Teena Marie, RIP

TEENA MARIE, the self-proclaimed "Ivory Queen of Soul," and protégée of Rick James, was found dead in her Pasadena home on Sunday, apparently of natural causes. She was 54. The popular white R&B singer had successfully battled an addiction to prescription drugs and had returned to performing over the last year. Marie made her debut on Motown with 1979’s Wild and Peaceful, beginning her partnership with James and yielding her first hit, "I'm A Sucker for Your Love." She went to Epic in the 1980s and had hits like "Lovergirl" and "Ooo La La La," and during the last decade, she put out two well-received albums on Cash Money. Said Concord Music Group chief Gene Rumsey, whose Stax label released her last album: "The enduring influence of Teena's inspirational, trailblazing career, could only have been made possible through her brilliant songwriting, showmanship and high-energy passion, which laid the ground work for the future generations of R&B, hip-hop, and soul. We feel extremely fortunate to have worked with a visionary who changed music in indelible ways. Our deepest sympathies go out to her family, friends and of course, millions of fans around the world." (12/27a)

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