Sound Check: Green Tea—Music Medicine for the Soul

Tekeah C. Mason started performing as a college student with the stage name Green T.  She says, “Originally my name was Green T–as in the color green and ‘T’ being the first initial of my name.  But, when I first performed at an open mic in college at the University of Pittsburgh, someone mistook it for Green Tea, like the drink, and I kept it.”

After graduating from college and balancing a job as a social worker with a burgeoning music career, Green Tea moved on to drop her independently produced first CD  Dosage I: Shades of Green (2004) and its follow up Dosage II: Choices (2008).  She later released two well-received mixtapes– Beautiful Weirdo (2010) and Crazy 8s (2011) before launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for her upcoming third album Dosage III: The Time to B.E.

With a growing catalogue of music under her belt, Green Tea is poised for her next move which she hopes will allow her to work with some of her idols in the music industry while also continuing to use her music to inspire. Read more on how her recent weight loss has impacted her music career and how, like the drink with which she shares a name, she hopes to be musical medicine for the soul.

SoulTrain.com:  Hi, Green Tea! Love your name.

Green Tea: Green Tea symbolizes my mission as an artist of music: to provide musical therapy in all seasons.  People drink tea in all occasions– when they’re feeling sick, happy, as a refresher–all season. So that’s what I’m here for, for all occasions, to provide musical medicine for the soul.

SoulTrain.com: What led you to choosing a music career?

Green Tea: I don’t know if I was led to actually choose a music career.  I believe that I was blessed with a gift to sing, to uplift, and encourage people. In being blessed with a gift, I feel that you must use it.  So every time I used my gift, it fueled a passion to use it more and more which in turn led me to coming up with a game plan as to how to do what I love as a life’s mission.  So, at the end of the day, if God asks me what did I do with the gift He blessed me with, I can say I went full throttle with it.

SoulTrain.com: You have a new project that you are about to drop. Tell us about the new CD and why folks should pick it up.

Green Tea: Yes, so glad you asked. My third full-length album, Dosage III: The Time to B.E. is being released May 17th and I’m so ecstatic about it. This album is the soundtrack for anyone who has ever had a dream or has ever wanted to be anything in life.  “B.E.” is an acronym that stands for Be Empowered, and so with this album I am encouraging people to B.E. as it relates to going after their dreams.

The album tells a story beginning with the title track, “Time to B.E.”, produced by Dennis Turner.  It talks about waking up after 5 years of doing a job that isn’t your dream.  Who can’t relate to that kind of situation? Then we have the single “After the Laughter” featuring emcee Oddisee, produced by J Montanna, which talks about people laughing at your dreams until they see the fruit.  In the end, you have the last laugh. I really wanted to get people back to just being and really doing what makes you happy so I tried to tackle the pros and cons of the situation through my songwriting. I wrote all but one song on the album. At the end of the day, I want people to groove and jam all the way to being their dreams.

SoulTrain.com: Sounds like your music is very mission driven. In your opinion, what does your music do to add to today’s music scene?

Green Tea: In today’s scene, I think music is missing real life stories, happiness, love songs, dilemmas, and resolutions. Let me correct myself. There is music out there.  I just feel like the musical world is completely unbalanced. With it being unbalanced, I often ask myself, where do I fit in?  I decided long ago to not fit in and just be, and in being I sing from my heart and the outcome is honest music that is the soundtrack to everyday life.

SoulTrain.com: You recently tied the knot and engaged in a year-long health and fitness transformation that you chronicled on your blog. How did these two very transformational journeys impact your new project?

Green Tea: Everything is interconnected with my new album.  When I first quit my job to become my dream, I was on a quest to be happy and explore what I liked and disliked and to build some character traits of never giving up. The journey to weight loss is a great character builder, because like life, you have gains and losses.  But, it’s the people who stick it out, who win. So, I started working out and did Weight Watchers and out of that birthed my blog, B.E.( http://beingempowered.blogspot.com/), which chronicled the transition to healthy living. I lost 48 lbs. and became a group exercise instructor.

