable Personal Life

As Tamia's star rose, she remained a spiritually grounded person, which has helped her to handle her phenomenal success. "She hasn't changed a bit," Vacratsis told the Detroit Free Press. He added, "she was always kind of a little devilish; always smiling, full of energy … and other than the fact that she drives a much bigger car now, it's like talking to the same old Tamia." She handles her success by keeping things in perspective. As Tamia told Essence, "Los Angeles is like Disneyland. When I go home to Windsor, my mom is like, 'Clean your room, and don't forget to do the dirty dishes!'"

One aspect of Tamia's life has been a stable relationship with basketball superstar Grant Hill. On July 24, 1999, after a three-year courtship, Tamia married Hill. She surprised Hill at the wedding when she sang "Colour of Love," a tune recorded by Celine Dion. Tamia first met her future husband in Detroit when she served as a judge at a singing contest. Hill told Jet, "I just found somebody that I'm real compatible with. When we first started seeing each other that first two or three months, I kind of knew that this was the one. I've dated a few people but never really had that chemistry. But when I first met my fiancee it was like we'd known each other for a long time. So I'm ready to settle down. It's a sign of maturity." When asked about her marriage, Tamia remarked to Deborah Gregory in Essence, "I'm not one for flowers and stuff, but I love staying in bed all day with Grant, relaxing, and watching movies together. That's what I find romantic." The couple had their first child, daughter Myla, in 2002.

Dealt with Life's Blows

While working on her third album in the early 2000s, Tamia noticed that her body did not have the energy it once did. Her legs felt numb and she tired easily. She slowed down her work schedule to figure out what was wrong. A number of visits to the doctor and tests revealed that she suffered from multiple sclerosis, a disabling disease of the brain and central nervous system. She described the shock of the onset of MS for her in an interview with Extra "I mean literally, I went from being physically active to not being able to get out of bed," Tamia recalled. "I cried for maybe 20 or 25 minutes." Her husband offered her a great deal of support and Tamia learned to manage the disease with medication, diet, and exercise.

Diagnosed in 2003, Tamia kept the news private for two years, taking the necessary time to let the reality of the news sink in. "Initially, I thought I was not going to tell anyone because I didn't know exactly what it was," Tamia told Jet. "I didn't want anybody to take it as my being weak or anything. I just didn't want to tell anyone because I didn't have a lot of information on it." In 2005 Tamia and Hill began speaking out about MS in order to educate people about it. ""I just felt it was important to get it out there and let people know it's not a sign of weakness," Tamia explained to Extra. "You have good days and bad days."

Unwilling to let her health derail her plans for living a good life, Tamia learned to manage her health and focused on all the good things in her life: her husband, daughter, and her music. "Adversity builds character," she noted in Jet. Tamia resumed her musical career, releasing her third album, More, in 2004 and joining in on the soundtrack for Tyler Perry's hit Diary of a Mad Black Woman in 2005.

Selected works

Singles

"You Put A Move On My Heart," on Q's Jook Joint, 1995 (With Babyface) "Slow Jams," on Q's Jook Joint, 1995.
(With Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight and Brandy) "Missing You," for Set It Off soundtrack, 1996.
(With Eric Benet) "Spend My Life With You," A Day In The Life, 1999.
(With Fabolous) "Into You," 2004.

Albums

Tamia, Atlantic, 1998.
A Nu Day, Elektra, 2000.
More, Elektra, 2004.

Sources

Periodicals

Atlanta Journal and Constitution, April 16, 1998.

Billboard, October 21, 2000, p. 25.

Detroit Free Press, July 23, 1999.

Ebony, October 1998, p. 50.

Ebony Man, June 1996, p. 30; November 2000, p. 34; October 2003.

Essence, March 1998, p. 60; February 2000, p. 60.

Jet, September 6, 1999, p. 60; January 15, 2005, p. 14.

Mic Check, April 1998, p. 24.

New Pittsburgh Courier, April 15, 1998, p. B4.

New York Beacon, June 25, 1997, p. 34; October 18, 2000, p. 23.

The Record, May 11, 1998, p. 9.

Seventeen, December 1996, p. 127.

Teen, November 1998, p. 53.

On-line

"Tamia and Grant Hill Fight MS," Extra, http://extratv.warnerbros.com/v2/news/0505/27/3/text.html (accessed January 6, 2006).

Tamia Online, www.tamiaonline.com (accessed January 6, 2006).

