January 29, 2019
Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images
Tweet is back! In a new interview, the singer sat down with BET’s Finding to talk about why it took her years to get back into the studio, her relationship with her daughter, and so much more.
Around 2004, while at the top of her career, the “Oops (Oh My)” singer’s label, Elektra Records merged with Atlantic Records and things went downhill from there: “They wanted me to do more street, urban stuff. So they took off half of my records. And we had to do five with Missy and Soul Diggers. First single came out, ‘Turn The Lights Off’…They didn’t promote the video or anything. Nothing happened. I was done at that point. I shut everybody out because I was mad. We had a whole album done and ready. And they made me compromise and didn’t do anything. I got a daughter, I’m about to go home. Stay home. And that’s what I did. Started going back to church, rededicated my life to God. It was a ten-year hiatus before I did that.”
In that break, during one of her drunken episodes, the Rochester native recalls watching Tonex sing “Lord Make Me Over”: “I fell to my knees and started crying. I never called it depression. I used to always say God hated me. I used to call myself a lab rat for God. Then I would get mad and just shut down. But I didn’t know that that was depression. And it still creeps up sometimes because the industry is cruel.”
But, it was returning to her roots that kept her sane: “When I was on that hiatus, I woke up praying and on my knees. I was reading the Word all day like I was one of those militant Christians. But today, I have a relationship with Him. It’s not religious, it’s spiritual. I’m not the deep Christian. I’m a woman of God and we have a relationship. I talk to Him like I’m talking to you. And I don’t have to be on my knees to communicate. He’s still working with me. I’m still a work in progress, like everybody else. As long as I’m in that progress and process, then I’ll be alright. Just a little girl from Rochester, trying to make it still.”
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But what drew the guitarist away from that relationship with God was being criticized for becoming pregnant out of wedlock in her teenage years: “Becoming a mother so young in the church, I got sat down. If I was in the choir, I couldn’t sing in the choir anymore. And I was ashamed because back then, that was something you don’t do. You don’t talk about sex. You don’t do anything. You just don’t wear makeup. You just wear skirts and you just sing for the Lord and that’s your life. I know I disappointed my mom and my dad but I don’t regret it, you know? Because I have a beautiful, young lady now. But it was hard at first because back then you didn’t do that. A lot of the girls that did it was called fast. I wasn’t fast. But that’s what it was back then.”
Her current connection with her “young lady” is on the track to recovery: “My relationship with my daughter is something. We have this on and off relationship because she’s still a little mad that I wasn’t there. So we’re still working through stuff but I feel like she’s getting what— she is mad at me for. I’m now in a position to take care of her son. She’s like, ‘Ma, now I know what you’re talking about. I’m so sorry.’ And I’m like ‘Umm hmm girl, I told you.’ We’re working through a lot of stuff. It’s a lot of healing that needs to take place and we’re working on it.”
The 48-year-old released her last album “Charlene” in 2016, but hasn’t come out with anything since. She also went public with her now ex-boyfriend, Pastor Jamal Bryant, who just so happens to be the new leader of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Georgia. In 2017, it was announced that she was admitted to the hospital for a series of blood clots. Hopefully, with her being open about what she’s been through, new music is on the way since according to her, the industry needs fresh R&B: “This new age R&B is nothing but sampled, old R&B, so there’s no way it could be dead. But, at some point, all of the music is starting to sound the same…my ears bleed. It’s like someone fed you Burger King or McDonald’s every day. Don’t you get tired of eating McDonald’s every day?”
TELL US: Do you think new music is on the way from Tweet?