On her third studio effort, the 28-year-old R&B singer and Harlem native channels her energy into tackling new challenges.

By Marcus Jones
October 23, 2019 at 10:00 AM EDT
Bryce Thompson

“How do you not like your own album?” is a question R&B singer Teyana Taylor has been fielding for the past year after she was transparent about her frustration surrounding the release of 2018’s K.T.S.E., her seven-song, 22-minute long record executive produced by Kanye West as part of the five-project collection he dubbed the “Wyoming Sessions.”

“It’s not about not liking it,” the G.O.O.D. Music artist tells EW, “it’s about the fact that it was not long enough, verses were taken out, a lot of stuff I didn’t know happened with my album until I actually heard the album like everybody else.”

Rather than hold grudges, Taylor has decided with her upcoming release, simply titled The Album (out Dec. 6), to “take full accountability that I need to be 110 percent on everything that I do” and not let anyone compromise her creative vision. She’s found a new way to continue working with her G.O.O.D. family too. After directing her own music video for “How You Want It? (HYWI?),” as well as videos she’s featured in like her duet with KYLE, “F You, I Love You,” Taylor has lined up gigs helming visuals for labelmates Pusha T, Big Sean, and Desiigner.

Taylor claims that she’s now “ready to get sh— done on my own,” and, for The Album, is focused on “fixing what didn’t work the first time, getting a better rollout, more records, longer records. . . just giving everybody more.”

Oddly enough, while fans have stuck by her through the K.T.S.E. dilemma, their concerns now lie in her being too successful and happily married to give them the art they need from her. “It’s not even a hate thing,” Taylor explains. “It’s really like, ‘We love that you’re happy, you deserve to be happy. You deserve everything that comes your way, but baby, we going through it! I’mma need you to get me through what you got me through with this [past] album.’”

Taylor has taken her fans’ concern as a creative challenge, exploring new topics on upcoming songs. Some of the girls Taylor says she is writing music for include the one “who ain’t got time for small talk,” or for men to “be playing games with her and sh—.” The vocalist writes music for both lovebirds and “the girl that has that wall built.” Most of all, Taylor, who famously choreographed Beyoncé’s “Ring The Alarm” video and danced her way through Kanye West’s award-winning “Fade” clip, tries to make songs that will be “super dope during a live performance.” The artist has also extended herself into acting more, and is currently shooting the long-awaited Coming 2 America with Eddie Murphy and Wesley Snipes (the latter of whom she got so anxious about working with, she forgot her two lines on the first day). 

Ever the entertainer, Taylor is even thinking about following up her underrated collaboration “Christmas in Harlem,” with “something to get people in the holiday spirit.”

With artists like SZA and Ella Mai breaking through, Taylor notes “it’s a different level of appreciation for R&B right now,” so she welcomes another chance to give her fans even more of what they’re asking for.

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