Tamia Hill was well-known even before her marriage to NBA star Grant Hill. The Canadian-born songstress was discovered by Quincy Jones and had some memorable hits with “You Put a Move On My Heart,” “Stranger In My House,” “So Into You,” which rapper Fabulous gave new life to and her duet with Eric Benet “Spend My Life With You.” Her latest CD available now, “Beautiful Surprise” is her second as an independent artist and the single of the same name is already making noise. It’s a surprise in another respect – it’s the first time Tamia has ever made a video with her husband as her love interest. After 13 years of marriage, it’s about time. Tamia will appear at the Tom Joyner Family Reunion in Orlando, Florida and will sing her duet with Eric Benet during the vow renewal ceremony. Read on for more about her life, love and career.
BAW: With all the pop and hip-hop acts, R&B has been struggling for attention lately. How does it feel to put out a record in this musical climate?
Tamia: I feel blessed to be able to be in the business over 15 years. It's a fickle business – always has been and always will be. I've seen a lot of artists come and go. So I feel very blessed to be here, and to be making music and having my fans support me.
The business has changed dramatically since you started. What's the biggest adjustment you've seen or change that you've had to make to compete now?
I think the biggest change is social media and how people even buy music at this point. As far as artists, you can have direct access to fans and vice versa. Social media changed the face of the music business. Mainstream R&B has definitely taken a hit and is on life support a little bit. If you look at these categories at these award shows, the R&B categories are all over the board. It's definitely taken a hit, but I think true music always prevails.
Years ago, you had a label that provided artist development, publicity and promotion. Now with the internet, the artists have to work harder on their own promotion while still making music. Does that make things much harder?
I do that now because I'm independent, so I'm kind of used to it. This will be my second independent project. For me personally, I like to know the ins and outs of the business and where the money is being spent and to have a decision in that, rather than just getting a bill that says now you owe us…everything. I prefer ownership.
Did you consider doing a record with Chris Brown or Pitbull or any of the popular folks out here now or did you pretty much just want to make the record you wanted to make?
That's pretty much where I stood. I wanted to make the record I wanted to make. Am I opposed to any of those things – depending on the song, depending on the record, maybe a remix or something like that, but it wasn't just right for me for this project.
Do you think people would accept that from you or were you like let me go ahead and stick with the audience that has gotten me to this point?
I think it would depend on what it was. Perfect example – "So Into You." That was a record I did years before Fab redid it. And people accepted that just fine. I think it would have to be the record and the context in which it was done. I'm not going to go out there and just put a rapper on the record. It would have to make complete sense. I've been pretty consistent with catering to my audience and I know who my audience is.