There are layers to award-winning, soul singer/songwriter Teri Tobin. Each layer reveals a lusher depth, a more meaningful experience, an expressive passion and an abiding generosity, in Tobin’s music and womanhood. All of who Tobin is and what she’s lived through comes through her testimonial verses and agile instrument. Four projects deep, Tobin’s artistry has blossomed on her latest offering, Truth Is… (Top Notch/Ingrooves/Universal).
In its unvarnished truth and efforts to touch the experiences of her listeners, it may be the most mature work to-date by a talent who brought you the critically acclaimed Love Infinity (Sōl 2 Kēp Entertainment) and So Good To Me (Sōl 2 Kēp Entertainment) in just the last four years. As with her previous soulful offerings, the prospect of love happening just around the corner and healing messages of self-love and acceptance thread this empowering and elevating work of intimate honesty.
Born in Mesa, Arizona and raised in Southern California, Tobin has been cooing in key since coming out of the womb. As with many of the soul greats she admires, from Donny Hathaway to Marvin Gaye, Tobin’s training and early performances began standing flatfoot in front of the pews and belting past the church steeple. A comfortable alto with lilting soprano notes, the young Tobin experienced her first studio session as a child with R&B legend Jeffery Osborne. A teenage Tobin was later recruited in high school to be a part of an R&B and hip-hop soul act, Simpli R.A.W., who despite getting signed, fell prey to unscrupulous industry practices. Undaunted, after graduating from high school and a brief ATL move, Tobin had been promised a solo deal that never materialized, before finally landing at Howard University during a particularly charmed period in Washington, DC. Training in classical voice at the famed historically black college, Tobin was present for a storied time that boasted such artists as Shai, Sy Smith, and Eric Roberson as program peers and performing partners. A member of HU’s famed Chorale, Tobin shared stages with Patti Labelle and Luther Vandross, and was part of history when the Chorale performed with icons like Diana Ross at President Clinton’s Inaugural Gala on the National Mall. Further getting her feet wet by gigging at landmark spots like Takoma Station and Old Glory, Tobin was the first artist to perform at Georgia Brown’s, which has since become a DC music staple. Moves to Atlanta and back to Cali followed, resulting in session and background work with Joe, Mica Paris, Chico Debarge, and Chante Moore. Young and gifted, Tobin was a working artist making an industry name while actively writing the early songs with Debbie Nelson, cuts that would eventually find a home on Tobin’s debut, Love Infinity, but not for another decade. Life had more writing material for Tobin.
Despite cutting a demo and making some headway, Tobin met with many confidence-shaking roadblocks. A voluptuous, milk chocolate woman whose sultry eyes projects the sweet beauty next door, Tobin was inexplicably made to feel not light enough, pretty enough, good enough just as she was by a brutal business known for its tunnel vision. The unrelenting narrow-mindedness drove Tobin to leave music for a time, during which she fell in love, had her son, and returned home to attend to her mother and younger brother—in short, living her life. But, soon after the end of a troubled relationship that lacked its own melody and harmony, Tobin was back to song, writing with Lew Laing (The Elament Music Group), and had settled on becoming a songwriter. Together, they unsuccessfully pitched songs to various artists before determining that these songs were meant for Tobin. In 2011, under the prescient management and stewardship of Darla Tobin-Blakes, that epiphany finally bore the independently released Love Infinity and its radio single, “Free,” a tribute to Donny Hathaway and #1 smash in the UK and the Netherlands for several weeks. More than a decade of songwriting in the making and longer still in developing her craft, Love Infinity and “Free” were both overnight sensations in the UK and among global soul connoisseurs. Love Infinity was quickly followed up with 2011’s Christmas Child EP (Sōl 2 Kēp Entertainment). Letting no grass grow, Tobin dropped her 2012 fan tribute, So Good To Me (Sōl 2 Kēp Entertainment). True to Tobin’s testimonial approach to penning her life and belief in love, early projects deliver healthy doses of positivity and thoughtful meditations on love, survival, and gratitude. Each are also deeply rooted in the simple storytelling traditions of ‘70s soul, the sensual spirituality of ‘90s neo-soul, and warm contemporary jazz ambience that have become hallmarks of the jazzy soul songstress Tobin has become in the hands of producers as varied as Ahmed Sirour and Tall Black Guy.
That signature sound of hybrid musical influences from soulful rock to jazzy R&B has proven as commercial as it is inspirational. Tobin’s writing prowess led to placement in the 2008 independent film, Fathers of the Sport. Her voice and music can be heard with such corporate partners as Direct TV and Inflight with American Airlines. She has also shared stages with such peers as Anthony David and Rhonda Thomas, nationally toured her “Love & Soul LIVE” concert series, and is a staple performer for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and NBA’s Phoenix Suns, respectively. Tobin’s work has earned her two Independent Music Awards and a SoulTracks Reader’s Choice Awards nomination.
