Teedra Moses joined me on a very special edition of ‘The Wave’ and helped me select some amazing music for everyone to listen to. We also took a deep drive into Teedra’s album ‘Complex Simplicity’, celebrating it being fifteen years since its release. We got into great tracks like; ‘You Will Never Find (A Better Woman)’ with Jadakiss, ‘Be Your Girl’ including the KAYTRANADA remix and of course ‘Backstroke’. We also discussed:
- Love, dating, relationships and the effects of a strong backstroke.
- Writing songs from her experiences .
- Wanting to do a 2020 remix collaboration of ‘Backstroke’ with Jhené Aiko.
- The first time she came to London touring with Will Smith.
- The UK rocking with her and knowing all her lyrics.
- The importance of supporting acts performing and warming up the crowd at shows.
- Working with KAYTRANADA and other collaborations set for release in 2020.
- R’n’B music changing, evolving and much more.
Continue reading to find out all you need to know about Teedra Moses or listen back to the full show on Mixcloud on the web link below:
Full Teedra Moses Interview
Chyna Johnson: Hey everybody! What is going on? You are locked into your girl Chyna Johnson. This is ‘The Wave’. The tune that I just played was ‘Backstroke’, coming from Teedra Moses. Taken from that phenomenal album ‘Complex Simplicity’ and I’m so pleased, because she is joining me on the phone right now. Hello Teedra!
Teedra Moses: Hi Honey! How you doing?
I’m good thank you. How are you?
I’m really really good. Really really good. No complaints.
Awesome! Now, we just played one of the tunes from that INCREDIBLE body of work, and I know that the tour that you are on right now, marks the fifteenth year of the album ‘Complex Simplicity’.
How do you feel knowing that fifteen years on, this album is still loved and well received?
Errrmm…I feel really… I feel a lot of gratitude. I feel very grateful you know… I had no idea what was going on when I was making it. I was just making it because it was something I had to say. So, I think it’s beyond me I guess. It’s like one of those situations. I was really just the vessel at that moment in time. I just had something in my heart, in my mind that I guess…. other people may have had in their heart and their mind too. And I expressed and I shared it with people. And I think that that feeling that I had at the time, all those experiences I had at that time in my life, they were pretty universal and pretty general. In a sense that generations that came after felt the same way- you know.
Nice! Now, like you said, “you were expressing those experiences that you were feeling at the time”. Do you or can you still relate to a lot of those songs now?
Yeah! Especially because I was so in that space at that time- you know. I was like heavily in that space. Like for instance ‘Backstroke’ you know. Come on! Every woman can relate to that. You might not….errr I don’t know what kind of show you have so, I can’t speak to vividly. You might not still allow yourself to be in that position, but you know it’s possible if someone with a strong enough stroke comes. You could possibly be.*Laughs*
No, we have all been there. *Laughs* Not just me. Our listeners- we know.
You are mature enough not to allow it- you know. But if it’s too strong (the backstroke)… there’s nothing you can do. Hey, that’s life you know. *Laughs*
*Laughs* I like the way you kind of broke that down. Like yeah. You know as you grow, you are like, “Yeah, I can get over that but then…. like that backstroke hits again” and you’re like… “Whooooa! heeeey!”.
*Laughs* It’s like wait a minute. Hold on.
You know. You know them ones where you are like, “I’m not going to answer his call”. Then two seconds later you have answered his call, you have got you jacket on and then you are at his house.
Exactly! Exactly! You know how it is baby?
I know and as you are driving to his house ,we are listening to the Teedra Moses ‘Backstroke’.
Exactly and it is ok because we are all human.
Exactly. It’s so true. So true. Now you are joining me on the phone right now, but you are going to be in London. I know that your Sunday show is completely sold out, but we might just be able to get our hands on some tickets. For the; Monday 24th February 2020 show – at ‘Jazz Cafe’ and Wednesday 26th February 2020 – at the ‘Hideaway’. At the show do you have any opening act?
Each show, each city is somebody different. Iit’s not someone that I am bring with me. So I don’t you know. You know I feel bad about that because, if I was an opening act- I would feel really hot right now. Blame my mind not my heart, because I wasn’t really told. I don’t know exactly who it is.
No. It’s all good because at the end of the day, I know these things can happen. I understand because sometimes these things can be last minute changes and all that. Well, your energy is beautiful and whoever it is, they are going to be in the presence of love and appreciation. That’s the main thing.
