*The music industry was introduced to Teairra Mari at the age of 16 when she signed to Roc-A-Fella Records. They released her self-titled CD, which debuted at #2.
Now she is all grown up, literally, and will be acting alongside Bow Wow in the Warner Bros film The Lottery Ticket, as the sultry Nikki Swasey, the neighbor trying to get some of the “lottery money.” Mari is also releasing a five song EP and mix-tape with DJ Drama around the same time.
“My goal is to be the busiest woman in the world!” Teairra said about her career in entertainment. “The busier you are the better.”
After being released from Roc-A-Fella Mari moved to Los Angeles at the age of 19. After sleeping in her car for a couple of months she met Cudda Love (Mase, Nelly). I guess you can say he was her angel and now she is currently signed to his label Fo’ Reel Records.
So far they have released singles such as “Home 4 U,” featuring Pleasure P and “Cause a Scene,” featuring Flo Rida. Not only is she no longer sleeping in her car, but the girl got it going on landing such a role. Also starring in the movie with Teairra and Bow Wow are Ice Cube, Brandon T. Jackson, Loretta Devine, Mike Epps, Michael Ealy, Terry Crews, Keith David, Bill Bellamy, Jason Weaver and Naturi Naughton.
“I was at home in bed and a friend (stylist) kept calling me. Then Cudda started calling me,” Mari explained about how she heard about the role. “He said a friend was doing a movie you should read for. I had five minutes…but it was around the corner. I got called back…four auditions later…I went to a table read. Everyone was there. I said, ‘Oh my God I am going to be in a movie!’”
Teairra goes on to explain to me that she didn’t get the part, which sent her into a depression, but later received a call that the person they picked wasn’t working out and she was asked when she could get there. She got there, ASAP, and as they say “the rest is history.”
Mari is still doing her music thing she has been busy releasing mix-tapes, singles and appearing on mix-tapes. She is preparing for the launch of a new mix-tape with DJ Drama.
“We’re going back (in August) to record a remix with DJ Drama,” Teairra said. “It will be half remix and half originals.”
Speaking on originals Mari has been trying to release an album for a while and she points to leaks as what is holding her back. This month she will be releasing five of the songs on the album as an EP release.
“I’m working on an album, most the songs got leaked somehow,” she pointed out. “So I had to get it on EP.”
Teairra, musically, is promoting her current single “Sponsor,” featuring Gucci Mane and Soulja Boy – which is on her EP release slated for August 17, 2010 release. For more information on Teairra Mari log onto her www.myspace.com/teairrammari and also follow her at www.myspace.com/teairramarithomas and www.twitter.com/teairra_mari.
Legendary Florence LaRue of the 5th Dimension celebrates 44 years with the group
Looking as young and beautiful as the day she joined the group, singer and original member of the 5th Dimension, Florence LaRue, is celebrating 44 years with the legendary group with a string of performances and public appearances. The 5th Dimension garnered through the years six Platinum records and six Grammy Awards.
“The so-called celebrity has a job,” Florence said about the life of a legend. “I love what I do and try to show the love of God (when she meets her fans)…God said, ‘there is only one star – Jesus.’” LaRue went on to explain, “Without people I have no job. The 5th Dimension never stops performing. Some don’t know that we’re still together. The original 5th Dimension was together for 10 years before Marilyn and Billy left and Ron passed away.”
Florence said of all the members that replaced the originals 99% of them remain friendly and that she is very proud that they are doing well with what they learned room the group.
“We’re looking forward to recording a record,” LaRue informed me. “Hits with the same arrangements…People don’t want to hear a rap version of ‘Up Up and Away.’ We want music that is positive.”
Still Florence admits that they put a little current day twist to their hit “Stone Soul Picnic.” They tend to have a mixed audience for their shows. “We bridge the gap between age and race,” she said.
Florence LaRue, who also has a one woman show which she would like to take to historically black colleges, credits her late husband Marc Gordon for the groups success. Marc was head of Motown’s Los Angeles office at the time Motown had turned down the group for a recording contract. He decided he saw potential and signed on as their manager and brought them to Johnny Rivers who signed them to his Soul City Records.
The group was formed by Marilyn McCoo – a former beauty pageant winner- and Lamonte McLemore and they enlisted LaRue – who at the time was a winner of a pageant herself – in the talent division, Ron Townson – who had just toured with Dorothy Dandridge and Nat King Cole, and Lamonte’s cousin Billy Davis, Jr. – who owned a cocktail lounge and later on married McCoo.
In 1968 they released “Stone Soul Picnic” written by Laura Nyro – which went Gold and also included the hit single “Cali Soul,’ written by Ashford and Simpson. That year they had three other singles reach number one, “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In,” “Hair” for the musical and “Wedding Bell Blues,” written by Nyro. In 1970 they released “One Less Bell.” In 1971 the 5th Dimension released “Last Night/I Didn’t Get to Sleep at All” and in 1972 “If I Could Reach You.” By 1975 McCoo and Davis – who married in 1969 – left the group to form a duo and LaRue took over as lead female singer and they released “Long Hangover” in 1976, but Motown immediately released Diana Ross’s version soon after. Ironically Motown signed the group shortly after, along with two new members, in 1978 where they released two albums.
While performing on the legends’ circuit Townson passes away of complication to diabetes and McLemore retires. The 5th Dimension now tours as Florence LaRue and the 5th Dimension (with members Willie Williams, Leonard Tucker, Patrice Morris and Floyd Smith).
The group will be performing August 20th and 30th at the Classic Gold Music Awards in Hollywood, Florida, October 3rd in Huffton, South Caroline and November 12th at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.