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TEKITHA
[The Wisdom Body Interview]


Interview Date: 24th. October. 2006

Conducted By: Dark 7 Invader

Notes:
Special thanks to Tekitha for the interview.


Interview

Imagine your record being one of the most anticipated albums for years even though it never actually came out. Imagine having an international fan base in this microwave mcnugget culture still without an album out, Imagine being voted best female vocalist on chat rooms and forums without even a properly promoted single out to date. Imagine The RZA of the almighty Wu-Tang Clan and one of Hip-hop's top producers behind your record. Imagine being Tekitha. 

A rare artist among her own generation, a singer, dancer, poet, gymnast, extraordinary songwriter and an emcee, Tekitha was introduced to the world via her Wu-Tang affiliation, she appeared  on the double disc classic album Wu-Tang Forever, where she also had a solo venture titled "Second Coming", She has  proven to be a wealth of vocal skills and has gone on to fill in for the then unavailable Mary J. Blige in the song/video for Ghostface Killah's "All That I Got Is You". Not being confined to just singing,  fans and critics were equally surprised but impressed when she dropped a sharp verse on Cappdonna's "Pump your Fist"  off  "The Pillage" album.

She has proceeded to feature on a number of Wu-Tang projects as well as other artists like the likes of Hip-hop's legendary KRS-One as well as house/dance heavyweight Armand Van Helden.

Versatility and flexibility seems to be a one of Tekitha's traits, a random encounter with a stranger on a train lead her to  meet and record with one of the then best kept secret in house music, Armand Van Helden, recording for such labels as Strictly Rhythm, Henry St., and Logic. Afterwards, becoming of one of the top names in dance music altogether. The result of Almand and Tekitha's union was the club anthem "Mother Earth" from "2 Future 4 U " album, which was a #1 hit in the UK sales and dance charts, following on to more collaborations and the formation of the group and project Sahara.

After a number of obstacles thrown her way, Tekitha is still very much around and relevant, a much needed voice today's music and culture. Wisdom body is a word one will associate with Tekitha, wisdom being the ability to discern inner qualities and relationships; a synonymous with insight, good sense, and sound judgment and body could be explained as a collection of particulars considered as a system. In her own words, wisdom  are wise words spoken and the body representing a temple or collective parts working as one, Wisdom body is a collective and corporation. While the die hard fans might still be browsing the net for anything under her name, not everyone knows what she has been up to, Wu-International had a chance to delve into the mind of the gorgeous Tekitha and what she has been up to all this time, Wu-Tang, her dedication to her community, future works and more. Though she might have featured on several guest shots and  various projects, its time for that voice to speak out... Enjoy!!


I like to say thanks first and foremost for taking the time to answer these questions, highly appreciated, and will also point out that nothing will be altered, edited or changed when this is published online.

Wu-International: Peace Tekitha, how are you?
Tekitha:  I’m very well thank you

Wu-International: Everyone on our site definitely know who you are, but for people not up on game, can you please introduce yourself, tell us who you are, where you are from and currently located?
Tekitha:  I am Tekitha mostly known for my affiliation with Wu Tang Clan, I’m originally from Sacramento, Cali and currently reside in SF. Although I find it hard to sit still so I’m between many places, as it keeps my creative juice flowin.

Wu-International: What was it like growing up in Sacramento? What is one of your earliest memories?
Tekitha:  My childhood was different from most of my peers in that I had a pretty structured routine by the time I was 5 years old. I was a competitive gymnast from that age until I was 17, but I had some similarities when it came to my home environment in my pre-teen years because my father was not in the home. My earliest childhood memory is probably living in Washington State and watching my uncle accidentally run over my cat in the driveway, haven’t been a cat person since.

Wu-International:  Sorry to hear that, I have heard you sing, rhyme, kick some spoken words/poetry type songs etc, I think a lot of people see you more of a singer, what do you consider yourself to be?
Tekitha:  I consider myself to be an all around artist. My mind, voice, and body are a vessel for artistic expression. I am a dancer. I am a poet, an mc, a singer, and a songwriter. I am an actor. I feel to confine myself to one form of expression would be unfair and would also present quite a problem for my overall fullness in life.

Wu-International: You got a voice like an angel, When did you first realize you had a gift and how did you get into singing/rhyming?
Tekitha:  I realized myself in 1994. I was living in Atlanta and had decided one day to turn about 10 pieces of poetry into songs never having written a song before but always been a fan of music, (my father, mother and grandmother are credited for my musical taste) I somehow understood the concept of verses, bars, bridges a chorus and so on. I then performed the songs accapella for my aunt and she began to cry. It was then that I realized my gift.

