Guest writer: Teeny Tucker

Posted on 12/12/2009 by Monica Yasher

I have a motto, “Measure a woman’s success by
how much it takes to discourage her."

Teeny Tucker was born into a blues family. She is the daughter of Tommy Tucker. Though born into the blues family, her musical roots were first planted by singing in the church choir. It was in the church that she learned to style and interpret her music.

In November 1996, Teeny caught the attention of a German Blues promoter who was affiliated with her father. It was through this association that started Teeny performing at many of the major Blues Festivals in the US, Sweden, France, Switzerland, Belgium, and Italy.

Some of Teeny's accomplishments are:

She has been chosen for the cover of the July/August 2004 edition of King Biscuit Time Magazine accompanied by a featured story of her musical journey.

Teeny wrote the lyrics for 8 of the 11 songs on her second CD, titled “First Class Woman.”

Teeny is being played in heavy rotation on XM Satellite, Music Choice and Blues radio stations all over the country.

She has placed as a top-ten finalist in the International Songwriting Competition.

Teeny is a two-time, top-three finalist in the International Blues Challenge which is held annually in Memphis, Tennessee.

In 2008, Teeny Tucker was invited to appear on the MAIN STAGE of the Monterey Blues Festival, Poconos Blues Festival, Ozarks Blues Festival, Nothin’ But The Blues Festival, and Buddy Guy’s Legends.

She was nominated for the “2008 Best Female Blues Artist” of the year by BluesBlast.

Teeny’s newest CD “The Two Big M’s” was ranked in the 15 spot on the Bob Davis list of 2008 top 25 releases.

“Two Big M’s” was ranked for 22 weeks on the International Blues Roots Chart, and was nominated for best self-produced CD by the Blues Foundation of Memphis Tennessee.

Lastly, Teeny has been invited to appear on the same bill with great blues artists such as: BB King, KoKo Taylor, Etta James, Buddy Guy, The Holmes Brothers, Calvin Owens, Robert Cray, Keb Mo, Michael Burkes, Kenny Neal, Johnny Mars, Bobby Rush, John Mayall, Kid Ramos, Robben Ford, Joe Bonamassa, Homemade Jamz, Eden Brent, Laurrie Bell, Kilborn Alley, Henry Butler, Janiva Magness, and many others.

So let's see what Teeny wants to tell us today:

MY: Teeny, you are the daughter of Tommy Tucker, a renowned blues-singer-pianist-composer, who wrote and first recorded “High Heel Sneakers,” a pop-classic that’s been performed by Elvis, the Beatles, the Stones, and even Zsa Zsa Gabor, to name some of the over-200-plus-versions produced. Do you think the blues are different today from when your father played the blues? If so, in what way?

TT: This is a question that can be answered in many ways if you look at the true origins of the Blues. Not only has Blues changed but most everything has changed. I think Blues still tells a story about many life experiences including relationships to tragic events in one’s life. It reaches more than one culture now and has definitely survived over the years.

Blues have always been a major influence in music history. It is the foundation of other genres of music; gospel, Jazz, and Rock & Roll. Blues is so diverse it comes in many forms. There’s delta blues, country blues, tradition blues, contemporary blues and even rock blues. Pick the one you like and support it. Thank God for the 160 plus Blues societies throughout the US, Canada and Europe who have dedicated themselves to keeping the blues alive.

MY: How difficult was it to follow in your father’s footsteps?

TT: I really didn’t fully realize how talented and musically rooted my father was until I became an adult. As my career began to take shape and form, and, as I learned more about his musical journey, I found myself walking the same paths. In the music business, you have to have love for what you are called to do and pursue it with passion. I liken it to the man who is called to preach the gospel … it’s his calling.

MY: If you weren’t singing the blues what would you be doing?

TT: I believe I was born to sing. But I love singing the Blues. If someone gave me something other than the blues to sing I could sing it, because by nature that’s what I do, but I’m a true blues girl with a mix of soul and something else. It’s like all the leftover meat that makes for a good pot of stew. If I wasn’t a singer, I thought about being a race car driver or a film writer. I’m not sure how those fit together, but knowing me, I’d make it work!

Teeny in Memphis singing with “The Mayor of Beale Street.”

MY: What is your strongest point as an artist? What would you like to improve upon?

TT: My strongest point as an artist is that I am my own biggest critic. In my heart, mind and soul I’m always one step away from mastering what I’ve been called to do. If I forget this self-imposed critical analysis, I may no longer strive for my extreme high standards of excellence.

MY: I see that you are a two time top three finalist in the IBC’s. What advice do you have for future IBC participants?

TT: The IBC is a positive platform for artists who want to get themselves out there and share their music. It was a positive platform for me. You win some and you lose some. Frankly, most of my “so-called” losses have led to my biggest wins. There is always someone at the IBC looking and listening. Audiences are excited by the emotion which is created when they feel your true love for the Blues. It is through that process that doors open. I have a motto “Measure a woman’s success by how much it takes to discourage her”. Stay true to yourself, share your experiences through song, and thank God for every opportunity. Be professional and never ever give up.

MY: You are a gifted songwriter. How do you go about getting inspired to write music?