I use my weight-loss and my blog to reiterate that all you have to do is start somewhere and you will see the results.  I never thought I could look the way that I do and would have never known if I didn’t try. I have a song on my album produced by Kev Brown called “Never Be the Blame” featuring the hip-hop group Gods’Illa, and it talks about how the fear of failing paralyzes. And so people just don’t do anything. Through my quest of being is where my husband came in. Through the process—even though he knew me before I lost weight and saw the journey– my husband and I linked. I think he loves my ambition and I love his support and with those two things together, it is T-N-T dynamite.

SoulTrain.com: As an independent artist, what do you think some of the highlights have been so far in your career? What is a highlight you would like to have that you haven’t experienced yet?

Green Tea: It’s rare that I actually take a moment to sit back and reflect, as my mind sometimes is always going towards the next thing.  One of the major highlights is that I’m still standing and that I enjoy and am proud of the body of work that I have released into the music world.  As an independent artist, I have produced three full-length projects and two mix-tapes, and I continue to be inspired and grow with each album.  I’ve had the honor of having my videos aired on Centric and VH-1 Soul. I would like to experience gaining more radio play and a distribution deal. Dreams can be expensive at times but it’s a great investment in your happiness.

SoulTrain.com: What has been the driving force behind keeping your committed to performing and staying in the music industry and why?

Green Tea: I think overall what keeps me connected is that I see God in what I do.  My purpose is to encourage people to grow, to love, and heal through music. So when someone shouts me out on Facebook or email, saying they had to listen to my songs to get me through a rough period or my songs caused them to think about relationships differently, it keeps me encouraged and keeps me humble.  I know that my music is a bigger picture than just me singing, it’s ministry.  So, I’m in it to win it.

SoulTrain.com: Who are some artists that you would like to collaborate with on future projects and why?

Green Tea: Wow, there are so many artists I’d love to work with. I believe that working with different artists brings out so many different colors in your own work. So, I’d love to work with Cee-Lo ,  Bilal, Andre 3000, Lauryn Hill, India Arie, B.O.B, Katy Perry, Sara Bareilles, Anthony Hamilton, Common, Stevie Wonder, etc.  The list just goes on and on.

SoulTrain.com:  What bit of advice would you give to an aspiring artist striving to follow in your footsteps? What would you tell them?

Green Tea: Believe in your craft. Do something towards your dreams everyday and don’t give up. There will be ups and downs but keep your vision and those who support you around you for those moments.

SoulTrain.com: What can we expect to hear from you in the coming year as you drop your new music? Any appearances scheduled with any other artists, any noteworthy shows coming up?

Green Tea: You can expect to hear great stories, music, and life as I’ll be chronicling my journey through my webisodes “Tea Time w/Green Tea”  (http://www.youtube.com/choctyde). I’ll be going in on mini-tour this summer.

My D.C. album release is May 17th at Indulj Lounge in D.C. My New York album listening party is May 19th at The Shrine, and June 12th is my west coast release party at the House of Blues in San Diego, California.

SoulTrain.com: You have some great spots you’re appearing at. Congratulations! So, as we come to the end of the interview, and since you are on SoulTrain.com, tell us what episode of Soul Train you enjoyed most and who was on it, we’d love to hear it!

Green Tea: I loved the episode Bilal was on.  I love seeing his artistry and how he performs.  He’s so different each time.

SoulTrain.com: Finally, is there anything that you’d like to tell our readers about yourself that you haven’t shared yet?

Green Tea: Stay connected with me via my Facebook & Twitter @greenteasoul, and continue to support independent artists.  And, of course go out and be your dreams.

SoulTrain.com: Thanks again, Green Tea!

-Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman

Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman is a writer based in Maryland. Follow her on Twitter @KhadijahOnline.

 



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