Question: Everyone is influenced by someone or something somehow, who or what would you say your influences are?

Tekitha: My mother mostly influences me. She has been a pillar of strength for my brother and I. Providing for us solely, and nurturing our dreams and desires was always at the top of her to do list.

I also feel that like many of us my environment influences me as well. I feel fortunate to have a strong mind and will so I generally do things that suit my character although we all have moments do we not? I think that’s why the work I am doing is important because most of the young people I know don’t have many pillars, and as we see the music industry isn’t providing us with a balanced idea of what life can look like. To show some equality in this “visual music” is resting on the shoulders of people who are convicted to provide an alternative way of life. I said that to say, I am influenced by the conditions that young people are growing up in. The great musicians who have chosen to be a voice for those who aren’t speaking or not heard influence me.

Wu-International: Thanks, You are mostly known for your collaboration with the Wu-Tang Clan members and affiliates, when, by who and how were you discovered that lead to you working closely within the Wu circle?
Tekitha:  In 1995, a mutual friend of the clan and I took some work I had completed, unbeknown to me, and carried it with him to the million man march. The Clan was driving from D.C to ATL for some shows. I believe the CD ended up in the hands of Tarif who was an executive producer. From then about a week or two later someone from Wu Tang Productions started calling me at my managements office. They came out to Chicago for a performance and the following day I sat and met with Tarif and we made an agreement then and there. Shortly thereafter I moved back down to ATL, where I began recording & making some trips up to New York, meeting various producers and artists in the family. One trip I was brought to meet RZA and the rest is history. We’ve been stuck like glue ever since.

Wu-International: So what is it like working with the Clan members, and whom would you say you are closest to?
Tekitha:  It has been one of the greatest joys in my life to work with such passionate and talented men. They all have provided me with a multitude of wisdom and forced me early on to know myself or I could be devoured by this game. I love each and every one of the clan. They all provide a different kind of support to me but I would have to say I am the closest with The RZA. From the day we met it was like meeting a science partner or maybe seeing a brother you haven’t seen in a lifetime but when you see him again you are well aware of who he is. Sounds crazy right? All I can say is when I write songs the music I hear in my head almost always comes out of a board under his fingertips. His music compliments my style, and my voice compliments his sound.

Wu-International: True indeed, so since most of the Wu are based in NY, did it require you relocating and moving to NY in the beginning, and if so, what was that like?
Tekitha:  I did eventually relocate and I loved being accessible that made all the difference.

Wu-International:  You laced Ghostface’s “All That I Got Is You” song very nicely, the hook was initially done by Mary J Blige, were there any specific reasons why you were used for the single & video instead?
Tekitha:  I believe that Mary’s label wouldn’t let her release the song some kind of red tape.

Wu-International: J. Blige is seen as the queen of hip-hop soul, I heard both versions of that track and they are equally very good, You did great justice to that song, were you under pressure to deliver considering Blige has already done something similar and your name was still new compared to her who was already established at that time?
Tekitha:  Are you kidding me? I did not want to do it for that reason alone…not the pressure of will the vocal sound cool but will people write me off because I re-cut it. I was so new in the fam that I felt obligated to do it when I was asked but also honoured that I was asked because they could’ve gotten anyone else to do it.

Wu-International: Would you say you have a specific style or sound? If so how would you describe it?
Tekitha:  I have been asked that question many times to me its just soul music. Of course it has hip hop over and undertones but overall it is music for the soul feels good to the soul it connects with the soul.

Wu-International: Ok, so Hip-hop, Soul, you have even done Club, House and Dance music, if you were to classify yourself to any or one, what would you class yourself as?
Tekitha:  I don’t know what you classify me as? Living art I guess! LOL

Wu-International: I have seen surveys on numerous sites and forums and you always come out as the favourite female Wu-tang affiliated artist all the time, no exaggerations, are you aware you have a strong cult following? Especially within the Wu fans, even without an album out, how do you feel about this?
Tekitha:
 Are u serious? I love that!! There are some die hards out there and man when I do deliver this project it will be like nothing they ever expected. I have raised the bar on myself so high that I can’t stop until I feel the best of myself will be portrayed. I thought this process would be easier than it has been but I am committed to giving something to the people who are still standing with me. That my friend is REAL TALK!

