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Tamia marks return w/ ‘Beautiful Surprise’

By//Mariah Craddick

It’s been six long years since the four-time Grammy nominated artist Tamia released a new album (Beautiful Surprise is in stores now). But after breaking onto the charts in 1994 at the tender age of 19, the hiatus made perfect sense—allowing her to grow as a singer, lyricist, mother and wife. The R&B powerhouse recently paid a visit to JET and talked to us about her new project, Beautiful Surprise, her view of R&B music today, and the loves of her life.

We haven’t heard any new music from you in quite a while. How long has it taken you to put this project together?

The process of the project really doesn’t take a long time, as far as my part—choosing the songs and getting the actual work done. The hardest and longest part is getting everything packaged, photos, slots with record companies, and picking release dates. So for me, it probably took about eight months to get this project together.

Is there a reason why you waited so long to release new music?

I didn’t say, “I think I’ll go away for five years.” Life happens. I have two girls—five (Lael) and 10 (Myla)—and I’ve been married now for 13 years. I think life is all about timing and I looked up one day and five years had passed.

What’s different about your music now as opposed to five or 10 years ago?

Hopefully my music has changed, because I’ve changed. My first song, I was 19. Now five projects later, obviously I’m not the same girl that I was then. Vocally and personally, as a woman, I feel like I’ve grown.

The name of this new album is Beautiful Surprise. Name three “beautiful surprises” in your life.

My daughters Myla and Lael, and my husband Grant.

You’ve been with your husband Grant Hill for 13 years now. How have the two of you managed to make it last?

I think communication, certainly. And I think that’s within any relationship, whether it’s your sister, brother, girlfriend or boyfriend. It’s about communication, especially when you have two people with demanding careers.

How do you feel about the state of R&B music today?

I feel like it just needs to be supported a little bit more. Fans, radio, all of that. Even as artists, to support each other. A good song never dies. We just need to support it more.

Tamia’s album Beautiful Surprise is in stores now.Visit http://www.tamiaworld.com for upcoming tour dates. Follow her on Twitter @RealTamiaWorld.

To read more about Tamia check out her “Chatting With” interview in the September 3, 2012 issue of JET. CLICK HERE to subscribe.