Other

Additional information for this profile was obtained from a CNN interview with Mark Scheerer on August 7, 1998, and Lycos Music: RollingStone.com, January 2000.

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Tamia

Tamia

Singer

For the Record

Selected discography

Sources

Canadian-born singer Tamia was anointed a rising star by record producer Quincy Jones when she was just 18 years old. She appeared on his album Qs Jook Joint in 1994, and then spent several years recording with other stars. In 2000, though, the R&B artist finally came into her own with the release of A Nu Day. The album moves from sweeping torch ballads to more hard-hitting, hip-hop influenced songs and showcases the singers vocal talents. It marks Tamias growth as an artist and confirms her tenacity in the world of R&B.

Tamia Washington was born on May 9, 1975, in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. She was introduced to the pleasures of singing very early. She began performing in her church choir when she was just six years old, and by the time she was ten, she was taking acting and vocal lessons. Tamia sang in several choirs and appeared in theater productions such as Godspell and Little Shop of Horrors throughout her teen years. Tamia noted in her Elektra biography, Church is always the best place for a young person to start. Everyone is so supportive when youre singing for God. You can make a few mistakes and its still all right. Another early influence was the Motown sound; Windsor is directly across the Detroit River from Detroit, Michigan, and Tamias mother exposed her to this music, singing it around the house.

Tamias first real recognition came in 1993 when she was honored with the prestigious Canadian Youth TV (YTV) Vocal Achievement Award. This was followed in 1994 when Tamia was awarded the Steve Ross Music Scholarship at the American Academy of Achievements Annual Salute to Excellence in Las Vegas, Nevada. While she did study at the Walkerville Collegiate Institute, 1994 also marked the beginning of Tamias professional career as a singer. That year, her manager Brenda Richie invited Tamia to sing at a party for famed R&B singer/songwriter Luther Vandross. At the party, Tamia caught the eye of legendary producer Quincy Jones. Jones had founded Qwest Records, and was known for promoting the careers of R&B artists. When he asked Tamia to record a song for his new album, she knew that it was her big break.

Tamia went into the studio with Jones and recorded You Put a Move on My Heart, which was the first single released from the album Qs Jook Joint in 1995. The record included performances by other stars such as Barry White and Queen Latifah. Tamia herself was a little awestruck by the opportunity. She told Jet magazine, Im very, very flattered. As a new artist, I feel that its so much to handle. Even being on an album with such people as Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder is an honor, and then to be on the first single outits amazing to me. The single made it to the top ten on the R&B charts and was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1996. Another song from the

For the Record

Born Tamia Washington on May 9, 1975, in Windsor, Ontario, Canada; daughter of Barbara (Washington) and Frederic Peden; married Grant Hill, 1999. Education: Attended Walkerville Collegiate Institute.

Single You Put a Move on My Heart appeared on the Quincy Jones album Qs Jook Joint, 1995; recorded songs for soundtracks for Set It Off, 1995, and Speed 2: Cruise Control, 1991; debut album Tamia released by Qwest Records, 1998; signed with Elektra Records, released A Nu Day;, 2000.

Awards: Youth TV (YTV) Vocal Achievement Award (Canada), 1993; Steve Ross Music Scholarship, American Academy of Achievement Annual Salute to Excellence, 1994.

Addresses: Record company Elektra Records, 75 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, New York 10019, website: http://www.elektra.com. Website Tamia at Elektra Records: http://www.tamiaonline.com.

albumTamias duet with Babyface called Slow Jamswas also nominated. Tamia went on to record a song for the soundtrack to the 1995 film Set It Off; Missing You was a collaboration with Brandy, Gladys Knight, and Chaka Khan. That song also garnered a nomination at the 1996 Grammy Awards, making Tamia a three-time nominee all before she had recorded her own album.

Tamia finally produced her debut album for Qwest Records in 1998. Titled simply Tamia, the album is a collection of collaborations between the singer and such established producers as Jermaine Dupri, Keith Crouch, and Stevie J. Jones was the executive producer on the recording and was again a big influence on Tamia. The album received mixed reviews; generally Tamia was credited for what Leo Stanley of All Music Guide called her seductive voice, but he noted that the album contained mediocre songs that even Tamias lovely voice couldnt save. The album was not a huge commercial success despite Tamias earlier popular recordings and Grammy nominations. The singer herself seemed disappointed with the long-awaited debut and told an Essence interviewer, I wasnt real happy about what happened with [Tamia]. Other people were in charge of my music, my image which left little space for me.

