With special appearances from Loon, their song “Young & Sexy,” featured on NBA Live 2003 and appearances across the country – the 24-year-old Detroit-to-Brooklyn transplant has been making audiences eat out of the palm of her hand for years with her sexy, exotic look.
For the woman whose name translates into “Queen” in Swahili, nothing less is expected, but to be the best. With a solo album in the works and a single, co-written by one of the game’s best – The Dream – this Queen is looking to be in charge of her own castle. As the talented Ms. Loren sits down with Beauty & Brains – she discusses why the group life will never be for her, how those sexy eyes always gets her into trouble and what men she gives a "10" to in the industry.
Beauty & Brains: From reading on your page, it seems like you’ve given up on being a team player and focusing more on being your own woman. You weren’t selfish as a child, were you?
Tayma Loren: [Laughs] Selfish? Well, as a child, I was really quiet and kept to myself. I think that that spilled over into the things that I did do when I was in a group. When I first started – it was good that I was in those groups because it helped me grow. I don’t consider myself as being quiet anymore, though. I’m just happy to not depend on other bitches. [Laughs] That’s such a headache that I tried several times. Initially, I thought that I was ready to go out on my own, but it’s so much better being solo now. Being independent for yourself, you learn that the smallest things are so appreciated. From dressing to rehearsal, everything is dependent on everyone who’s in the group. The last group I was in was so frustrating because I was dealing with people whose focus wasn’t the same as mine's. We’d have a meeting to go to the next day and they’d be out partying. If stuff gets fucked up, you couldn’t blame the individuals in the group – the entire group was to blame – and I didn’t want to have to continue to take up for other people’s mistakes.
B&B: The one thing that’s clear is that music seems to be your first love. How did you find that to be your passion instead of anything else?
TL: I grew up in a very musical family. My brother is a producer. He did [J. Holiday's] “Bed,” [The Dream's] “Shawty is a 10,” and damn near half of The Dream’s [Lovehate] album. I actually had a pleasure working with him on my record “Tipsy.” That’s something that you’re not going to be hesitant about doing; working with The Dream. He’s cool to work with.
B&B: Now, you never been into modeling or being the video girl or anything like that, have you?
TL: Never. The only video I’ve been in was my own.
B&B: Why not [Laughs]…?
TL: [Laughs] I guess I’m too short. I know nowadays the girls can be, really, any height, but I’ve never been into that scene. I like to leave a bit to the imagination. No disrespect to anyone else, but I’d rather be viewed for my talent rather than my “assets.”
B&B: Well, clearly you got the beauty to do more than compete, but when you were signed to J. Records back in the day – did you think that you’d have to reinvent yourself as an artist?
TL: At the time, I don’t know, I knew at the time that I definitely wanted to break out and do my own thing. I was using the group to catapult myself, but I knew that it wasn’t going to go too far. That’s why I think it’s always interesting to reinvent yourself. I changed my hair color, for instance; I felt like it was a fresh start. I had done the group thing for so long and now I had just wanted a fresh look. I felt like the blonde added a “look-at-me now” quality.
B&B: Well, looking at the music business can be shakier than the modeling world – especially with the Inter net and all. But when you’re not in the studio – what does Tayma Loren do for fun?
TL: What do I do for fun? [Laughs]… I don’t do much. I just work a lot when I’m at home. That’s about it. I seriously don’t go out much. I’m usually holed up in my place in Brooklyn, but, right now, I’m here down in Atlanta.
B&B: This probably like the billionth time you’ve heard this, probably, but you have a very exotic look about yourself. What’s your background?
TL: I’ve never heard that one before. [Laughs] I’m straight Negroidian. I have heard that my eyes look kind of Asian, but my mother is pretty dark-skinned. I guess I was just blessed.
B&B: The rule in the game usually goes that “sex sells” and with that exotic look – has it ever gotten you into trouble that you didn’t expect to get into?
TL: Hmm… Good question. Nope, I don’t think it ever has. The more that I start to promote this single, the more I think it’ll get me in trouble. So far, I think that I’ve been good. The funniest thing that I’ve seen so far, since being in the industry was when I was doing a show and, you know how when you perform for people you kind of sing to them? Most people realize that its part of the show, but this guy came up after the show and thought that I was looking at him. I was like, “Are you serious?” I didn’t want to be rude. You try to make people feel good, but he was feeling too good.
B&B: That kind of industry thinking usually pisses off your husband and your team, right?
TL: [Laughs] I don’t have a husband. I’ve always made sure that it be known that I am in the music business and I lay the ground rules off jump. If the man in my life gets uncomfortable, then he can step. I don’t deal well with jealousy. I am gone a lot and I’m out of town. If you can’t deal with that then you can head on elsewhere. When you get to a point where you’re comfortable enough, then you don’t have issues with it. But I’m not there. I’m still in the experimental stages.
B&B: Well, speaking of your team, you’re putting in a lot of work with the mind behind The Dream’s “Shawty Is A 10” record, right?
TL: My peoples, yes… He did half of The Dream’s album, so they developed a relationship afterwards. My brother asked me to help out. He [The Dream] didn’t do it for free, but it’s a good look. This particular song actually came about through the group that I did on J Records. It was originally called “Hot ‘N Tipsy.” Star & Bucwild used to play it a lot on their radio show. But that was four to five years ago. My brother told me that people still came up to him asking about that song. So, we just took the concept and made it into a completely different song. That’s pretty much it. The industry is used to chicks not singing about stuff, that in the end, what I was singing about in this song, became cool. I don’t think that girls would sing anything about what I’m singing about now.
B&B: What’s your favorite drink?
TL: I have this drink that my friend in Atlanta put me on to. It’s called a “Bob Marley.” It’s layers of liquor in red, gold and green. I can handle about two. [Laughs] I tried to do three at one point and my memory gets kind of messed up. I had three at this bowling alley in Atlanta, I think [laughs], if that was possible!
B&B: So, what guys would you give a “10” to in the game?
TL: [Laughs] Let me think… There’s got to be somebody. Idris Elba, Hill Harper, Andre 3000 [click to read], oohhh, that’s the one! He has this swagger about him that’s confident and not cocky. I remember going to one of his shows when I was younger, around the time that ATLiens was out and I was the only one who wasn’t moving. He looked directly at me. It made me feel good. I would love to do a song with him. I’d love to do a song with Eminem, too. I think that if he were to get on this “Tipsy” song it’d be crazy. I don’t know what he’s doing, I heard that he’s coming back, but you never know.
B&B: They say that most R&B girls are diva-like and want everything for themselves. At the end of the day – what does Tayma Loren want and how do you plan on getting it in this crazy music business?
TL: At the end of the day, I just want to be respected for being me; for being an artist. In the industry today, there are two types of female artists, there are the ones who can really sing and the ones who can dance and perform. The only exception to that is Beyoncé. I really think that I’m one of those people who have an overall confidence about things. I want to put on a show. Who wants to pay to see a show when you can just listen to the record? I definitely dance and sing, I incorporate that into my shows every time.
Be sure to check her out [click here]