“You only had one job! The f*ck?!” With one line, TeaMarrr instantly woos you with her demanding yet enticing charm. Hailing from Boston, a place she aims to return after establishing her place, the singer-songwriter is here to turn your breakup into the best day of your life.
Exploding onto the scene with her single “One Job,” her sound is reminiscent of a cross between Amy Winehouse and Lauryn Hill. Fueled by heartbreak and real-life experiences, the Haitian recording artist delivers bars and hooks in the most theatrical way possible. Not only can audiences relate, but her entire vibe will encapsulate you into her teacup — containing tea (music) she calls medicine.
Exactly one year ago, real name Thamar Noel found her new home in Los Angeles, pursuing her one and only dream in entertainment.
Who are some of your biggest influences?
Definitely a mix of a lot of Amy and Biggie. Biggie being abrasive, Amy being so vocally raw, Rihanna’s raspy voice, that stuff has really inspired me when I sing. Then there’s lots of Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington, old school vibes… Jay Z! The way they song wrote too, it’s like they’re talking. And Drake, can’t forget Drake.
You’re from Boston, how does that play into your life and career?
It’s cool because there’s not a lot of Boston artists who are out. There’s only 2 I know that are blue-checkmark affiliated: Cousin Stizz and Bia. Oh and Joyner Lucas, but he’s from Worcester. We’re slowly coming up.
That’s it? You would think Boston would have more.
It’s really talented. There’s so many artists that I can’t wait to bring out to open up to me when I’m there, because there’s so much talent in Boston. So much.
What was the inspiration behind your name?
I wanted to keep my name to my name, my real name is Thamar. The inspiration behind “Tea” is I’m constantly a hot mess. [laughs] Tea is that one thing that’s healing. Want to take a sip, calm down, breathe, have a blunt. I started to incorporate that into my music. My name also starts with the letter “T”, and I didn’t like them just calling me the letter “T”. [laughs] I was like “can you add the ‘ea’ please? Can you have some respect?”
It slowly became my name before I was even doing music. I love teacups, they called me ‘Cup.’ My cup is me and the music is the tea. It comes out, pour it out in me. The cup represents even my swag. Tiffany is so much more Hollywood than other cups. I can’t wait for a New York type of cup. Someone gave me a London, British type of cup. I really want to get a cup for every city, every vibe.
I love your record “One Job.” What did that record do for your career?
It definitely jumpstarted it. It definitely got Kareem to be my manager. He invited me out on a test drive like “let’s just write this song.” ‘Cause Rihanna was looking for a record. Us songwriters were all like “omg, let’s try and get a placement!” That was before anybody said it was a reggae album, so we’re just writing whatever. The performance intended was for her to copy, that’s why I allowed myself to sing “n***a” so many times. But then it slowly became the me that’s screaming. Nobody ever hears me get to sound like that.
It slowly became my record. We’re like “this is it!” To the point where the president of the label that signed me [Position Music] never even heard me perform before. He heard the record and was like “I know this is something and I have to get on it before someone else does.” [laughs]
It also helped a lot of women. Women are coming to me like “girl, this is the break up anthem!” For some reason, there’s something about being “happy to break up with you,” instead of sad. It’s this umph, “I’m fierce! Fuck out of here!” Versus [mimics sad crying]. I definitely want to add more spice to break up and sad songs, that’s my realm right now.
Talk about enlisting Lala Milan in the visual, she’s so funny!
She really is. She freestyled all on the spot! That was one take. Peeling the banana, everything. There was maybe one cut. All of us couldn’t react fast enough. If you look, I was like “what happened Lala?” Nobody said anything! She was really, really funny. That was so cool. My manager met her at a party and they were having such a fun time. He was like [gasps] ideas!” He made the move fast.
I love your post rocking an Acid Rap shirt saying “simpler times.” I remember what that mixtape did for me. Can you expand on this?
Acid Rap was one of those albums that I wasn’t sure if… ‘cause I wasn’t into the whole concept of drugs. “What do you mean? Acid of all things?” But it just felt like he was trying to say this music is colorful, the way you whatever. There’s something about the sounds, the trip, the vibe, Chance is so electric.
When this album came out, I was always painting my nails. The way that post looked, those colors, I’d find a way to do that on my nails. If you ever see me with my real nails completely painted, totally decorated, like I took my time to do them, you know I’m at my happiest. I remember at that time I was smoking Wiz Khalifa papers, I was listening to Acid Rap, I was consistently fucking the same dude, and I was just so happy! Not that I’m not now, it was a simpler thing to be happy about. Acid Rap was a really big moment in my life.
Talk about your upcoming album Tea Turns To Wine.