After a less-than-stellar debut, Tamia appeared on a few additional albums. She recorded Spend My Life With You with Eric Benetcollecting another Grammy Award nominationand contributed to the soundtrack of Speed2: Cruise Control. The singer won a small role in that film, and took time out from her music career to appear in a series of advertisements for clothing designer Tommy Hilfiger. During the years between her albums, Tamia was also developing a relationship with professional basketball superstar Grant Hill. After dating for three years, Tamia married the National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star on July 24, 1999, in Battle Creek, Michigan. At the time Hill was a Detroit Piston, but he later signed with the Orlando Magic and the two relocated to Orlando, Florida. Tamia became a United States citizen in September of 2000 but retains a dual citizenship.

A year of changes for Tamia, 1999 found her leaving Qwest Records to sign with Elektra (also owned by Warner). At the new label she worked on developing another album, one that would allow her more control over her music. The result was A Nu Day, released in 2000. She told Rashaun Hall of Billboard, With this album, I wanted to show my growth. I also chose material that was a lot more difficult vocally and saying something. Tamia worked with producers such as Dallas Austin, Shep Crawford, and Missy Misdemeanor Elliot in developing the album. Elliot produced one hip-hop infused hit, Cant Go For That, based on the Hall and Oates hit from the 1980s, I Cant Go For That (No Can Do). The two women so enjoyed working together that Elliot produced three more songs on the album. But the recording did not stick strictly to edgier tunes; Crawford produced the torch ballad Stranger In My House, which fully exercises Tamias vocal range.

A Nu Day was an attempt to refashion Tamia as Elektras premiere female R&B star and to change her image from the squeaky-clean teenager that debuted on Qs Jook Joint. Chuck Taylor commented in Billboard that she is sexy, sultry, and all grown up on the album. Michael Paoletta, also writing in Billboard, commented that Tamia is truly one of tomorrows divas. Not all the critics praise the singer as a diva, though. Entertainment Weeklys Craig Seymour called the album hammy and self-conscious, and Chuck Arnold commented in People that Tamia [s]till hasnt found her voice. Lynn Norment strongly disagreed with these critics in her review of the album for Ebony. Tamias vocals soar, purr, pout and confess the feelings of a self-assured woman.

While critics disagree about the quality of Tamias second album, A Nu Day produced a few R&B hits and enjoyed solid sales. Elektra seems satisfied with its new star as well. Michelle Murray, senior director of marketing for the label, commented to Rashaun Hall of Billboard, Other labels have their Mariahs and their Whitneys. We believe in Tamia fully, and we see her not as a one- or two-album artist but as a long term career artist with us. Our goal is to take her to every level. Tamia certainly seems ready to go.

Selected discography

(Contributor) Qs Jook Joint, Qwest, 1995.

(Contributor) Set It Off (soundtrack), Elektra/Asylum, 1996.

(Contributor) Speed 2: Cruise Control (soundtrack), Virgin, 1997.

Tamia (includes Imagination and So Into You), Qwest/Warner, 1998.

A Nu Day (includes Cant Go For That and Stranger In My House), Elektra/Asylum, 2000.

Sources

Periodicals

Billboard, August 12, 2000, p. 21; September 30, 2000, p. 42; October 7, 2000, p. 16; October 21, 2000, p. 25; November 11, 2000, p. 30.

Ebony, November 2000, p. 34D.

Entertainment Weekly, October 27, 2000, p. 120.

Essence, September 2000, p. 95.

Jet, November 13, 1995, p. 56; September 18, 2000, p. 32; October 16, 2000, p. 51; October 30, 2000, p. 14.

New York Times, December 21, 2000, p. E1.

People, November 13, 2000, p. 47.

Online

Tamia, All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (July 1, 2001).

Tamia, Elektra Records, http://www.elektra.com (July 1, 2001).

Christine Kelley

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Tamia 1975–

Tamia 1975

Vocalist

At a Glance

Became a Star

Recorded Hit after Hit

Married Grant Hill

Sources

Tamia was born Tamia Nee Washington in Windsor, Ontario, Canada on May 9,1975. The precocious Tamia began performing early. She began studying music and drama when she was only ten years old. While performing in the musical Godspell she wanted to improve her voice, so she began working with vocal coach Eugene Davis (Freeman). While working with Davis, Tamia began singing in the choir at the Church of God in Christ-a church near the McDougall Street Projects where she grew up.

