'Ivory Queen of Soul' Teena Marie Dead at 54

Motown Californian rocked fans' worlds
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Dec 27, 2010 1:43 AM CST
Updated Dec 27, 2010 6:10 AM CST
Teena Marie in 2005. She made history as Motown's first white female act but developed a lasting legacy with hits like "Lovergirl," "Square Biz," and "Fire and Desire" with mentor Rick James.   (AP Photo/Universal Music, Tracy Jones, file)
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(Newser) – R&B soul singer Teena Marie was found dead in her bed at her California home yesterday. She was 54. Known as the "Ivory Queen of Soul," Marie signed with the legendary Motown label in the '70s; recorded 13 albums, including hits Lovergirl, Fire and Desire, Square Biz and I'm a Sucker for Your Love; and collaborated with Rick James. "She was a black voice trapped in a white body," said Cathy Hughes, founder of Radio One, a broadcasting company that targets African-American listeners. "She was one of the greatest vocalists of our time."

Marie was known for her complex lyrics and stunningly clear, pitch-perfect voice. She overcame an addiction to prescription drugs to record her last album, Congo Square. "All in all, it's been a wonderful, wonderful ride," she told the AP after she was honored by the R&B Foundation. "I don't plan on stopping anytime soon." The cause of her death has not yet been determined, but police said it appeared to be from natural causes. CNN notes that Marie's publisher said the singer suffered a grand mal seizure last month. Click for more.

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