The whole Wine album in general was us going back to Chapstick and being like “what do you mean?” Like “I Do… But” I can’t with you! You do what? You can’t what? “Whorey Heart” is in the same exact slot as “I Do” on the album. It’s like “I couldn’t with you ‘cause you’re a hoe ass nigga.” It’s really interesting to cut and paste because you start to see my next project is me just elaborating what I couldn’t on the first one.
Did a boy inspire “Whorey Heart”?
“Whorey Heart” is definitely about this boy I had a crush on, who kind of developed interest in my friend. It was weird. I didn’t get to really say that at all on the first one. I was too hurt so I just kept saying vague ass shit like “I do!” Wine, I totally matured. That’s why it’s called Wine. It’s just about a hoe, we couldn’t get together.
Does he know it’s about him?
I don’t think so. There’s a lot of boys that might think it’s about them. [laughs] I’ma just let them think it’s about them.
I see you out here girl!
You know, Zodiac. [hair flip]
What are some goals for yourself as an artist at this point in your career?
I want to open up for a few rappers I’ve been really inspired by. If Chance could go on tour, I’d want to open for him. I definitely want to collaborate with artists who can catch wind of the sound sooner than later. Definitely want to do a Wine tour. I want to do a Sip & Paint like how I did in the video, but in real life. Teach ‘em, vibe. I want my merch to be something that people really cherish. Super duper fan merch. Even the gift cards, I always try to hand-write them. I don’t know if I’ll be able to do that later in life, but I want to try to keep some sort of super personal touch.
Talk about those gift cards.
When I package my merch with hats, I package it myself. I put this little card in it, keep my entire brand super personal to me. You feel like you’re my sister after listening to a song or getting a card from me. Just feeling close ‘cause everyone feels so alone in this world. Music’s the only thing that brings us together. I want to do a lot. I want whatever Rihanna’s doing. [laughs] Tea-fied.
You need a tea sponsorship!
If 7 more people say this, if we could just make it come true! Teavana closed down, as soon as I started singing. I think Starbucks bought them. I was ready to be the face! It’s gone.
Singers always need Throat Coat Tea…
I actually don’t like Throat Coat Tea. I hate the way it feels, it’s like a minty something. I like hot water with no lemon, honey ginger tea. Throat coat tea makes me [ugh] I don’t have tonsils so I can’t scratch my throat, but that’s what Throat Coat Tea makes me want to do. I gotta scratch it out.
Best encounter you had with a fan?
A fan gave me a teaspoon! If you look in the “One Job” video, there’s a teaspoon inside the cup. Her name is Stephanie, shout out to Stephanie! She wrote me a poem, it was very sweet. She’s like “I want to be your friend, we should smoke together and vibe.” It wasn’t even creepy. She was weaning her way in super casual, liking stuff. She’s like my homegirl. Now she’s my internet penpal!
How important is social media for your career?
[pauses] I like a little mystery. I miss the days of “I wonder what so and so’s up to?” Versus “so and so had a sandwich today, and they didn’t like it.” There’s something about fantasizing about your favorites, rather than creeping and Googling. Knowing what they’re doing, what they’re wearing, where they’re going. There’s something not cool about that. My parents raised me to not care too much about celebrities and what they’re up to, social media stuff.
I’m impartial but I know I need it. It’s how I interact with my family and friends too. I made a separate page just for them, so they don’t get lost in the sauce. It’s important. If it weren’t for Facebook, we’re not remembering people’s birthdays anymore. I am! But I know some people aren’t.
Why do you have separate pages?
I have quite a few pages. [laughs] The “One Job” lyric video had the Barbie doll in it. She has her own page, it was a total accident. You know when you’re trying to get your mind off something, so you start doing something else profusely? Barbie Tea the doll, I just had her lying around in the box. Since the video, I was like “let me open her, let me play with her.” Like a 6-year-old! I was going out with this boy, broke up abruptly. Literally, we were saying “I love you, I love you, I love you.”
I’m trying to get my mind off this dude, playing with this Barbie doll. Dressing her up, setting up the set. Kareem walks by like “what are you… you know what, nevermind.” Then he comes back like “this is great! We’re gonna make a page, give her a whole personality, etc.” It really did help me get my mind off the whole situation. Even though I would still ‘subliminal’ him on her page, it was my way of releasing whatever it was. Kareem was like “aye, as long as it’s working!” [laughs]
Kareem: As long as it’s productive.
Who’s some of your favorite influencers to follow?
I actually threw out all my social media! I’ve never followed a celebrity before. Comedians, I follow some of them. Shiggy! Shiggy’s hilarious. I like him.
What’s one IG account you can’t live without?
Those hands messing with putty! There’s @satisfying.video. You just watch things like sand or water fall. Bubbles, soap, Play-Doh, making your own goo. They’re so fun to watch.