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YBF Interview: Tamia

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I had the FABULOUS opportunity to interview Mrs. Tamia Hill yesterday and she is just as fab as you would imagine. The sweet image she portrays is not a game...and you may just become even more of a fan after this interview.... Natasha: Mrs. Tamia! Of course I'm a fan and adore your music. We have the same middle name don't we? Renee?Tamia: {Laughs} No, it's not Renee. Even one of my best friends called me Tamia Renee forever. She was a bridesmaid in my wedding calling me Tamia Renee. I was like "Why do you call me that?" She's like, "That's your middle name." And it's not. It's so funny. Everybody thinks that though. My middle name is actually Marilyn since I'm named after my grandmother. But Renee is pretty too. Natasha: So are you familiar with gossip blogs and tabloids? Tamia: Yes, I am. I love scouring the internet. And I don't know them to name them, but I read tabloids while standing in line at the store and things like that. Now they've moved from newspaper prints to glossy pages. {Laughs} Natasha: They've definitely upgraded. Tamia: Definitely. And as long as it's not malicious...it's fun.Natasha: Tell me about releasing your latest album Between Friends independently. Why the split from Atlantic? Tamia: My deal was up. I was in a position to either sign with them again or go our separate ways and I chose to do that. I've been in the business since I was 14 and I was on Quincy Jones' label at Warner Bros before Atlantic. I had the opportunity to work with great producers. And by the time I got to Atlantic, the music business began to change. Artists began to take control of their own careers and could release cds on their own if they could afford the up front cost. I mean, who wouldn't want to control their own career? I'm enjoying it but I do go through the struggle of Mrs. Hill where I like staying in 5 star hotels vs. an artist with a budget where I'm being told I can't stay there because of the budget. Natasha:Many people had a misconception about why you left--like that you were put on the back burner too much and not given the push and publicity you wanted. Tamia: Well that's just part of the music business. You wait your turn and get promoted. I was out on tour promoting my album when people were getting fired back at the office and all the office lines were disconnected. There's no stability. I couldn't even get in touch with people except for my main connect. You have one shot, as well, in this business now. You used to be able to do about 6 songs before the label determined how they would deal with you. Now you have to lay all your cards on the table right away. Natasha: Speaking of laying all your cards on the table from the get, how do you feel about the ladies R&B game these days? Do you feel like they are doing too much from the jump because they know they have one shot? Tamia:I don't feel like there's much variety out there. These big companies are owned by 4 or 5 people...so if you're on it it's great. If not...you may not get any play. That is a reason people just sticking with the formula that works. And I don't fault them for that. I will say, though, that the "new" music is out there....if people want to find it. They could find it with one click of a button if they REALLY want to find it. It's there, you just have to take the time and scope it out. Natasha: So who are your fave artists? Tamia: Singers. Anita Baker, CeCe Winans, Yolanda Adams, Gladys Knight...I LOVE singers who can just get a mic on stage and sing. I sang with Gladys one time and was like "Why doesn't my mic sound like that?" {Laughs} She's amazing. I was in the studio with her and she is just amazing. She would want to re-do songs and we had no idea why. She sounded so good. I am a big fan of singers like that. I went on the Ladies First Tour with Beyonce and Alicia Keys. I love both of them too. And I mean...Beyonce is so gorgeous and was always really sweet to my little girl. I really appreciated that. You get like "Arrrgh!" because she's so pretty but still so sweet. {Laughs} Natasha: Fave male singers? Current guys--Usher, Justin, etc.? Tamia: Oh goodness...I love all of them. I have all their cds. {Laughs} Natasha: Speaking of Anita Baker, is it true you and Grant were introduced by her and that's how you met? Tamia: She did actually. She came up to me at the Soul Train Music Awards and said "I know this guy who would be great for you--Grant Hill." So I was like...OK. {Laughs} We met 7 months later. Natasha: Did you know who he was? Tamia: I did because I grew up on the border of Canada and Detroit-where he was living at the time. I am so thankful to [Anita]. It's been 8 years that we've been married and we were together 3 years before that. Natasha: Wow. I feel old because I remember when y'all first got together and thought you two were just too cute. It's been that long? Tamia: I know it has been a while. The only time I feel old though is when I see other people's children. When children grow up...you feel aged. {Laughed} Natasha:So you have another baby girl due in August? Is