Mark e-mailed me this track as I was in the studio recording a tune with Rahsaan Patterson. The date was 12/29, just 3 days after Teena Marie passed away. I went back and forth between listening to this track on my headphones and listening to Rahsaan as he laid vocals. Obviously this wasn’t gonna be something I could multi-task, so I dedicated myself to listening to Rahsaan! But once Rah and I finished our recording, Grant Nicholas (my engineer) and I got a quick edit and rough mix of the tune done and Grant took a break for something he calls “food”. 🙂
Now I was able to dedicate myself to this (kinda rare) downtempo track from Mark. I was immediately drawn to the sentimental mood of the guitar line, it sounded like the track itself was recalling some fond memory. Rah and I had just had a long conversation about the loss of Teena Marie and how bad she was, how relevant she remained, how her phrasing and songwriting was so top-notch… We recalled the phrasing of “Lovergirl”, esp the vamp “Coffee, tea, or me…” bit. So when I heard Mark’s track, and Rah was already gone, and I was all alone in the studio with the lights barely on, I began singing that phrase from “Lovergirl”. I couldn’t believe how perfectly it seemed to settle into the track. I knew right away that this is what I’d record – a humble tribute to one of my favorite recording artists ever, Lady T.
I looked up the lyrics and just started making mental notes as to how I would structure of the song. I really liked the idea of starting with “When the push comes to shove” because that phrase was one of my favorites in the original. I always loved when Teena would just “speak” lines, ya know? So I had the basic structure completed, in my head. I was ready to rock. When Grant returned, I barely let him eat his food before I was like “pull up this track, I wanna record something else!” (Sorry Grant. I know I can be a workaholic. Please forgive me. I promise to take more breaks in the future.) Grant passed me some french fries because I guess I, too, need to eat. He pulled up the track and we began recording.
It took about an hour to lay the vocals. Another hour to get a nice rough mix going. Grant and I really liked the mood of this new “Lovergirl”. Lady T’s lyrics and phrasing lent themselves so well to this backdrop, and it all felt like falling into a bed of velvet rose petals. I was beyond sleepy and spent. So I asked Grant if he’d put some horns down at some point (Grant is a multi-talented engineer and musician on keys/trumpet!). We discussed where the horns would go, and I didn’t need to say much because Grant and I come from very similar musical schools of thought. When I woke up the next morning, Grant sent me and Mark this… Mark dug it… And so it goes…