Six-time Grammy nominated R&B singer Tamia is currently gearing up to release her new long-awaited fifth studio album “Beautiful Surprise,” which hit stores on October 28th.
Now, during a promo run, the songstress sat down with UK’s Flavour magazine to talk about her current projects, career paths, supporting R. Kelly’s upcoming tour, touring with Beyonce, working with rapper Fabolous, life as a basketball wife along with being married to Grant Hill, and more.
Absolutely! I love to get my Janet Jackson controls on. It was definitely great overseeing this project as well as being able to see it all the way through, there’s nothing better than that.
You’ve pretty much kept everyone in mind whilst recording this album – the ladies, the guys and those broken hearts. Can you describe the album, in a few words?
In a few words, it was a beautiful surprise. I got the chance to work with a lot of great people, including Salaam Remi and Claude Kelly. I also did my very best to remain open going into this project whilst asking myself, ‘Can you sing these songs for the rest of your life?’ And I can easily answer yes to that question because for me personally, that’s a great way to start a project.
This whole journey for you began under the wings of the legendary Quincy Jones. How did you end up working with him?
I’m from Ontario, Canada, and I was singing for the prime minister at the time on television with David Foster. Someone from Warner Bros saw me at the time when I was only just 18, and after that I ended up working with Quincy Jones. That’s really how it sort of happened. I got to be in the vocal booth with Quincy and Rod Temperton, who were both staring at me waiting to hear me sing ‘You Put a Move on My Heart’, which was a tad nerve wracking, but I survived.
It’s surreal to believe that ‘Into You’ featuring Fabolous was released over a decade ago. To date, it’s had over 16 million views on Youtube. Any standout memories? Do you still see Fabolous?
Yeah, I do actually but let’s not forget that it was my original song that I co-wrote a few years before he remixed it. The song has been with me for a long time. It’s always great whenever I get the chance to perform the song with him. I’m glad that fifteen years later I’m still able to also be singing this song.
On being married to Basketball player Grant Hill, who hook them up, and the perks of being a Basketball Wife:
Yes, it was Anita Baker. She told me about this guy that she knew and who she taught would be great for me. And from there he [Grant] became my future husband.
He’s absolutely fine with all the attention that comes my way. He’s one of my biggest fans as I am one of his, so we definitely 100% support each other in our careers.
She then talked about the perks of having a six foot eight tall man around the house:
Yeah, to change the light bulbs! [Laughs]… And to grab those dishes that’s on the high shelves. He’s perfect for that.
Most of your songs surround relationship and love matters. Is there anything too personal for you to write about?
I haven’t had a song yet that I’ve felt was too personal, but I do think my poor husband sometimes takes some slack when I sing songs like ‘Stranger in My House.’ He’s always having to tell people that he’s not the stranger and it’s not about him, but then he takes full credits for songs like ‘Beautiful Surprise’…[Laughs]
On being compared to R&B singer Keri Hilson:
I have never heard that before. [Short pause] I don’t know what to say as I’ve never ever heard anyone say that.
On performing with Barry White and Gladys Knight as well as touring with Missy Elliot, Beyoncé and Alicia Keys?
I had a great time on that tour with Beyoncé, Missy and Alicia. It was actually very much girl power. At the time I had my first daughter, and Beyoncé in particular was so sweet and very kind to her. So as a mum anyone who treats your kids nice, you instantly love them. She’s a great girl. Sorry I don’t have any dirt on any of them as all of those women are pretty amazing.
On looking forward to support R Kelly’s Tour:
I am looking forward to being on that tour. The last time I did a tour where I got on a bus was in 2004. So I’m looking forward to it, and I am looking forward to performing for the fans, that’s the best part of all of this.
Be sure to cop a copy of Tami’s new album, and you can read more about this interview here.