Video Vision: The San Francisco Music Portal

Terry Dexter: Singer / Musician

May 1999

Terry Dexter

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VV: How did you start in music?

Terry Dexter: (T): In the church when I was little. Started in my uncles church every week, every Sunday. Every Sunday I was in church singing until I was about 14. It was incredible, it was like home, I had home and then church was like my second home.

VV: When did you first start recording?

T: I started doing backup work when I was about 11. This lady in Detroit worked with all the people who came through Detroit who needed background work. She called me in and I was making a little money doing albums with people, learning how to use the studio and sing and stuff.

Terry Dexter Video Still

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VV: Who were some of the first people that you worked with that you thought "Damn, I'm really working with some people" now that you recognized?

T: Actually when I was 13, I did about half the album of Simply Red, the European group. Me and two other women did all the backup, I was the little girl and they were grown. But I did like 5 songs on their album, and I remember I was like "That's the guy in the video!"

VV: How did you hook up with.. you're actually working with some people who are working with and produce Blackstreet, Dave Hollister...?

T: Through the record company. Actually, luckily for me you sometimes just run into people and say we should work together, so it wasn't so formulated, very family, comfortable, they're like my brothers.

Terry Dexter Video Still

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VV: The name of the new album is Terry Dexter, you co-wrote 5 tracks on it... what did you bring about from your life experiences to that?

T: Actually the songs I didn't write on, they were songs I heard by accident and I was like "Oh, yo this is totally me." All the songs were, at the time, that I wrote, were about things that were going on at the time, you know. I got a song on there where I broke up, I was sad so I wrote about that. I had a song where I was totally in love so I wrote about that, and you got some sexy stuff and you write about that too... and a dance song so it depends.

VV: How long did it take to work out everything as far as recording the album, putting it out, now you're doing your promo stuff, letting everyone know who you are.

T: The meat of the album it takes time to prepare. The direction, the type of sound, the people, maybe about a year.

Terry Dexter Video Stills

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VV: What's this? (pointing to jewelry on wrist)

T: This actually is like my little trademark. It's actually Indian, the women wear it when the get married, but I'm not married - I thought it was pretty cool. My fathers great grandmother is Terry Dexter, so..

VV: Does your family get involved in your career at all?

T: When I was little they did. When I was singing I was working all the time going to school, working in the studio, tv shows, or playing in a band. They were always very supportive as far as driving me places, making sure I practiced, you know. I wanted to do it, they never forced me into it, they just support me. In fact I had to force them, and I was singing all the time in the house, and my mother was like, cuz I sing loud, we're gonna have to do something about this.

Terry Dexter

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VV: Who would you like to work with?

T: I want to branch out and do international music, like work with people of different languages. People like Marc Anthony, even like world music, Bjork.

VV: Is this your full time gig right now?

T: Oh yeah - I mean I'm a student, not this semester, but I go to University of Michigan studying Business Marketing. Learn something that has to do with my own craft.

Terry Dexter Video Still

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VV: What's the video for Better Than Me gonna be like?

T: It was hard because I don't wanna seem like I was being a player hater or something so. It about me chilling at my house, it's a beautiful house we shot it in, and I'm kinda having a little fantasy about this guy that I really want, and he appears in different scenes and then he disappears, and as I'm having my fantasy then he's not there anymore. Very sensual.

VV: So is this somebody real life or...?

T: Well it's always real life, you know. Always somebody ³Yo, I wish I could have them, please, just one night.² But it's not bad, very tasteful, very sensual. Little X directed it. He's done videos for Total, Eric Benet. When I met him he hadn't done any videos yet and I told him you're gonna do my video.

Terry Dexter

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VV: How are the crowds accepting you out on the road?

T: Incredible. Incredible. And it's so good to know that they feel you, cuz you know when you're yourself and they love you anyway...that's.. you just know, you don't have to do anything that's not you. That's the best part of it, hey just love me.. So I give them all me and it's been so good.

VV: Do you know what the next single is gonna be, do you have a plan?

T: Um, yeah - the album, I'm not trying to boast, it's a great album. There's a lot of different songs, there's a song on there for everybody. A lot of great ballads, a lot of great up tempos, it depends on the feeling of the market. I have a favorite, a song called Straight-away. Beautiful lyrics, beautiful song, and when I perform it I always get the best reactions because it builds and goes of like an airplane.. it's a true story, it's about me, my social life.. Not spending enough time with my man, I'm busy, I love him but I'm kinda putting him off all the time. And I'm not noticing that he's hurt and that he needs the attention and so he leaves me. I'm singing to him and it's like if only we could fix this, kinda like begging, please come back, I'll do better. A lot of passion. You gotta hear it.

Terry Dexter

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VV: Any words?

T: Just remember to do how you feel. There's always going to be opinions and people that want you to do different. The only way you'll feel totally comfortable and totally proud of your piece and your work is to give what you have to give. Be yourself, be yourself, it's hard, you might have to fight longer, you might have to wait a little longer, but when it comes around and you get it and you're able to actually work and do what you want to do, and it's not something that you'll regret later on, it's so much better.

Interviewer: Lee Evans

Camera: Lee Evans

Photos & Transcription: Lee Evans

Editor: Catherine Lee

© 1999, 2000 Evans Media Group, Inc.