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Tweet: Soul Food Serving

By Mark Lelinwalla
Tuesday - May 3, 2005

DMX once said, "See to live is to suffer, but to survive, well that's to find meaning in the suffering." In correlation, after overcoming a tumultuous stretch in her life, R&B soul singer Tweet has found meaning in the suffering and has survived.

Yes, equipped with the throwback soothing sounds of "Turn Da Lights Off," the sweet Southern Hummingbird has triumphantly returned to the R&B scene with a splash. Her latest album offering, It's Me Again, focuses on giving fans that nostalgic "Put The Needle On The Record" (As Missy says) type of feel-good substantial music. Reminiscently, fans will remember Tweet for her daring debut single "Oops." Well after her brief hiatus from the industry, Missy's protégé has made it a conscious effort to slow it down with her return, and put the emphasis back on being arguably the preeminent soul artist in the game right now.

Read on as Tweet talks about overcoming struggles and surviving, being in an overall happier place and delivering a fresh soul food serving with her new LP, It's Me Again. Undeniably Beyond Hip-Hop, right down to the soul. Ladies and gentlemen, let's welcome back Tweet. With your debut album, your first single "Oops," really caught everyone's eyes and ears. It made everyone momentarily stop what they were doing and pay attention to you. Now with "Turn Da Lights Off," you're slowing things down more. Why did you decide this single over some of the up-tempo tracks you have on the album?

Tweet: On this album, we're focusing more on me being a solo artist, which I am. I'm taking it back to the old vinyl records, the soul records. And what better way to introduce the album than say, "Put the needle on the record?" It plays like a vinyl record, so that's why we went with that as the first single. What did you think of 50's rendition over that instrumental?

Tweet: Oh, I love it. Why?

Tweet: I love it because it's different. [50 Cent is] talking about different stuff on there, and I like the content. You're real soulful, and that's evident when anyone listens to you. What do you think is lacking in sound with other female R&B singers?

Tweet: Oh, wow. A lot of... I don't want to be put out there like that (laughs). And I don't want to put you out there like that.

Tweet: Right, I know. Ya know what it's about? It's the substance in the song. The substance in a song is missing. There's no substance in a lot of the records. They're not talking about anything; whereas with soul music, it's very emotional and things like that. It's emotionally driven. You did a Whitney Houston record that you left off the album. So, if you left a Whitney Houston record off the album, you're basically telling everyone that your album is crazy, right!?

Tweet: It's crazy and also in the years I've been gone, I've been doing music. So I have a lot of records. It was hard for me to choose this 15 [tracks] that's on there. The Whitney record, we'll probably hold till the next one or something like that. Well, how did that collaboration go down, and how did you link up with her?

Tweet: Whitney, well, we recorded this album in Miami and Whitney came up to see Missy. And I asked her, "Whitney, why don't you jump on this record with me?" She was like, "Sure." And that was it, just like that?

Tweet: Yea, just like that. How was it to actually work with Whitney?

Tweet: It was incredible. The whole time I'm sitting there like this is a woman that I wanted to be like when I was younger. I was singing her records in the mirror, and everything like that. So just to see her singing my lyrics was amazing. When you work with Missy, what's the creative attack you two take when you're in the studio together? How does a song become a song?

Tweet: With us two, we're both the same type of artist, in that we are creators. We'll get our own space like, I'll leave her in the studio and let her do her own thing, and then I'll come in and do my thing. It just works together really well; it meshes really well. We're never in there together because we give each other the space to create. As far as guidance goes though, can you talk about what she has meant and means to your career?

Tweet: She means a lot. She's the one that gave me my shot after I left the group. You know I was in the group Sugar for about six years, and Missy was the one that called me back after meeting her and being friends with her since '94. She's the one that gave me my break like, "Let's do this." She put me in the studio, told me to be myself, and I'm here because of her. What do you think about her television show?

Tweet: Yea, I think it's incredible. I think when someone can give someone an opportunity, it's amazing. And I think Jessica -- who won -- I think she'll do everyone proud. She's a fellow artist now. You have a track on your album called "Sports, Sex and Food," which I didn't hear yet. But those are the three things that us guys do love. Can you tell me what made you want to do a record like that?

Tweet: Well, that record was written by Harold Lily and he said, "You need to speak for the men." He said, "I know how I had 'Oops,' and people thought that was a woman's anthem, but now it's time to speak to the men. Speak to the men." So, the record is "Sports, Sex and Food," and it's telling the women don't be in the club shaking it all night, because that's not where you're going to find Mr. Right. Know about the sports. Let the guy watch the game on Sunday or Monday, know a little something in the bedroom, and like my mother said, "A way to a man's heart is through his stomach." What are some album cuts that your fans should definitely pay extra attention to?

Tweet: Definitely the one with my 15-year-old daughter, TaShana. It's called "The Two of Us," and that one is a great song. "Iceberg" is one of my favorites. "I'm Done" is one of my favorites. Let's see, what else? "Things I Don't Mean"; the whole record; the whole album. As far as vibe and content goes, what are the biggest changes from your debut to follow-up album?

Tweet: It's just happier times. The first album was kind of dark, and this one, I'm just in a happier place. I'm three years older now, and I'm over 30. I've been there, done that and I'm chillin', but this is what the album is about. It's Tweet,;I'm Tweet, not the new Tweet, but the better Tweet. On a more serious note, I saw you on a BET program it was, I believe, and you were talking about a suicide contemplation. What does it mean to you now that you were successful getting past that?

Tweet: Well, honestly, when I think back at that time, I just want to slap myself because it really wasn't that bad, when I think about it. But luckily I'm still here. Well, through the grace of God, I'm still here and that's why I don't mind telling the story because I had a fan even at the age of 13 or 14 came up to me, and she said she was going to put a gun up to her head and shoot herself. But because she heard my music, she changed her mind, so that's why I don't mind. I still think it [Tweet's own contemplation] wasn't that bad. I'm ok. I went through it in order to become this strong person I am today. In addition to Missy you worked with a nice collection of producers. Can you mention what stands out about each, when you get in the studio?

Tweet: Well, Nissan Stewart, Craig Brockman and Charlie B. Real, who did the first album with Jubu Smith. They're like my brother,s and they come from the church. We have that vibe or even when I do my records myself with my guitar, they just come around it and just know what I want to hear already. They can speak or play for me. This time I used the Soul Diggers, who were signed to Missy's production label, and they just some young cats that like to bounce. So they give me that bounce. Walter Milsap, he did one record, and he just gave me the gospel of it also. Kwame (claps her hands) who wouldn't want to work with Kwame!? Kwame has been giving some hot joints -- Lloyd Banks and all of that.




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