Indeed, seven long years have passed since talented songstress Tweet blessed the industry with a new project. And while such a lengthy spell away from the limelight would dissolve the strongest of fanbases, it’s made hers even more steadfast.
In this candid interview, the soulful stunner talks her hiatus, the state of R&B, compromising her sound, her new album, and much more. As ever, we ask the questions you really want answers to.
Tweet Shouts Out That Grape Juice
That Grape Juice: The last few years we’ve definitely seen you collaborating with artists like Syleena Johnson and Dresden Soul Symphony, but overall you’ve been out of the scene. What have you been up to?
Tweet: I kinda took a break from the industry. I wasn’t really pleased with how I was being handled business-wise, so I had to take a break and get myself together spiritually. I felt my spirit was being broken and I thought it was more important for me to get my life together with Christ and everything else would fall into place.
In the midst of that, I was going to put out an album in 2007 or 2008, but it didn’t work out. So, I was still actually working to try to get it out after a while. But aside from that, just being a mom to my daughter and now working hard to get this new project out.
So was there ever a specific incident that happened that made you know it was time for you to get back into the industry and get things moving again?
Well, yes. I have to give all the credit to the people who love the music – the fans and supporters. I couldn’t go into a grocery store or any kind of mall without anyone coming up to me to tell me how much my music meant to them. And so I just thought to myself because music is such a passion of mine – I eat, sleep, and all that music – I couldn’t really get away from it. And I think all of those incidents in total made me think this is really what I need to do. Just hearing all those stories.
And you know speaking of your fans and supporters, like That Grape Juice, “Tweet Tuesdays” have had all of us buzzing and excited for your next release ‘Simply Tweet’. We’re curious, why that title?
This time around I’m not doing it all on my own, but just not on the back of anybody else. When I say that, I mean not with the help of a Missy or a Tim, it’s all Tweet. It’s just me – as far as the lyric and the vocal, you’re going to get me. I’ve stripped down everything and came up with the idea…it’s just me. Straight to the point, no chaser.
And so you’re confirming that we shouldn’t expect any cameos from Missy or Timbaland on this album?
Not on this one, maybe the next one. I just felt like as a businesswoman it was time for me to step out on my own and do it by myself. Prove to myself that I could do it.
In that same spirit though, what collaborators should we expect from the production tip?
Not really. All of the producers that worked on ‘Southern Hummingbird’ and ‘It’s Me Again’ are here, we just kept that routine and that formula. Nothing was broken, so we didn’t try to fix it. I do also have a duet with my daughter on there. A lot of people have been missing me, so I didn’t want to give them too many collaborations.
So aside from it just being you on the album, what separates this album from your last two?
Nothing really. Your’e still going to get pages out of my diary. Anything I’m going through, you’re going to hear it. Nothing different lyrically, but vocally I think I am really stepping out and I’m not afraid to sing now. On ‘Southern Hummingbird’ I was holding back a bit or not sure of what I really wanted to do, very subtle. On this album, I’m really giving it to you and I’m comfortable with that. I’m comfortable with what I can do and that’s the difference in this album.
Speaking of your daughter, we first heard her on ‘Two of Us’ (‘It’s Me Again’ album) and now we can catch her on Youtube, are there any updates on her album?
We’re working on that now. She’s doing a gospel/rock or alternative gospel sounding project. It’s coming soon and we are working with some gospel producers and it’s pretty hot. I may throw a bonus of hers on my new album to showcase what to expect.
Awesome! And funny you mention gospel as many of your hardcore fans know you have a strong gospel background and you mentioned your break saw you grow spiritually. Do you see yourself ever pursuing the gospel route?
Actually, I thought that’s what I would do first. Because,that’s my lifestyle now. I think it may be one of the next few ones that I will do. It is definitely on my list of things to do.
Given your sound mixes gospel, soul, and even folk, we’re curious to know who influences you musically? Who’s on your IPOD?
#1 on my list is Marvin Gaye, hands down. D’Angelo, The Clark Sisters, Kiki Sheard, Kirk Franklin, and all the Gospel who’s who. Mainly Marvin though.
As we speak on other genres, we know Tweet as having a very soulful, R&B sound. But given the status of R&B as of late, have you ever been pressured by labels to go the more “Pop” route?
Yes, that’s what caused me to want to leave the business from the last album. When I first turned in ‘It’s Me Again’, it was ‘Southern Hummingbird’ part 2 pretty much. Some of the songs I’m releasing from Tweet Tuesdays are leftovers from that album. When I turned it in, they wanted more Hip-Hop sounding records though. Not necessarily Pop, but just more Hip-Hop sounding records. When I disagreed, they kinda left me hanging. That was the last straw for me. I’ve been in that position, but never again! I will never compromise my sound for anybody.
We can’t wait to hear the final project. Kind of switching gears here, sometime ago reports surfaced indicating you would be part of TV One’s ‘R&B divas’ reality show (featuring Faith Evans, Keke Wyatt, and more). More recent reports leave your name off of the listing, however. As of today, what is the status of your work on that project?
It definitely was true that I was supposed to be a part of the cast. But, I decided to just focus on my music. I don’t think it was a definite at the time it was announced that a station would pick it up. We hadn’t even started taping yet. It was just in its first stages. So, I just decided to focus my energy into music.
Are you still open to the idea of reality TV?
Yes, but as it pertains to my music and how it comes from one place to another. But, not necessarily all in my business. But, behind the scenes stuff that fans don’t know we go through in terms of how much or how long it takes to make an album.
With that out the window, what other plans do you have for 2012? Any acting or touring?
Definitely tour! I want to be on tour for the next 12 years (laughs). I want to be like Frankie Beverly & Maze and just continuously tour. Because I didn’t get a chance to do that with the second album. The first album, a little bit. I want to give back to the supporters and fans. I also want to produce other artists and even movies and fashion. I want to do everything!
Thanks so much for your time. And before we let you go, given that you have so many fan favorites like ‘Smoking Cigarettes’, ‘Taxi’, and more, what is your favorite song of yours?
Wow! That’s like asking a mom to pick her favorite child. You can’t because they all mean so much to me. I don’t have a favorite. It all depends on the day and what I’m going through. They’re all my favorite!
– Interview by Q.R Taylor (That Grape Juice)
Tweet recently signed with DuBose Music Group under James DuBose of DuBose Entertainment.
James is renown for film production (Keyshia Cole The Way It Is, Monica Still Standing and more). ‘Simply Tweet’ will be released later this year and will be the first release on the label.