Wu-International: With that in mind, everyone wonders why you are yet to drop an album, Wisdom body LP is still listed in Amazon since 2001 to be released via Sony records, can you please tell us more about this album, as in guests appearances and production, how many tracks, concepts etc and why it is not yet released to date?
Tekitha:  Wisdom Body the LP is collection of songs that reflect my life experience. The life I’ve lead, the mistakes I’ve made, the loves I’ve had, my clarity and slumber. All of it!! Right now I have 2 albums worth of material some I love some I like… working with RZA and Stevie J. (BadBoy Hit men fame) & a new production team called XP.

Wu-International: Wisdom body is an interesting title, why did you call it wisdom body?

Tekitha:  Wisdom Body is the name I adopted back in 1991- wisdom being wise words spoken and the body representing a temple or collective parts working as one. The album is the same idea; I am speaking from a place of wisdom in a collection of songs. Wisdom body is a collective and corporation. You’ll be hearing more about that very soon.
Wu-International: There were rumours online that this album was released in limited amount in Japan or overseas, is this true?
Tekitha:  Well I know it was bootlegged many years ago so it could’ve ended up just about anywhere. Unfortunately, the music that was taken weren’t even mixed songs so they were just ideas I was working on that was pretty hurtful to me because it was some staff person who took the music. Oh well…

Wu-International: Same thing happened with Royal Fam and Darkim Be Allah albums, anyway moving on, Sahara is basically you and Armand Van Helden, I was fortunate enough to get a promo copy of the Earth’s Rising EP from a friend some years back, the album was also never released, Please tell us more about this LP, if it was completed, how many songs, guest appearances and reason its not been released if you know?
Tekitha:  We ended up licensing singles of that album it made more sense for us that way.
 

Wu-International: I am not your usual club, house or dance music fan, but I really loved that EP, my favourite songs are “I Fly” and “Wasn’t the Only One”, great vocals and lyrics, how easy was it for you to make that transition from say hip-hop/soul to dance/house?

Tekitha:  I am glad you appreciated those songs, very cool of you to get it. Like I said before, I am an artist, for me there is no transition from one form to the next. I have some things I’d like to say so I find an avenue from which to say them. I’m not a huge house fan myself but that project was actually easy because Armand is a B-Boy for real. So he was easy to relate to. I recorded 21 songs in 2 weeks and I had my daughter with me while my cousin played the nanny position so I could work. Wonderful experience I must say.

Wu-International: Wow, 21 songs? that's crazy, So tell us more about the group Sahara, how did that project come about and how did you meet Armand Van Helden?
Tekitha:  I met Armand through a guy named Duane who I met on a train on my way to Boston. Very random encounter… we started talking about music he recognized my name when I introduced myself and said that his friend is a Wu Tang fan and he’s a producer would I like to meet him maybe we could collab and so on. We met and he was working on an album entitled 2 future for u he asked did I want to get down…I thought it would be good to exercise my skill so I did it. A song called mother earth was the result of our first collab.

Wu-International: Are you still working with Armand and will there be future projects involving you and him as Sahara or otherwise?
Tekitha:  I intend to do some more work with Armand preferably on the wisdom body project because I want people to hear other styles of his music. We’ll see about doing another Sahara record it would have to be some next level shit though. Some ol’ rock meets house meets hip hop.

Wu-International: Still on groups, word was that RZA was putting together an all star line up female group or project called “Black Shampoo” or so, to involve yourself, Blue Raspberry, Makeba Mooncycle, some members of Deadly Venoms and more, was this true and can you kindly shed some light to this?
Tekitha:  I remember that era…it was an idea he had but as we all know. RZA is a workaholic and I don’t think he had the time to nurture that kind of idea.

Wu-International: That would have been a big project for the fans, With you being mainly  a solo artist, if you were to form a group with 1 or 2 people, who would they be, and why?
Tekitha:  Ladybug Mecca, Erykah Badu mainly because they both mc and sing and I have admired their skill as artists and what they represent as women. You never know might find that collab on the record though.

Wu-International: Alright then, looking into the future, how close are you to completing your album and when do you hope to release it?
Tekitha:  I would say I am a few months from completion and hope to have a summer release 07.

Wu-International: Will you be displaying your different styles on this album and will we see you rhyming on it or is it purely just singing?
Tekitha:  oh yes many styles will be represented but there will be a common thread so people won’t get lost in the mix.

Wu-International: Have you started shopping it to the labels, or does one already back it up?
Tekitha:  If I don’t release it independently it will be backed by RZA’s label thru Universal Music.