It was not long before the gifted young singer began receiving recognition for her talent. Tamia made several appearances in local theater and choral concerts before winning Canadas prestigious YTV Vocal Achievemen Award in 1993 and the Steve Ross Music Scholarship a the American Achievements Annual Salute to Excellence in 1994. John Vacratsis, director of the arts program at Walkerville Collegiate Institute in Windsor, recruited Tamia to the school when she was in eight grade. Vacratsis had seen her perform in community musicals, such as The Little Shop of Horrors, and was blown away.

In 1994, Tamia accepted the Steve Ross Music Scholarship at the American Academy of Achievements Annual Salute to Excellence in Las Vegas. She became an overnight success in the music industry when she was nominated for a Grammy in 1996. The most unusual thing about Tamias career is that she already had three hits before ever releasing a solo album.

Tamia was exposed to music at an early age by her mother and stepfather, Barbara Washington Peden and Frederic Peden, and has impressed millions with her sultry sounds and stirring duets. She enjoys a wide range of music, especially ballads. She told Teen, I dont care about labels-country music, rock music, its the way it makes me feel that counts. Naturally witty, comical, talented and a bundle of energy, is hown Ebony Man describes Tamia, who has three younger brothers Tajhee, Tiras, and Trajan. Creativity is another characteristic of Tamia. She told Mark Scheerer of CNN, I used to staple two paper plates together and put rice in them to make a tambourine

Tamias hometown of Windsor is a small factory town in western Ontario. Its population is also very ethnically

At a Glance

Born Tamia Washington, May 9, 1975, in Windsor, Ontario, Canada; marriedGrant Hill, July 24,1999. Education: Walkerville Collegiate Institute.

Career: Singer and actress. Hit song, You Put A Move On My Heart, was featured on Quincy Jones album Qs look Joint, 1995; recorded the hit song Slow Jams with Babyface, also on Qs look !oint, 1995; recorded the hit song Missing You for the Set It Off soundtrack with Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight and Brandy; released her first solo album, Tamia, 1998; recorded Spend My Life With You, with Eric Benet on his album, A Day In The Life,

Awards: Youth TV (YTV) Vocal Achievement Award (Canada), 1993; Steve Ross Music Scholarship, 1994; Grammy nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for You Put A Move On My Heart, 1996; Grammy nomination for Best R&B Performance by a Duo for Slow Jams, 1996; Grammy nomination for Missing You, on the Set It Off soundtrack.

Addresses: AgentElektra Entertainment, 75 Rockefeller Plaza; New York, NY 10019-6908.

diverse. Tamia, who has an African American mother and a white father, told Mic Check that she had the best of both worlds, and added that shes related to most of the black people in Windsor. My family comes in all shades from really light to very dark.

Became a Star

Music has always played a prominent role in Tamias life. As a young child living in Ontario, she was first exposed to the Motown sound. Tamia told Essence, My mother and five sisters would sing like they were the Supremes to entertain me. The early presence of music in her life helped to plant the seeds that would sprout into superstardom.

Many young people dream of meeting a big music executive, impressing them with a song, then skyrocketing to fame. In Tamias case, her dream came true when she sang at a birthday party for Luther Vandross that was hosted by her manager, Brenda Ritchie. One of the guests, music legend Quincy Jones, took note of Tamia and was moved by the passion in Tamias voice when he saw her perform.

Jones contacted Ritchie, and offered Tamia the opportunity of a lifetime. Quincy had a song on his album that he had tried six or seven singers for, and they couldnt do it. Ritchie told The Record, He asked Tamia and she did it. Jones also invited Tamia to Los Angeles to appear on his album, Qs Jook Joint. Tamia remarked in Essence, Can you imagine being 18 years old in the vocal booth with Quincy Jones waiting for you to sing his song? What an experience! This recording session with Jones was the spark that ignited her career.

Recorded Hit after Hit

Tamia won a Grammy nomination for You Put A Move On My Heart in the Best Female R&B Vocal Performance category in 1996. The song was the first single on Quincy Jones album, Qs Jook Joint. You Put A Move On My Heart established Tamia as a major new recording star. Songwriter extraordinaire, Babyface, then asked her to perform a duet with him, which would also be featured on Jones album. Babyface chose Tamia to share the spotlight with him on Jooks second single, the romantic duet Slow Jams, which earned them a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Performance by a Duo. Tamia also collaborated with Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight, and Brandy on the song Missing You for the Set It Off soundtrack. Missing You was later nominated for a Grammy. All of these hits were released before her debut album, Tamia, hit the stores in 1998.