Yes for sure! I’m going to be very excited to have them and appreciative of them. Even though I don’t know who they are yet. Like whoever gets on stage and warms up the stage- it is so imperative. It’s such a important job for that artist that is coming behind them. You know because they get them (the crowd) ready. So I am really appreciative.
100%. And the thing is about you, you always come back and show love to the UK. We love you!
Oh, yeah! You know. Listen, I’m a person…. I don’t chase love. I don’t really chase anything. Well the thing is that I’ve never even had to ask for it (love) from the UK. It was given to me without really asking, or trying to get it, or vying for it. It’s just as soon as I came to London the first time, it was like the second place I heard people sing all the lyrics to my song. The first place was Baltimore but they knew one song, ‘Be Your Girl’. When I came to the UK, they knew every song, every adlib, all the musical parts. It blew me away, so I have a huge affection for the UK. Even before I did music, one of the first places that I went out of the country, outside of like Mexico, outside of the States (USA),to the other side of the pond- was to the UK. I was always mesmerised with the people in the UK. I expected being an American in the UK that British people would be a bit more stush, a bit more uptight, but you guys were not. And I love it so much. So it was a different experience. Your idea is (not being from the UK) you see the Queen, the Monarch, all these things and you think that the British are going to be really uptight. But you guys were really super cool and down to earth. I fell in love with the UK before I even done music. So I love the UK.
We love you too Teedra but when you say they were friendly, I reckon it was a weekend… and we were all having a good time, because catch us on a rush hour day. Teedra, I don’t know if you would of got the same reception.
*Laughs* Well the first time I came, I came on tour with Will Smith. So maybe that’s why everyone was friendly.
There we go. I mean if you were trying to walk around between seven in the morning and nine… out of the tube…Even your biggest fan would be like girl, I love you but I got a go to work. Okay! *Laughs*
Well that’s any given city baby.
No, but we appreciate that you come back and show love. Now you said, “performing in London everybody will be knowing all the tunes and the adlibs and everything”. Now what tune do you perform that gets everybody going over here?
Well, ‘Be Your Girl’ is just a staple in any given city. That’s the song that gets going in any city. It’s a tossup between ‘Backstroke’ and ‘Be Your Girl’. You know, the States (USA) go really hard for ‘You Better Tell Her’. But I think in the UK, it’s a tossup between ‘Backstroke’ and ‘Be Your Girl’. ‘Be Your Girl’, I think is the one that wins the most popular one. Everyone whether they know my name or not they know that song. Some people don’t know my body of work and their literary coming to the show for that one song, even though they enjoy the rest of the show. When that one song comes on.. They are like, “that’s my jam, that’s what I’ve been waiting for”. So everyone gets excited for that song.
Now that is an absolute banger! It says something about us over here in the UK -If we are loving off ‘Be Your Girl” and “Backstroke”. That means we either have a guy that don’t want us or we got a guy that we can’t get rid of.
*Laughs* That really sums up dating in London. I am not going to lie. It really does. Now you did mentioned ‘You Better Tell Her’, which is… love it! We are going to get into that right now, so the London crew can learn the lyrics before the show. We are going to get into that right now and then we are going to talk some more.
A lot of them know it already. Believe me. *Laughs*
Now we are going through your phenomenal body of work ‘Complex Simplicity’. Ah, fantastic! And we just played ‘You Better Tell Her’. Now earlier we did mention, ‘Be Your Girl’, which you did say, “Is staple. Everybody knows it, like we’ve all been there with the crushing thing”. Now as if that could get any better… KAYTRANADA remixed it….and it’s like WHAT!? Did you know that was going to happen?
We figured it out. Yeah. I didn’t know him then he was a young up-and-coming DJ/producer and I didn’t. But we figured it out. He reached out and we figured it out. It’s been really a blessing to me, because I personally had no idea that it was going to be that huge- you know. I had no clue that it was going to carry on and we just decided to be released it because it did so well from him (KAYTRANADA) doing his thing. We just went in an rereleased it because there was no way for people to truly find it. It was like it had to find you. So we released it, so people could have it and now there’s a whole other wave of people that have gotten on to it. In 2016/2017, to now. It’s so crazy to me, because we did it that long time ago and then now it’s like got a whole other wave. It has just bought so much more attention to ‘Complex Simplicity’ on a whole actually.
I feel like I love listening to it. I mean I love the original and I love the remix but…..I love them both but
One makes you dance. The remix makes you dance that’s what it is? It’s a whole other vibe to it.
