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With the REVOLT Summit in Los Angeles quickly approaching (Oct. 25 - Oct. 27), we revisit one of the most exciting, inspirational panels from the summit in Atlanta that took place in the middle of September. The “Creative Lens” panel featured G.O.O.D. Music/Def Jam’s own Teyana Taylor, who actually calls the A her new home.
Hosted by actor and entertainment host Terrence J, the two began the 30-minute conversation by remembering the first time they met when Teyana was 16 years old, and it occurred on the set of Stomp The Yard. Even as a teenager, the star embodied focus, determination, and passion.
Teyana reminisced, “The early days was a little bit difficult. I was new, I was young. I took everything personal. I took everything to heart. I didn’t understand business was business and people had to do what they had to do. I just had to navigate my way through everything and I was just learning as I was going.”
At that point, she was already doing both music and acting, and had a pure love for musicals and broadway plays. In her own home, she would sing and act. The crazy thing is Teyana actually started out just skateboarding around the hood. But, her innate talent did not go unnoticed.
She revealed, “Everybody knew I sung because I was doing all the talent shows, dancing, singing, all that. I was skateboarding down the street one day and my mother’s friend, who works at a label, was like, ‘I need to take you to meet my boss ‘cause you gon’ sing. You wanna be on skateboards all day...’ He took me and I sung. I didn’t have no demo, I didn’t have no bio, no nothing — and I got signed.”
When it comes to Teyana’s stage presence, no one comes near it. It’s her ability to sing and dance her heart out, while performing to her dedicated fanbase, that makes her a star.
“I love performing live, it’s one of my favorite things to do. I could literally perform every single day. It’s fun. You get to play around with the lights, with the scenery, with cool clothes and cool makeup,” she added.
When it comes to fashion and picking her outfits, it goes hand in hand. Teyana loves clothes without dwelling too much on the styling process. She jokes, “Listen, what’s in the closet is what’s in the closet. It’s really not that difficult.” And her swag onstage that day of her summit discussion directly translated this, as she rocked a sleek Louis Vuitton leather vest, which she admitted is her husband’s (Iman Shumpert).
Juggling being a mother, an artist, and overall entertainer, Teyana revealed what keeps her motivated: her supporters. It’s her relatable records and lyrics that resonates most, as she described herself as “human. I eat, sleep, shit like everybody else. Get my period like everybody else, I get my cramps. I got to carry my baby for nine months, all the same shit. I ain’t no different from nobody else, so it keeps me inspired to make music for my loved ones and people who love me and support me.”
Next, Terrence asked where Teyana got her creativity. If you know the singer, you know she puts on the most cinematic visuals. Most recently, it was her “How You Want It?” video with King Combs, and her Wu-Tang Clan-inspired “Gonna Love Me” visuals that immediately skyrocketed with millions of views.
“‘Cause I love movies,” she explains. “I watch so many movies. I watch so many TV shows. I love it, so I’m always inspired. If I hear a record, it’s like, ‘Oh yeah, this is giving me a real — this is giving me 70’s. I’m really inspired by the things around me and the things I see. I watch a lot of old movies, a lot of old videos. I love the 90s of course, I love R&B. I’m always inspired by the people [who’ve] come before me.”
When it comes to her creative process in the studio, Teyana actually says she loves to have her husband around. In fact, they even formulate records together. She stated, “The reason why it’s fun going to the studio with him is because he write my stuff with me. We be writing together.”
Iman Shumpert may be an NBA player at heart, but he’s actually a fire rapper as well. Terrence added, “People don’t know, he can spit for real! He be in there free-styling for a moment.”
Teyana continued, “We be in there coming up with the fire hooks. I like vibing with him because he’s my husband, so he knows me in and out. You not shy, you can talk about what you want to talk about, express what you want to express because literally he knows everything. It’s not like you’re in a room with people you don’t know, trying to stay reserved because some shit is just not their business. I can say some corny shit, some dope shit, and I know that I ain’t gon be judged.”
Beyond the music, Teyana’s side passion is interior design, which comes alive in her Miami mansion. In addition, she continues to direct music videos with a goal of directing a movie in the near future. Ending on a high note, she explained the mission behind her all female-production company named The Aunties.
“I wanted to start it for artists that have been through what I’ve been through, feeling like a lot of my things have gone down hill. My first video was a fail because it was in the hands of someone else. I wanted to get in a position where I created and controlled my whole narrative and if it failed, then it was my fault,” she closed.
Teyana Taylor is a boss and she’s not stopping anytime soon. But, we knew this already.