Tamia has worked with some of the music industrys greatest artists, including Quincy Jones, Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight, Babyface, Brandy, R Kelly, Eric Benet, Daryl Simmons, Mario Winan, and many others. She is treated as a peer by other recording stars. Ive fallen victim to seeing people on TV and thinking thats how their personalities are. I think you just kind of put them on a higher level, and when you meet them, you realize theyre just like you Its all still kind of weird to me to have people acknowledge me as a peer, Tamia stated in Ebony Man.

Tamia is a spiritually grounded person, and has handled her phenomenal success well. She hasnt changed a bit, Vacratsis told the Detroit Free Press. He added, she was always kind of a little devilish; always smiling, full of energy and other than the fact that she drives a much bigger car now, its like talking to the same old Tamia. She handles her success by keeping things in perspective. As Tamia told Essence, Los Angeles is like Disneyland. When I go home to Windsor, my mom is like, Clean your room, and dont forget to do the dirty dishes!

Tamia is grateful to those who have helped her to stardom, including Quincy Jones. She told Ebony Man, he [Jones] introduced me to the world I felt very honored to have him take time out of his busy schedule. Hes one of the most humble people youll ever meet, and he has everything going for him. Tamia has had her share of doubters and critics, but has been able to impress the right people at the right time. Being nominated for three Grammy awards before the release of her debut album has increased the pressure on Tamia. As she remarked to The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Thats when having Quincy Jones introduce you to the music world is not such a great thing because people tend to listen to you harder and judge harder. Man, the expectations!

Married Grant Hill

On July 24, 1999, after a three-year courtship, Tamia married basketball superstar Grant Hill. She surprised Hill at the wedding when she sang Colour of Love, a tune recorded by Celine Dion. Tamia first met her future husband in Detroit when she served as a judge at a singing contest. Hill told Jet, I just found somebody that Im real compatible with. When we first started seeing each other that first two or three months, I kind of knew that this was the one. Ive dated a few people but never really had that chemistry. But when I first met my fiancee it was like wed known each other for a long time. So Im ready to settle down. Its a sign of maturity. When asked about her marriage, Tamia remarked to Deborah Gregory in Essence, Im not one for flowers and stuff, but I love staying in bed all day with Grant, relaxing, and watching movies together. Thats what I find romantic.

Working with the likes of Quincy Jones and numerous other music legends has taught Tamia that making an album is not all fun and games. As she told Ebony Man, I thought that you just got up on the microphone and sang. Theres a lot that goes into getting that person onstage, contract negotiations, and then theres the technical work. She added in Essence, It got to the point where I just stopped telling people when my album was coming out. Id record a lot of songs, write a few, then throw them all away and start again! Finally I had to let go and let God in on the process.

Tamias debut album was very successful. It featured several hits, including So Into You and Imagination, which was produced by Jermaine Dupri. Tamia told Ebony Man, I really believe that its not about your voice. Its the anointing that God puts on your voice that separates you. Her manager, Brenda Ritchie, recalled in The Record that when she first heard Tamia sing she had the voice of an angel Immediately, you just know upon listening to her that she is going places.

In addition to her career as a recording artist, Tamia has appeared as a model in Tommy Hilfiger ads. In 1997, she made her acting debut in the film Speed II: Cruise Control. Following the release of her debut album, Tamia signed a recording contract with Elektra Records.

Sources

Periodicals

Atlanta Journal and Constitution, April 16, 1998.

Detroit Free Press, July 23, 1999.

Ebony, October 1998, p. 50.

Ebony Man, June 1996, p. 30.

Essence, March 1998, p. 60; February 2000, p. 60.

Jet, September 6, 1999, p. 60.

Mie Check, April 1998, p. 24.

New York Beacon, June 25, 1997.

The Record, May 11, 1998, p. 9.

Seventeen, December 1996, p. 127.

Teen, November 1998, p. 53.

Other

Additional information for this profile was obtained from a CNN interview with Mark Scheerer on August 7, 1998, and Lycos Music: RollingStone.com, January 2000.

Sadie Mungro

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