Yes! 100%! You have hit the nail on the head. The original is like I’m in my bedroom. I am chilling
Or I’m riding in my car. It’s like more laid back.
Yeah- but the remix is more like I’m going to the club and I might see my see my crush. Tune!
Right. Right! *laughs*
It’s phenomenal! Now as well as you having the remix with KAYTRANADA ‘Be Your Girl’, there is also a tune between you called ‘Culture’. Now that is an absolute vibe and I’m thinking can we get a full body work between you and KAYTRANA?
I mean, I don’t know. We would like to. We both are just …you know it’s hard being a individual artists and coming together with another artist. The artist is an individual artist and all the different scheduling of working and all the work that you have to do. And right now he (KAYTRANADA) has just put out his album. I am getting ready to put out an album and work on another one and it’s kind of tough. We have definitely talked about it, we have talked about it multiple times. We have a chemistry and you know he’s on my next album as well. The song that is going to be on my album (with KAYTRANADA), it’s not even going to be what people expect- but it’s still very very KAYTRANADA and Teedra. So we would love to do that (collaborate on a whole project) but it’s just that first of all… he is a Virgo he is a perfection…. I am a Sagittarius. I am not a perfectionist but I am a person who also strives for greatness. So we are hard on ourselves and us sitting together- it’s going to happen obviously in time. We know it has be done because people keep asking, but when it’s coming we don’t know exactly.
I am excited for that! I can’t lie. Now you did mention new projects and that’s the thing about you. ‘Complex Simplicity’ is an amazing body of work but you also have other amazing bodies of work as well. You just mentioned you’re going to be working on one right. You are going to release one right (a new body of work/album) very soon?
Yes. Well I mean, we have just finished of the first single and we are taking that to mix and the album should be out before the year is out (in 2020).
First of all I’m always making music because I’m a recording artist and that’s what I do for a living. So I’m a recording artist I am always recording, but it doesn’t mean that an album is coming out, right? When I am recording. Sometimes I am just recording to have bullets in the chamber-You know what I’m saying?. So, when it’s time to shoot I have them. I don’t like to try make an album base on six months, because six months of my experiences are just so limited. Sometimes my albums are based on like about seven years, because I might pull from something that I did seven years ago. You know- that I started seven years ago and that’s when I was in the emotion and I’m not in that emotion anymore. If I just did six months- it would be a pretty narrow perspective, so I tried to take time to record constantly, so when it’s time for me to say something, like this time what I have it’s pretty distinctive. So I have to go back into my catalogue and find songs that fit that expression. You know what I mean?
I completely understand what you mean and I feel like this is why your music is so relatable and believable. Because like you said you’re not rushing to put a project out and your drawing from real life experiences and I feel like that’s why women especially, can relate so much to your music.
Oh yeah. They can definitely relate to this next one.
Oh, I’m here for it. What kind of things If someone is going through something and they are going to relate to the album, what kind of things are they going through if they are going to relate to this new album?
Oh, you have definitely been through heart break. And you’re over it.
It’s like you start of…. . It’s one thing to have your heartbroken, you are going to hear on a lot of albums. “Like oh he broke my heart”. But my perspective on heartbreak is totally different from a lot of people. You’ve got to understand I can talk about a lot of the same things people say. But I’m such a weirdo my perspective is not only very different, but it’s an album to call out the BS (BullSh*t), which is short for the bull -right?. But I don’t call it the BS, because I don’t speak in acronyms. I speak direct. But I’ll tell you because we are on the radio show and it’s called the BS and it is about the BS. It is about the BS of getting your heart broken and extending yourself and getting your heart broken, but also the BS within yourself. The BS within yourself that allows you to be in that position that you don’t want to acknowledge, but it’s very true. Like we draw things into ourselves and then once you realised that, “oh, I put myself here”. Then you realise that, “oh no, hell no!” I will never put myself here again. That is kind of like the whole journey of that project. I’m so into this person and this person is not acting right, but I’m still constantly beating this person over the head to act right. And I realise okay. Its like first of all I start off with saying, being in a place where I am really into this guy so much and how is it that he is not acting right. And I’m beating him over the head. I need him to act right and I need him to get it right, please just come on, love me right. I’m giving you this opportunity to love me right. And I getting to this point where, you know what has put me in this position- where I feel like I need to draw someone to me. And I told you I don’t chase things, but in this moment in my life- I decided to chase things. I decided to chase this man’s love. What? Why am I doing it? What BS is inside myself? Then I had to look at myself, like you are drawing certain things into your life and I need to take accountability for this. Let me tell you how powerful that is. Once you start taking accountability for the things that have happened to you, instead of putting the blame on people around you. When you start saying I am I making choices to put myself in this situation. Then you realise you’re never going to make those choices again and then you turn into a boss. You know that is when you turn into a real beast. You know- It is that oh okay! If a man is going to be in my space- this is my requirements and I am not coming down off those requirements. If you don’t meet those requirements then, okay! And the thing is I know what I have to offer, because I have been the person that has offered up a lot. So I am aware of what I have to offer, so now I put value on that. So if you are in a relationship where you are not being treated the way you want to be -that is your choice. That is your BS. That’s not somebody else’s- you know so. That is really what the album is about. It’s a self awareness type of situation. Initially, I am pointing the blame on this other person and then I turn around and look at myself. Like ok, blaming someone for how you are allowing them to treat you… and why are you allowing them to treat you that way… and now you have to come to a place where you never allow that again. And that is basically the journey of that album.
