She’s got Pharrell on speed dial, she choreographed Beyonce’s “Ring the Alarm” video, laid down a few of her own moves in Jay-Z’s “Blue Magic” video and has serious views on Obama, even though she’s not even old enough to vote.
While Teyana Taylor’s mainly known for her stint on a particularly infamous episode of My Super Sweet 16 — recall the girl who entered her skate-themed shindig done up like a lifesized Barbie in rainbow brights — the Harlem-bred dancer-rapper is about to drop her debut album, From A Planet Called Harlem, and, in pop culture parlance, become to Google what Lil Mama is to lip gloss.
Backstage at MTV Studios, before her TRL appearance, Teyana Taylor took a break from practicing high kicks to talk to Buzzworthy.
Buzzworthy: Tell us how you went from appearing on My Super Sweet 16 to being back here in the MTV building with your own video.
Teyana Taylor: It’s pretty amazing, man. I’ve come a long way, and I worked hard. I was really grinding. I was on Sweet 16, but I’m really working hard and not trying to ride off the success of Sweet 16. Before I was on the show I was already signed, so I was already working pretty hard. But I didn’t get on Sweet 16 for extra press — it was something I always wanted to happen since I was younger since, when the show first aired. I’d always been a Sweet 16 fan.
BW: How’d you get signed to Star Trak?
TT: Before the show and before I got signed, I was just out dancin’, working hard. I was in a meeting with the VP of A&R at Universal — Kevin Law. I sung to him, and I rapped to him, and he was like “if you had to work with five people, who would it be?” And the first three names was Pharrell, Pharrell, Pharrell. I was already honored that people was comparing me to him. So it was pretty cool. He set me up a meeting with him like a couple days later, and I sung and I rapped for him.
BW: What’s it been like working with Pharrell?
TT: It’s wonderful. It’s incredible. That’s like my big brother. He’s such a great person to work with.
BW: What about working with Omarion?
TT: Working with Omarion is pretty amazing. That’s like my brother. He’s really cool. He helps me a lot, like especially if it’s something I really need to know, like he’s there.
BW: Like a mentor?
BW: Your new single’s called “Google Me.” How often do you Google yourself?
TT: When I do appearances and stuff and I just wanna see the new pictures, I Google myself.
BW: And put them on MySpace?
TT: Put ’em on MySpace! I’m a MySpace person. I really check my MySpace page. Myspace.com/rockstarteyana! MySpace me. Hit me up in the comments, you know? I’m here. I definitely reply back.
BW: So, in the MySpace versus Facebook battle, you’re not a Facebook fan?
TT: I’m not really a Facebook fan because I don’t know how to use it! It’s so complicated! You gotta accept your friends one by one! It’s just like too much going on. I tried it though. I swear, I tried it! I’m all about MySpace.
BW: Do you still find time to skate?
TT: Yes, I do, but I try not to do as much tricks as before I got signed because you know — I’m an artist now and I wouldn’t wanna disappoint the friends that’s excited for me comin’ out. I try to calm down. Just be coastin’!
BW: So “Teyana for President?” If you were president, what would your main issue be?
TT: I would definitely stop war. Like I don’t feel like it’s necessary. I feel like we’re drafting a whole bunch of innocent people into war when you can be drafting criminals. Stuff like that. If I was president, I would definitely stop war, put more money toward health insurance and my community. Especially, last but not least, the most important one — education. I just think education comes before anything because in order for you to know about everything, you have to go to school, and you have to learn.
BW: You’re 17 now. Are you gonna be old enough to vote in the election?
TT: No! I’m literally kinda mad! I’m like four weeks short! That sucks!
BW: Who would you vote for?
BW: Just because it sounds like you have a little Hillary in you with the health care stuff! And you’re from New York.
TT: Yeah. As far as Hillary goes, I love it! She’s the first woman! If she did become president, I think that’s really great, you know, the fact that she can stand up and say “I wanna run for president.” A lot of people don’t have the heart to do that. Obama, he’s just trying to make a change. It’s pretty cool. Either way, whoever wins, I’m happy for them. But if I had to choose, it’d be Obama.
BW: You’re a pretty grown-up 17-year-old. Are you still living at home?
TT: Yes, I still live at home.
BW: How do you deal with adults making decisions for you?
TT: I have a right to voice my opinion, but you know — when you can’t really make choices, it really don’t matter. I just kinda go with the flow. I’ll be 18 in 11 months.
BW: How are you gonna celebrate?
TT: I was thinking about having a little party, but it’s a surprise for now.