The announcement of the album release date came on the heels of another very special reveal: Teyana’s pregnancy with her second child. Teyana revealed the news on Friday in her intimate, self-directed video for “Wake Up Love” featuring her husband Iman Shumpert, and daughter Junie. Teyana’s increasingly significant and dynamic body of a work as a director was celebrated 3 days ago with a 2020 BET Award nomination for Best Director.
Tapped by Pitchfork as one of the “most anticipated albums of the summer,” THE ALBUM also features Teyana’s new graduation anthem “Made It,” pegged by NPR as a “a triumphant, isolation-proof anthem for the Class of 2020,” the Janet Jackson-approved viral sensation “Bare Wit Me”, the Kanye West-produced “We Got Love.”, and “How You Want It? (HYWI?)” featuring King Combs
Since 2018’s KTSE, Teyana’s star has continued to rise; from her successful career as video director and continued investment in her production company, The Aunties, to her acting and modeling career, to a string of scintillating self-directed singles and videos, including “Morning” with Kehlani. THE ALBUM is poised to take her to the next level.
THE ALBUM is the highly anticipated successor to K.T.S.E. (June 2018), Teyana’s second album, one of the five G.O.O.D. Music/Def Jam albums produced by Kanye West during his 2018 sojourn in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. K.T.S.E. (acronym for Keep That Same Energy) set off an 18-month chain reaction for Teyana, starting with its summertime Top 10 R&B smash “Gonna Love Me.” She performed “Gonna Love Me” (in a medley with “Rose In Harlem,”another K.T.S.E. track) on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Hip-hop audiences embraced the “Gonna Love Me” remix featuring Wu-Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah, Method Man and Raekwon, whose video was directed by Teyana.
K.T.S.E. spun off a hot new single and video for Teyana in early 2019, the explicit “WTP (Work This P***y).“ The video was nominated for “Best Dance Performance” at the 32nd annual BET Soul Train Awards. The third single from K.T.S.E. was the evocative “Issues/Hold On.” After slaying the audience with the song live on Ellen in April 2019, Teyana was surprised on-air when Ellen presented her with the RIAA gold award plaque for “Gonna Love Me,” bringing it all full circle.
“I literally can do everything. I never look at anything as being impossible,” she explains. “I exhaust all options to make what happen when I need to make happen.” Her mantra made her an early favorite to artists like Pharrell, who she signed her first deal with, and later choreographed videos for artists like Beyoncé and Jay-Z. In 2014, Teyana’s love for the arts and R&B earned her the title of the first woman signed to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music imprint.
Between R&B’s identity crisis in the 2010s, Teyana dropped her debut album VII, with tracks like “Maybe” (featuring Yo Gotti and Pusha T) and the sultry “Just Different” shaping her musical persona. The critically acclaimed album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart in 2014, cementing her position in today’s modern R&B field. “I fought for that raw, hood necessary R&B and now I feel like it’s better than ever,” she says.
After spicing up the R&B charts, Teyana was blessed with the arrival of her daughter Junie with husband and NBA star Iman Shumpert in 2015. “I do all of this for my baby. She’s who I do it for,” she says about Iman “Junie” Tayla Shumpert Jr., her main source of inspiration. “I always show her how to be a leader and a businesswoman. I want her to believe that she can be anything she wants to be and it not be a shocker that she’s a female doing it all.” Soon after, Teyana went on to star in the internet-breaking video for Kanye West’s “Fade,” and scored her first MTV Moonman for “Best Choreography” at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards.
But it wasn’t until the release of her second album project K.T.S.E.(released June 2018) that the world caught up with Teyana’s talents. With her all-female production company The Aunties, Teyana self-directed videos for “WTP,” the RIAA gold-selling single “Gonna Love Me,” (whose remix features Wu-Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah, Method Man and Raekwon), and recently, “Issues/Hold On.” Teyana has also directed videos for her peers like T.I. (“You”), Monica (“Commitment”), and Lil Duval (“Pull Up” featuring Ty Dolla $ign) with fans like Ms. Lauryn Hill and Elton John praising her boss moves.
Part of what makes Teyana stand out from the rest is her ability to move with precision and poise in everything she does. From the studio to the stage, every idea is a project with the singer front and center with a vision all her own. With her musical inspirations like Aaliyah, Teena Marie, Mint Condition and Janet Jackson speaking to her soul, Teyana is aware her mission is larger than life. “I’m working on me every day and I think that’s my purpose,” she says, comparing her life to a never-ending book. “I’m still going, still mastering and being a better me.”