Teedra! I know you are a spiritual being, so when I say this- I know you’re going to hear me. That message right there… was right on time. And I’m hoping that any of my listeners who are going through something that message was right on time for them as well, because everything that you said there, you hit the nail on the head. Because a friend recently told me that if you go to the shop and you buy something and it doesn’t say what it does on the tin- you return it. Or you stop using it. But when it comes to men, they say they are going to do all this stuff in the beginning and they are no longer serving you how you thought they were supposed to be or it is not working how you thought it would you was going to be. It’s your choice, your power and your decision to get up and go. But us women are lovers and we stay.
And let me tell you this bit of information. Most of the time you see that is about to go wrong, but you want it to go right so much. See people don’t understand how egotistical they are. We think because we are lovers and we are kind and we are giving -that we are not egotistical. No! You need to get to the origin of why you are extending (love etc), you need to get to the origin of that. Why you are you being so loving and so kind because you have an ulterior motive to make this person treat you a certain type of way. You see a lot of times in the beginning you see these signs and you overlook them like, “Oh, that’s okay though. Ah that’ll change. Or Oh, I’ll love him into this kind of person”. No- that egotistical, so you can’t change another human being, you can only deal with yourself- you know what I mean. So I had to learn that. I had to…literally sit with myself and reflect, because I didn’t have relationships for a long time. I was just raising my kids. So I didn’t deal with men during that time…I had to get money girl and take care of my kids. So I jumped in later after seven years of not having any type of relationship. I jumped in and I realise,- oh I’m egotistical. I think because I run a business then- I can make things happen. I’ve got my kids I can make things happen. I see my mum- I thought I could get into a relationship and make things happen, but that’s not how it goes- that is your own ego. People are probably tell you exactly what they’re about to do but you just don’t want to hear it. People are probably even telling you that they probably not even into you like that, but you just don’t want to hear it. Because your ego wants to believe that you can make anything happen that you want to.
This is so right on time. You haven’t even released the BS (album) yet. You haven’t even released this album and as you were speaking I wanted to scream, because I heard you so loud and proud. But I just really didn’t want to interrupt.
I’m glad you can relate.
Listen, it’s right on time. I am so waiting for this new album. I cannot wait. When it comes back out, we are going to have to invite you back on the show and go through this whole album all over again.
Please! Oh yeah.
It is right on time and I feel like a lot of women…we are getting more powerful now. I feel like we are constantly being told to put up with BS and put up with all of that.
It’s like you wait it out and in the end you will get the prize.
And we’ve got a stop doing that now.
I am so excited. Now, as well as KAYTRANADA on the new album have you got any more features?
Errmm..I have KAYTRANADA, Big K.R.I.T. he is one of my favourite rappers. I have the Durand Bernarr- I don’t know if you guys know him in the UK. He is a really amazing soul singer over here in the US. Let’s see… I think they might be the height of my features. I have a couple of remixes of a couple of people that your guys know actually. I have somebody from the UK that is on one of the remixes.
It’s going to be really really good. I don’t want to expose the remixes yet though. I want to put the album out first.
I like that. Speaking of remixes, we haven’t got the new album yet that we are all gassed on it. Whao! Speaking of remixes like we mentioned when KAYTRANADA remixed ‘Be Your Girl’, I didn’t know the song could be taken to a whole other level. If you could remix any tune from that album (Complex Simplicity) now and put someone on it. What song would you remix and who would you put on it?
