Teena Marie's Legacy Lingers in Pasadena's San Rafael Neighborhood

Mistah Wilson locates R&B Legend Teena Marie's Pasadena,CA Residence
 Update: The original article claimed Teena Marie's Pasadena home was located in Linda Vista. Correction: Teena Marie's Pasadena, CA residence was located in the San Rafael area @ 1000 Laguna Road. Pasadena, CA 91105

Although the Ivory Queen of Soul and Rick James protege wasn't born in Pasadena, California, the fact that she lived off Laguna Road right here in Pasadena's San Rafael neighborhood means a lot for the local music scene.

As you think about what Pasadena has been to the County of Los Angeles, you can only imagine the type of things that have transpired on the local music scene with Hollywood being so close. Pasadena has been known as a place Hollywood comes to when they are trying to keep a low profile. Even so, it's also a place Hollywood shoots a lot of their highly esteemed TV Show sitcoms, movies, commercials, and more.

Percy's Portrait Photography
But, let's get back to Teena. It has been no secret that she passed away in her Pasadena home on
December 26th, 2010. Teena was one of the many famous musicians who made some type of establishment for themselves in Pasadena, California. So, what does that mean for the local music scene? Well, let's take a look at who she was and what she accomplished in her career. The classic Motown recording artist followed the footsteps of funk legend Rick James.

Born in Santa Monica, California, Teena Marie was no doubt a one-of-a-kind musician. She began singing in her early childhood at local churches, took piano lessons, and dibbled in musical theater as well. She landed a role in The Beverly Hillbillies, credited as Tina Marie Brockert. After living in San Fernando Valley's Mission Hills, she moved to the Oakwood neighborhood of Venice Beach where she would begin taking the necessary steps to pursuing a career as a musician. She took numerous buses to Hollywood and would walk Sunset Boulevard shopping her music. She put a musical group together, however, when she was granted the rare opportunity to actually meet Berry Gordy, he didn't see the need for a group dynamic with her skill set. So he signed Teena Marie to Motown Records as a solo act.

In the early 1970's, Gordy moved Motown Records from Detroit, Michigan to Los Angeles,
Percy's Portrait Photography
California. For the first few years of Teena being on Motown, she struggled with their producers. Then, already established musician Rick James, who was also signed to Motown, gets wind of Teena's talent and it wasn't long before they collaborated. From that point forward, Rick James and Teena Marie would develop a close relationship on and off the stage.

Teena's debut album Wild & Peaceful scored her first top ten R&B hit with "I'm A Sucker For Your Love", a duet with Rick James. It wasn't long before Marie was credited with being more talented than other African-American Blues singers. Although that qualifies as an opinion, Berry Gordy claims," When I go to see her, (the audience) it's about 70% black." Not to take away from the great Afro-American singers of that time, Teena was just one of those musicians who really had the blow. So much to a point where you listen to it and have no idea she is Caucasian.

Percy's Portrait Photography
When Teena's relationship with James began to take a dive, she wanted to do her own thing. However, when she attempts to go off and do her own thing, she got into a heated legal dispute with  Motown Records that ended in Marie winning. Her win changed the music industry by balancing the power between record labels and their signed artists. The lawsuit resulted in "The Brockert Initiative", which made it illegal for a record company to keep an artist under contract without releasing new material for that artist. It was a huge win. Teena Marie commented on the law in an LA Times article, saying, "It wasn't something I set out to do. I just wanted to get away from Motown and have a good life. But it helped a lot of people, like Luther Vandross and the Mary Jane Girls, and a lot of different artists, to be able to get out of their contracts." She left Motown as the label's most successful white solo act. And that is when she was rumored to have bought her house on Laguna Road in Pasadena, California's prestigious San Rafael neighborhood.

Since then, Teena has had a great career. An electric performer who could satisfy the arena. She's worked with great artists such as Rick James (of course), Faith Evans, Snoop Dogg, Domino, Eve, George Duke, Gerald Levert, & more. "In the studio with Teena was a little intimidating," says Faith Evans who was honored to work with her. 

Mistah Wilson located Teena Marie's Pasadena residence by finding the coordinates here. Once the here. When he arrived at the address, he spoke with the current owner of the home who was able & willing to give a little more insight into her living conditions that some blame for her seizure.
Percy's Portrait Photography
When the coordinates were found, Mistah Wilson was able to see exactly where Teena lived in Pasadena, California. When Mistah Wilson discovered the address, he decided to pay the home a visit to see if it matches with pictures of her Pasadena home featured here.

The owner informed Mistah Wilson that she strongly believed that many people took advantage of her. We're talking people from Rick James himself to her pool man. The current owner also mentioned that when she moved into the house in 2011, she didn't sleep in Marie's bedroom for 3 years because that was the room she died in. The owner claims that when her house flooded the day after Christmas in 2010, it filled her entire downstairs including her home studio. The current homeowner believes that the flood caused stress that led to her seizure.

"She's still relevant after 30 years because she's good," says Gordy in TVOne's Unsung. It was nice to know that Marie took parenting seriously. She claims that she didn't want to raise her daughter with a nanny so she made some career sacrifices to make a life for Alia Rose, who goes by the stage name Rose Le Beau. "The thing I'm very proud of is my child," says Teena Marie.

According to Wikipedia, In 2004, while Teena Marie was sleeping in a hotel room, a large picture frame fell and struck her on the head. The blow caused a serious concussion that would cause momentary seizures for the rest of her life. On the afternoon of December 26, 2010, Teena Marie was found unresponsive by her daughter, Alia Rose, at Teena Marie's home in Pasadena, California. On December 30, 2010, an autopsy was performed by the Los Angeles County coroner, who found no signs of apparent trauma or a discernible cause of death, and concluded she had died from natural causes. She had suffered a tonic–clonic seizure a month before.

A memorial service was held at Forest Lawn Cemetery on January 10, 2011. Among those in attendance were Smokey Robinson, LisaRaye, Sinbad, Tichina Arnold, Stevie Wonder, Deniece Williams, Shanice Wilson, Queen Latifah, and Berry Gordy, Jr.

Post a Comment