By Teryl Warren

Wiles has been saluting independent women in music all month long, so it’s only fair that we give one of the fellas an opportunity to shine, right?  This month’s Mr. Right is a talented singer who’s enjoyed both indie and commercial success for nearly two decades.  His latest single – a collaboration with renowned rapper Mystikal – has shot to success on YouTube with more than 1 million views and climbing. We recently caught up with him to talk about staying power, the importance of a loyal fan base and why, despite critics’ opinions and falling record sales, the genre of R & B music will never, ever die.  

When he began a summer job at A &M Records while still in high school, R & B sensation TQ had no way of knowing that through that job he’d meet a manager, learn about music publishing and embark on a career that would span nearly two decades.

“On my last day of work at A&M I met my manager Theresa Price – who’s still my manager! Everything  just kinda took off from that point,” he told us.

TQ has written, produced and collaborated with some of the top artists in the music industry from all genres including N’Sync, R.Kelly, Whitney Houston, Dru Hill, Jagged Edge, Ron Isley, Swizz Beatz,  Donny Osmond, Jim Jones, The Big Tymers, The Game, and Sarah Conner to name a few.

His 1998 debut solo album, They Never Saw Me Coming, included the hit “Westside” that made him an instant worldwide success by debuting in the Top Ten and at #1 during the first week in several countries. It stayed on top of the charts for weeks, collectively selling in excess of 1.4 million singles worldwide.

TQ’s sophomore album, The Second Coming, featured the classic hit “Daily,” and was exclusively distributed in Europe and Asia. He returned to the U.S. market for his third album and joined forces with New Orleans Hip Hop Powerhouse Cash Money Records, where he wrote numerous hits and garnered his first #1 with Lil Wayne’s “Way of Life” – a track he co-wrote and was featured on.

While he has enjoyed both major label and independent success, TQ opted to stay on the independent track for his latest album Legendary. As he explained to us, to TQ, the  freedom to create is equally as important to him as being able to control his business.

“At this point I’m lucky enough to have a viable fan base. I’ve been doing this for a long time. We have history you know? I figured if I kept most of the returns on the sale of my records to that fan base, I’d be able to create a pretty self-sufficient business for myself and not have to sell a million copies doing it. Independence allows an artist a lot of control over content, but it’s a helluva lotta work!”

TQ debuted his latest album Legendary in the U.S. and abroad.  His new label, Kado Records, released the album on iTunes and at TQ’s web store The chart-topper’s first single and video off the new album, Legendary is “Bad Man” featuring Mystikal. The single, produced by former Cash Money Records Producer, Mannie Fresh, was shot on location in New Orleans and flashes back to old 70’s music and style. View the video here:

 TQ describes his style as “a split between R&B and hip hop,” and cites legendary acts from Marvin Gaye to NWA as some of his musical influences.  And while contemporary crooners may not garner the same critical acclaim as some of the pioneers who paved the way, TQ refuses to add his voice to the growing chorus of R&B detractors. 

 “‘Rhythm and Blues –  dead?’ Man as long as black folks can ‘sang,’ this genre will never die. I will say that today’s artists can’t [compare] to our predecessors, but we’re far from dead.”

As a veteran of the music industry, TQ is excited about the future and had this advice to pass on to artists coming up now:

“EVERY indie artist’s number one goal in 2013 should be to acquire as many fans as possible. You’re nothing without fans. Find the people who love your work. Use them to make their friends love it. Fans = Leverage.”

To stay current on TQ’s latest news and music, please visit:

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