Wu-International: The song “Riding” is a 5/5 star rating for me, I also love “No Way To Run” I still bump both songs to this day, who produced these songs, and will they be on your upcoming album?
Tekitha:  Ridin' was produced by Armand Van Helden and this “No Way To Run” I don’t recall that song… I think I may remember it but you would have to refresh me to be sure.

Wu-International: Maybe you called it something else, that’s the title I know it as, will send the MP3 to you, So any favourite song on your album right now you might want to tell us about?
Tekitha:  I love this record called Wut U Got produced by XP- and I Don’t Care produced by Stevie J. Two very different records but I enjoy listening to them both.

Wu-International: When you write a song, what emotion helps you make the best song? Anger, sadness, happiness, etc. or do you separate yourself from your emotions when you write?
Tekitha:  I guess sadness or despair had been a channel I used to write a lot of my music from I have evolved over the years to not draw on only my pain to write my songs, my daughter has helped me to feel joy and write from that place and not be afraid of that feeling. I didn’t want to be that woman that has to be crushed in order to write.

Wu-International: Do you usually write to an instrumental or just write the lyrics and look for an instrumental that fits?
Tekitha:  It really depends on the day. Sometimes I write in the shower a melody may appear seemingly out of nowhere and I just role with it sing the melody over and over and let the lyrics out and when I get an opportunity to sit and write it I do so then, or sometimes the beat may come and I vibe on it and write it on the spot.

Wu-International: Which song or songs would you say are your best work to date?
Tekitha:   I have a song called Harlem high that I also love not sure if its my best work to date but it sure is a strong creative rep…from the harmonies to the chord progression I co-produced that song with some very talented musicians. It’s hard for me to say what is the best work I’ve done because I’m not sure if I’ve done it yet. I am very close though.

Wu-International: if you could remake any hip-hop song, which song would you choose?
Tekitha:  I have no idea what a hard question!!! I’ll think about it, get back to me on that one. So many I love but wouldn’t want to touch you know!

Wu-International: Surely will, I saw you at a Wu show in Budapest some years back, a lot of fans would hit me for this, but without taking anything away from RZA and co, you were

definitely the best performance that night, for me anyways, how do you view Europe in terms of hip-hop and touring?

Tekitha:   I love the audience out there they have a way of appreciating music in a way we seem too full of ourselves to do. I guess you can’t look cool if you’re showin some love, respect or appreciation for someone on a stage singing or rhyming to you huh? Too bad isn’t it?

Wu-International: Yes… An untitled song you sang during that show goes a little like this “I’ve watched this music game go up & down, fast & slow, reducing queens to hoes” other lines includes “Life imitating art & grows into justified behaviour, not save or savage at best, until what’s wrong is corrected, I will not rest as of yet….” Do you feel the media is justified for viewing hip-hop music as a negative influence on the youths?
Tekitha:  That song is called “Masta Build”, another record I love. I feel the media is of course justified but its all pretty tricky ya know there are other artist out there with a different perspective on life but the media doesn’t shine any light on them so between the industry and the media seems like a very calculated affair to me.

Wu-International: So how do you feel about hip-hop in 2006, which artists are you currently feeling or listening to? Since you lived down south for a while, are you into crunk music?
Tekitha:  I think hip-hop is ever changing as it should be but I surely would want for more balance. I feel its unfair how we leave these youngsters with a one sided view of life, and what it means to be young and black in 2006. There is such an abundance of the pimpin, trickin, & money gettin by any means that it doesn’t seem like there are many options for a young man or woman, if u let TV tell it. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the parents to provide some alternative options from the ones the world is offering them. But what ever happened to the village raising the child. Music is a world in and of itself and we, as the contributors to this world, should be responsible for how it is feeding the minds of the people it is producing. We are producing little pimps and hoes, drug dealers, and thugs overall savage minded individuals. Sounds harsh but it is the truth. There really should be some balance. I listen to all kinds of music, I have always loved a rowdy club record so crunk music is fun can’t deny that. I can’t say I’m buying a lot of music but I’m not burning records either…

Wu-International: True words, thanks. Moving on, not to put you in any box but most of your songs are conscious, be it based on social issues, love, or something to chill or ride to, you always sprinkle it with some knowledge or truth, What would you say you were trying to achieve with your music?
Tekitha: Hopefully some insight on myself and my thinking, and maybe creating a bridge with likeminded folks. I always felt different growing up like I didn’t fit ya know but as I have travelled I have met some men and women who think like I do, look like I do, and live their lives in a way similar to mine. My goal is through my music to group us all together and be recognized as a movement. That is the next step for me collecting all the supporters and making them active. Much more than a fan club my friend. When everything is in order I’ll tell you how to get the fans down with that.