I would remix ‘Backstroke’ and probably put Jhené Aiko on it.
Ooh her verse would be so fire on that. Oh my gosh!
Yeah. I think she (Jhené Aiko) speaks from an honest place about that experience, so I think she’ll be really dope. And I just love her as an artist.
She is incredible. I feel like R’n’B is changing, but in a good way. I know there has been a lot of talk about R’n’B. I feel like it’s changed, changing, but in a beautiful way. It’s just evolving. Things evolve and they evolve into a beautiful thing. There is quite a lot of a new R&B artist that have popped up in the recent years. Can you give me if you can, top three, who you are really rocking with right now?
Let me see top three. I love a guy called Xavier Omar, he is really amazing. I like Ari Lennox. Ari Lennox, very very amazing. She is very soulful. It’s like when you say “R’n’B is changing” I can tell you three different people that have very different sounds. And I like all the different ways that R’n’B is changing. I think that people want R’n’B to be one thing but it’s not. I definitely like Jhene (Aiko), but that’s the person that comes to mind because she was just on my mind. Those three people are totally different though.
Yeah they are (all very different).
R’n’B is diverse and I think we are going to have to allow it to be that way. The way you would have a Ty Dolla Sign, at the same time you will have a soul singer like BJ the Chicago Kid. They are two totally different things, but they would do records together and we have to allow it to be all of what it is.
I totally agree with you and you just picked three incredible artist. I will be playing their songs throughout the show (The Wave) as well. Teedra this has been… Well 2020 has just started, kind of yeah- It’s been the month and a bit. This may be the best conversation I’ve had for 2020 so far.
Awww thank you!
No, it has been right on time. Like this is amazing! I’m so excited for your new album. We are excited for your shows in London. We are excited….
I’m excited for it all. Listen, I can’t even contain myself I’m so excited. I’m just excited to give. To contribute. It’s all about contribution to me, as an artist, as a human being. Like- what are you contributing to the world? And I’m excited to contribute something. I haven’t contributed new music since 2015 and I just want to and I’m excited to come back to the UK. I haven’t been back in a couple of years, so I’m excited to come back and contribute my energy. You know what I mean? So I’m excited. Yeah, I’m really excited.
Well we’re excited for you. And like I did mention earlier on in the show, as well as ‘Complex Simplicity’ and the new album that you have got something coming out this year…super excited! And you’ve got other bodies of work that are equally as amazing. Now this show is very soulful/very vibes-ie. From your other projects what song do you absolutely love. I know it’s so hard to pick one.
It is so hard. *Laughs*. It’s like asking a mum, which one of your kids do you…(like the most).
I’m going to make it a bit easier for you. Like I said, “this show we play that mellow R’n’B and Soul for hip-hop”. You are going to press play on the next tune and I want it to be from one of your projects that is not complex simplicity. So DJ…
Errmmm… I think…what came to mind when you first started describing the show. Is ‘Only You’ from ‘Cognac and Conversation’.*Teedra sings ‘only You’ song acapella * “I won’t waste another breath, on someone that isn’t yooou. I am done with them. I’m done with them. It’s only yooouu”.
Oh my gosh! We are going to get into that right now on the show.
So to end the show, we love to sign out with an archive classic, because we believe on ‘The Wave’ that to appreciate the new we have to also celebrate the old. Without the past, we would not have the present. So we love to show love. So from your archive selection (because I usually pick from my archive selection). So, what R’n’B song from back in the day do you still rock with in 2020?
I agree (to celebrating the old). Okay, I’m going to go way deeper than some people probably can even think of, because you have to understand I am a very old soul. So I listen to really old music. ‘Jamaica Funk’, because Miss Toni Smith just died. So RIP to Miss Toni Smith. She was the original singer on’ Jamaica Funk’ and people thought that it was Chaka Khan but… . .*Teedra sings ‘Jamaica Funk’ acapella * “Jamaica funk that’s what it is, let me get into you”. I would just like to bring attention to her more than anything because people thought that that was Chaka Khan.
You know what you are schooling us on the show tonight. So we are going to sign out with ‘Jamaica Funk’. Thank you Teedra Moses for the archive classic selection there. Thank you for joining us. I hope you enjoy your amazing time in London
Thank you. I will thank you. I always do.
Well we love having you. And again. Don’t venture out during rush hour because you might hate us.* Laughs*
*Laughs* Everybody make sure they come to the show, it’s going to be a good experience.
After this conversation… Everyone is rolling (to the show)! Thank you so much.