this pregnancy easier than the first one? Tamia: Yes I do! I've been so blessed through both. I actually never had one day of morning sickness...I don't even know what that's about. Natasha: Ooh some mommies are going to hate you. Tamia: I know. {Laughs} And because I already have a child...and I was on tour the first four months...I can't come home and sleep anymore. Life goes on. It's a bit more difficult to juggle a pregnancy with another child. Natasha: Do you have a baby name yet? Tamia: Not yet. Although my 5 year old (Myla) has suggested names such as Shrek. Yeah we had to shut down those types of names. But you're a little more relaxed with the 2nd one. I'm not buying every single baby gadget anymore. We're just waiting to see what happens with the name. Myla has given us some good ones too. Natasha: So Myla is 5 now? I remember when you were pregnant with her. Wow. Tamia: I know I know. And kids are way more grown and more knowledgeable than we ever were. Natasha:Are you going to keep trying for a boy? Tamia: Wow. I don't know. I wouldn't rule it out. I don't really feel comfortable talking about another baby while I'm still pregnant with this one. {Laughs} Natasha: Ok Ok. So are you going to pick up the tour where you left off after the baby is born? Tamia: {Laughs} Look at you. I can't even have this baby first without talking about post baby stuff. But yeah....I can't wait to get back out there. I love performing. We have a full band ready and I can't wait. Natasha:Were you worried because of the MS to get pregnant the first time and a second time? Tamia:The first time I wasn't diagnosed yet so I had no idea. I was diagnosed a year after Myla was born. I didn't know anything about MS--just about Montel and Richard Pryor. No one in my family has it. I meet so many people when I'm out on tour--mainly younger black women--who have MS. It's really interesting. I wasn't really nervous because with MS, when a woman is pregnant, all her symptoms of MS subside. So it's good to be pregnant. But you have to be careful because after you give birth, there's a higher rate of attacks. So to answer your question, no, I wasn't worried since I knew being pregnant was totally safe. Natasha: What are your worst habits? Tamia: Hmmm...I LOVE sugar. I've tried everything to not love it though. Natasha: Well your post baby body is ridiculous so something must working. Tamia: {Laughs} It helps to have a husband that's an athlete. Seriously. It's still hard. I'll be like "Why am I not losing weight!?" and he'll say "Maybe it's that chocolate cake you just ate." Natasha: What's your workout routine? Tamia: Well first of all...a lot of us get sabotaged by food. I'll do an hour of working out. Breakfast, I'll have a protein shake. I'll bring snacks in the gym. I do a lot of interval training. I like running, but not too long. I couldn't run for 45 minutes straight. My mind has to know when I can rest. {Laughs} You have to know what works for you and your body type. My body type--I'm never going to be that stick legs and stick arms girl. I'm more muscular. So I have to tailor my workout accordingly. Natasha-Do you love being a fashionista and shopping? Tamia-No, I don't like mulling over clothes. Walking around NY finding clothes...no. I know what I like and I go get it. I'm like that with everything in life.Natasha: Fave designers? Tamia: Everbody's doing the pregnancy look right now. People from YSL to DVF--all doing the "pregnancy" look right now so it's great. Natasha: Yeah--the oversized tunics, tunic dresses... Tamia: Yes. The big pregnancy tops..flowy tops. It's great. Natasha: Do you think you get the respect you deseve? Tamia: That's an interesting question. I feel like God puts you where he wants you to be. I feel like fans appreciate my music. But it's a dangerous thing to judge your career based upon someone else's. You never know what they have sacrificed. I'm ok with doing what I love and doing for my husband and both of my daughters. Natasha: What are your fave songs of yours? Tamia: Hmmm... "You Put A Move", "Stranger", and "Me". That's almost one from each album. Natasha: Anything else you want to tell your fans? Tamia: I do appreciate sites like yours and myspace and things like that because it's given me a way to get my album out. I'm really grateful for people who search out my album in the stores because it's not always easy to find. {Laughs} I'll keep singing as long as y'all keep picking it up. A Gift Between Friends will come out at Christmas time. It has 3 songs and 2 of them are Christmas songs and 1 is a medley of Christmas songs. "This Christmas", "Let It Snow" (not the Boys to Men version), then a medley of traditional songs. It's just a fun cd. Live instruments and all. It'll be out in October Natasha: Thanks so much Tamia. The YBF readers and your fans are going to love this interview. Tamia: Thank you. I really appreciate this. Tamia's new video for "Me" Tamia also has her own music label called Plus One that her current has been and future cds will be released through. You can also check out her official myspace page and her official website.
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