Wu-International: Well, count me in :-), the song we spoke about “No way to run” I heard it on a mixtape hosted by Wyclef some time back, what are your thoughts on the mixtape circuits? Are you for this sort of promotion and is it something you plan to do as in releasing a full Tekitha mixtape before or after your album?
Tekitha:  Love the mixtape aspect. The streets talk ya know, and that’s where the mixtape rules. So that will definitely precede the album.

Wu-International: How has being affiliated with the Wu affected your career? Name some advantages and disadvantages that fans may not be aware of if any?
Tekitha:  To be a new artist it normally very hard to get worldwide recognition which my affiliation has afforded me. Although I haven’t released an album to still have a buzz is pretty incredible and it is because of the Clan support and love from the fans that the buzz is still there. One of the main challenges is being seen independent of the Clan. By that I mean I am not one of Wu-Tang’s singers, I don’t sing for Wu Tang, they will forever be my family its that kind of party, but I am Tekitha. I am singing for my daughter and my community. I am an artist because this gift was placed in my heart and mind and I have given in to it. Took me some time to accept the role I was to play and step up to it but that time has come.

Wu-International: Word is Wu-tang clan are currently working on a new album, will you or have you been called to contribute to this?
Tekitha:  I would love to be a part of that if time permits and I am asked to be there, without a doubt I will.

Wu-International: Who has been the most influential person in your life?
Tekitha:  My mother

Wu-International: Is there anybody out there that you have not worked with that you wish or would like to work with?
Tekitha:  I would really like to work with Andre 3000 and Rick Rueben

Wu-International: What's the most interesting un-true rumours you've heard about yourself?
Tekitha:  Oh brother don’t even get me started

Wu-International: What was the biggest mistake you have made in your career?
Tekitha:  Probably not fine-tuning a team early in the game to jump out sooner than later, all for a reason I firmly believe now, so was it a mistake? Maybe not.

Wu-International: Ok, few final questions, what do you normally do when not recording or making music, as in hobbies, general interests, etc?
Tekitha:   I love long car trips…and going to the movies. I’m a big time movie buff. Films from the 40’s and 50’s are my favourites spending time with my family, my daughter especially, is my favourite thing to do by far!!! She is a breath a fresh air to say the least with quite a sense of humour I might add.

Wu-International: Please give us a run down on what’s next for Tekitha for the rest of 2006, 2007 and beyond (as in shows, movies, tours, mix tapes etc)?
Tekitha:  Well, completing this project once and for all, releasing a coffee table book along with the album, various shows worldwide in coffee houses, small and large venues (should have an itinerary up by spring 07’) perfecting my craft, raising my daughter and positively effecting the communities I am a part of.

Wu-International: You have been doing this for a while and still doing it, do you have any words of advice for anyone trying to get into the music industry?
Tekitha:  Research what you need in order to achieve what you want, go the bookstore read up on publishing, copywriting, business management and so on. Create a team around you to help you achieve the goals that you set. All in all, there are so many aspects of music business to know and understand in order for you to be successful. I would suggest learning as much as possible to save you time, money and energy along your journey.

Wu-International: Thanks very much Tekitha, it’s been a lot of questions, and believe me there were more than this initially we had to filter them, we always get emails enquiring about you all the time, so you taking the time to answer these questions means a lot not just to us here at Wu-International but to mostly to the fans everywhere, thanks again, highly appreciated, any last words, shout outs, anything else we missed that you want the fans to know?
Tekitha: I would like to thank all the people who have inquired about me over these years. It makes me feel like this struggle hasn’t been in vain. I appreciate your continued support

and I look forward to delivering a masterpiece to each and everyone who has been waiting so patiently as well as to those who had no idea I was standing in the wing. 

Wu-International: Thanks very much again, good luck with all your endeavours and we look forward to hearing more from you in the near future, Peace

Tekitha: Thank you. I enjoyed it, you had a good group of questions. See you when the pendulum swings back.
One.

Corrections: Since the interview, the song in question "No way to run" was emailed to Tekitha who confirmed the real title was "Ride This Wave" .

Stay up to date with Tekitha at http://www.myspace.com/tekitha


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