TT: In the past three (3) years my songwriting skills has grown tremendously. I may attribute that to experiencing some tough moments in my life. Since I am not a musician, it is hard to get someone to understand how you want a song to go or how much the lyrics means to you. I have my own built in rhythm and feeling when I try to demonstrate it to a musician. For some strange phenomenon, Bob Hughes gets me. We have spent time in a practice room or the recording studio and worked out what I think is my best original material ever. He and I keep going back listening and shopping input so we can make sure that the material conveys our passionate pursuit of excellence. We want to be sure that we release our very best. If I could use what I call the preacher analysis, “If you didn’t save a soul then the sermon needs work.”

Lately, my inspiration to write has come from real life experience. My mother passed away this year. I’ve made it through 30 years of marriage; my only son finally decided he wanted to live a productive life. My discography has just begun. My journey in this life began in 1958. I was born illegitimate to a white mother whose family totally disowned her for having bi-racial children and falling in love with someone other than whom they thought idea. I was born having a black father that dedicated his life to the Blues and already had a wife and four children before I came into the world. But through it all, I can still reflect on the strokes of good fortune. My oldest daughter graduated college and works as a successful news reporter for a major TV network and my baby girl will graduate college next summer starting her career in forensics. I have a goddaughter that I’m rising, who was left with me for only a weekend 11 years ago. And I have three healthy and highly intelligent grand children. I can get a lot of song material out of that, you think?

My new CD, mostly originals, will share some of my experiences and that of people in my life. I hope everyone will get it. It may relate to some of your own journeys.

I’ve been sharing a lot of my life experiences on my space at Check them out and please stay in touch with me.

MY: You are predominantly a vocalist. Do you play any instruments?

TT: I’ve tried piano & harp, but still have not conquered either. I do work on my harp more. But I’m not quite there. Of course, when I come out everyone may be surprised. Many people don’t know, but I can do instrumental sounds with my voice.

MY: It seems to me that the female of the species always has more to do at home than the male of the species. How do you manage a touring career with home life?

TT: In life “dues & bills” have to be paid. I’ve paid on both. Mr. Lee Durley, with the Monterey Bay Blues Festival, wrote a song for me called, “Make Room for Teeny”, which is going to be on my new CD. My husband can do it all and he does. My life is mine now. I raised 3 kids, worked a government job for 26 years while touring for the past 17 years. It’s only just beginning so “Make Room for Teeny”. Bring it on!

MY: What has been your greatest moment?

TT: Last year I did a show in my hometown at the Music Summer Series Concert. A little girl, who was around nine to ten years old, stood in the crowd next to the stage mesmerized. At the end of the show, she came up to me and said I want to be a Blues singer just like you. It was at that moment I knew blues will live forever. Someone took a picture of the little girl standing there. You can check it out at pictures folder.

Other greatest moments are the many blues artists I meet and talk to who have braved the music journey in spite of the many obstacles they’ve had to overcome. I remember sharing the bill with Ko Ko Taylor in 2006 in Dayton, Ohio. She had recently recovered from surgery, but mustered up all the energy she could find, hit that stage and gave a performance of a life-time. She invited me on stage with her at the end and I could feel her love for her fans, the passion for the blues while her weakened body held on to every precious moment. When we were done, she whispered some advise that I will carry in my music briefcase for the rest of my life. RIP: Ko Ko Taylor.

You may also enjoy reading about this female blues artist: Shemekia Copeland

Thank you for reading American Blues News!

Teeny Tucker © Robert Hughes Photography
Copyright © 2009 Copyright Monica L. Yasher. All Rights Reserved.
Copyright © 2009 Copyright Teeny Tucker. All Rights Reserved.

American Blues News Staff

What makes American Blues News unique is our coverage across America. Here is our lineup:

Mon: Memphis Correspondent - Robert "Nighthawk" Tooms
Nighthawk is our resident globetrotter and man behind the scenes, as he tours with the Reba Russell Band.

Tues: New York Correspondent - J. Blake
Blake is the American Blues News review and interview guru. You may catch him out and about in NY playing the blues.

Wed: National Correspondent - Monica Yasher
Monica is our executive director and artist interview specialist. You can catch Monica singing the blues around Pittsburgh or working on some country music songs in Nashville.

Thurs: Washington, DC Correspondent - Virginiabluesman
Geraldo offers inteviews and reviews. You may have seen him at an Ana Popovic concert or conversed with him on her websites, as he offers administrative support with her music.

Fri: Northeast Photographer - Nelson Onofre
Nelson offers a Friday column of blues photography and pictorial support for the interviews covered by the team.

Jim Stick in Colorado
Jim will be focusing on the Blues Festivals in the beautiful state of Colorado, and the artists that live and visit there.

Maureen Elizabeth, our resident art correspondent, will be focusing on blues art as she explores the creation of CD covers, or speaking with artists who also have a love of creating pictorial art in addition to their music! She may also feature some of her good friends in the Pittsburgh area. In her love of art, you may find Maureen's photography accompanying writer's articles on our pages. Maureen is also our marketing director.

Pittsburgh correspondent and photographer, CR Bennett, will share the Pittsburgh scene with all of you. You may also see CR's pictures accompanying other writer's articles.

We head to the big state of Texas! Abby Owen, our Texas correspondent.

Another big area to cover, the West Coast with Casey Reagan, Casey will feature many artists and events on this ocean's shores.

Lastly, we have our roving blues entertainment writer,
Chef Jimi.

And of course, we will surprise you sometimes!

Internet Marketingdata recovery