Mary Christine Brockert known to the world as Teena Marie passed away earlier today at the age of 54.
News of her passing has been confirmed by major news outlets in the United States such as the Huffington Post, CNN and the first to report her death was RadioFacts.com. Brockert’s long time manager Mike Gardner stated that she was found at her home dead due to unknown causes.
Affectionately known as Lady Tee, Brockert began her career in 1976 when she signed to Motown Records. Under the tutelage of the posthumous Rick James, her debut album Wild and Peaceful was released in 1979. She became embraced instantly by a primarily Black listening audience. Her fan base was shocked to discover that she was Caucasian due to her album cover not displaying an image of Brockert. This was revealed on an infamous episode of Soul Train later that year where she performed her first top ten R&B record “I’m Just a Sucker for Your Love” alongside duet partner, Rick James.
Brockert released two subsequent albums, Lady T and Irons in the Fire the following year and Lady T yielded the hit “Behind the Groove”, which reached number 21 on the Black singles US chart and the top ten on the UK singles chart. Irons in the Fire was entirely written, produced and arranged solely by Brockert.
The record “I Need Your Lovin'” delivered Brockert her first top 40 pop hit. Brockert went onto appear on Rick James’ legendary album Street Songs with the iconic duet “Fire and Desire.” Brockert was renowned for being an exceptional guitarist, keyboardist and conga drum player.
Rolling on the successes of the previous two years, 1981 proved to be another exceptional year for Brockert on Motown with release of It Must Be Magic, which debuted at number two on the Black Albums Chart.
“SquareBiz” went onto to become one of her biggest songs in her career landing number three on the Black Singles Chart. This hit record is notable for the fact she was one of the first singers to perform a rap on a record. Brockert was a trendsetter and she proved it by becoming one of the first recording artists to have a law named after her called “The Brockert Initiative” in 1982.
Brockert left Motown due to complications with her record deal and signed a new record deal with Epic. During her stint, she released Robbery (1983), Starchild (1984), Emerald City (1986), Naked to the World (1988) and Ivory (1990). Among these albums Robbery, Starchild and Naked to the World became the most successful for Brockert.
Robbery brought a trio of hit singles with “Fix It,” “Shadow Boxing” and “Casanova Brown.” Starchild blessed the music masses with “Lovergirl” which peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and number nine on the R&B chart. Naked to the World gave Brockert her first and only #1 recording with the epic “Ooo, La, La, La,” which would be interpolated by The Fugees on their hit record “Fu-Gee-La.”
After her last album with Epic Records in 1990, Brockert went on hiatus and raised her only daughter. She released only one full LP in the nineties, Passion Play. This record was released under her independent label, Sarai.
The decade of 2000 saw Brockert get back into recording music once again. She released three albums La Dona (2004) and Sapphire (2006) under Cash Money Records and most recently Congo Square (2009) under Stax/Concord Records. La Dona proved to be golden as the album charted higher than any of her previous efforts by arriving at number six on the Billboard 200 chart and garnered a Grammy award nomination for the single “Still in Love.”
Her legendary discography consists of four gold albums, six top ten albums, seven top ten singles on the U.S. R&B charts along with seven compilation albums and 30 singles to her credit.
Brockert is survived by her daughter, Alia Rose. She will be dearly missed by the greater music community.