While working at Blockbuster, aspiring R&B singer Tyra B got a tremendous confidence boost when some local fans shopping for DVD's had seen her perform locally a couple of times. "They came up to me and were like, 'What are you doing here?'" the Virginia native recalls with a laugh. "I looked down at my uniform and was like, 'What do you mean? I'm working.' The man was like, 'You're not going to be here long. You're too talented. You're going to make it big one day.'"
The conversation turned out to be a prescient one, as Tyra B was soon signed to GG&L Music (now known as Sphinx Music Entertainment/Warner Bros. Records). Now, Tyra's tireless work as a singer, writer, dancer and all-around entertainer is ready for a national stage. "She's like Janet in her prime mixed with Aaliyah," says producer Bradd Young. Young and Pretty Boy, of NYLA Productions, produced the majority of Tyra B's remarkable debut album, Past Due. "She can write, perform, sing," Young adds. "She's a triple threat talent."
Tyra B, whose album title reflects her dedication to her craft, has been developing and perfecting her immense, wide-ranging talent since elementary school. That's when she started entering talent shows and became determined to become an entertainer. Singers were cool. Dancers were great. But she looked up to the total packages, entertainers like Usher and Michael Jackson.
"People like that are the ones that influenced me," says the singer, whose passion equals her talent. "They weren't just singers. They had the all-around package and I feel that's really important for an artist these days. In order to sell records, you've got to be an artist, a star, a performer. You've got to have all those elements."
The potent songs on Past Due provide Tyra B the platform to showcase her vast artistry. The future smash "Givin' Me A Rush" gives a nod to both Michael Jackson's "Human Nature" and Paula Abdul's "Rush, Rush" and focuses on the bliss love creates, how a person can make you feel good just by their presence. "Me Without You" examines another aspect of love: that of being incomplete without your partner. On this moving ballad, Tyra sings, "You dot my Is, you cross my Ts/Me without you is like L O without the V E." Elsewhere, the piano-accent "Good To You" focuses on being a friend to a former lover.
Tyra B then takes it up-tempo with the club-ready "No Regular Chick" and "Get It Poppin". "I'm a die-hard dancer and it was important that we have some up-tempo songs on there so that I can give the people a good show," she says. "People that love to dance will love these songs."
Born and raised in Petersburg, Virginia (about 25 miles South of Richmond), Tyra B gravitated toward music and entertaining before she hit her teens. Her parents had the sounds of Motown filling their house. She started singing when she was 9 and decided to become an entertainer after seeing the attention lavished on her older sister, who was also an aspiring singer.
All of Tyra B's hard work paid off during a 2004 talent show at Petersburg High School. A Richmond radio jock saw her perform, started playing her music and got her in touch with the Richmond music community. Within a few months, Tyra B's "Country Boy" single was an independent hit that peaked at No. 16 on the R&R Urban Chart. With a hot single to promote, Tyra hit the road for 90 concerts. She toured with Destiny's Child for 30 of those dates, and, at the same time, her follow-up single, "Still In Love" became the largest independent radio single in a decade, with a 215 million aggregate audience, and reached No. 22 on the R&R Urban Chart.
Now, with Past Due about to hit, Tyra B is ready to show why several industry insiders are already calling her "The Female Usher."
Don't be late.
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