It is a more accomplished and confident Teri Tobin that listeners will find on her fourth studio project, Truth Is… The title serving as the opening half of each of the 14-track titles (e.g., Truth Is…”Love Happens”) and peels back yet another layer of Tobin as an unvarnished truth teller who still follows her mama’s musical advice to “sing pretty.” A single mother of a special needs son, a returning college student, a volunteer music program leader in her local community, a vibrant woman who is “owning her curves,” and a lifelong learner who is “becoming okay with being imperfect,” Tobin is uniquely tapped into the everywoman working to realize her dreams while taking care of herself, her family and community. Ministering to herself as well as to her fans on the encouraging, “#Shine,” produced and co-written by Dominick White, Tobin is speaking intimately about her own self-determination and the work that is required. Having taken the formative steps of fully accepting herself, when Tobin vulnerably declares “I am enough” on the interrogative “I Am,” a stripped-down piano ballad produced by Ahmed Sirour (YahZarah, Cleveland P. Jones) and co-written by Bridgette Bryant (The Soulmate Collection), Tobin’s speaking of arriving to a destination everyone is yearning for. Joining writing forces with Cleveland P. Jones (James Day, Daniel Crawford) and Shaun Ward on the sumptuously layered single, “Make Beautiful,” the Brandon “Truth” Adams (Kristin Diable, Gary “Lil G” Jenkins) produced and co-penned mid-tempo brew is an extension of Tobin’s indefatigable belief in love. Excavating a different dimension of Tobin’s faith, Corey Hodge’s co-written and produced “Wonderfully Made” opens the project with otherworldly, astral sounds and a harmonic layer cake of affirming and purpose-filled messaging. These are but a few shimmering examples of Tobin’s expanding artistry through collaborations with such veteran producers as Lorenzo Johnson (Ledisi, Maysa) and relative newcomers like Will Birckhead, Shawn Hibbler, and David “NuDAE” Edmonds, as well as long-time partners Animate Inventions, Inna-Ear Muzik Group (i.e., Debbie Nelson), and Keith “Bubby” Webb.
With the winter 2014 release of Truth Is…, Tobin is preparing for her inaugural international tour to share further gratitude to the worldwide fans who have kept her music dreams alive against an unforgiving business and embraced her just as she is. With a sack full of honest and empowering songs in tow, now it’s Teri Tobin’s turn to encourage listeners to allow love and support to happen in their lives, and to stand just as boldly and proudly in their truth as they have allowed Teri Tobin, with dignity and grace. And that’s the truth.
Follow Teri Tobin on Facebook, Twitter, Reverb Nation or on her website: http://www.teritobin.com/. For media inquiries, contact Darla Tobin Blakes @ dtblakes at gmail.com .
LOVE INFINITY, CHRISTMAS CHILD, SO GOOD TO ME, and TRUTH IS are available at Amazon, CDbaby.com, iTunes and other major online retailers.
"Teri Tobin is back with her latest CD, Truth Is...two words describe the project, classic and timeless."
Frances Jaye, Founder/DJ - NeoSoulCafe.com
"Love Me is a sweet & smooth tune with the right amount of warm keys riding over drum kicks that will have your shoulders moving & fingers snapping thanks to the production of award winning Tall Black Guy Productions."
Duane Powell, Kevinnottingham.com
"Love Me...powerful vocals filled with melody at a time when so many artists are turning to euro pop. Teri delivers what the game really needs SOUL!!!"
Jigs Get Loose – ChoiceFM, U.K.
"The beat is very engaging and invites you to dance! Love Me, is very well produced and will be the sensation of the moment! Hot tune!!"
Phdj Paulo Henrique Nascimento, A Liga Universoul – Rio de Janeiro
"So Good To Me, is a duet featuring Morris Alan...in the tradition of the great duets of old. Think Marvin and Tammi, Donny and Roberta, or Lionel and Diana. Add Teri and Morris to that list with this pleasing love ballad, which is both Quiet Storm-ready and fit for a wedding playlist. They sound perfect together singing about that forever kinda love. It doesn't get any sweeter than this."
"Her sound is REAL Soul Music. Not this new millennium R&B. Teri's music speaks to your mind, your heart and soul. Her new single, So Good To Me", is just an example of what I just stated. Teri Tobin is FOR REAL!"
Tim Garrison – Host/Owner, Chill Out Jazz Radio Show
"Vocalist Teri Tobin joins up with Morris Alan to bring us a new ballad entitled 'So Good To Me' which is an emotive gospel tinged delight which reminds me of the 80's magic of Bill Preston and Syreeta and their smash 'With You I'm Born Again' or the late great Whitney Houston and her anthem ' I Will Always Love You'. Their vocal interchange blends effortlessly over the piano and strings and builds to a crescendo of spiritual delight on this newly released single. Debuting on the eve of St. Valentine's Day, it's a musical recipe that has been lost for too long on the writer's ears."
Wes Gillespie – Producer of StreetJazz, JazzNet247 Radio Europe
“The staff and crowd thought Teri was amazing…love to have her back.” Management – The Roxy Theatre, West Hollywood
"Teri Tobin's debut project "Love Infinity" breathes the same "FIRE" into modern Soul/R&B genre as Erykah's "Baduizm" and Jill Scott's "Who is Jill Scott" entrances into the music world did years ago. These type artists are game changers and table setters for future generations of music talent. Teri Tobin is the TRUTH!"
Mark Dylan - Program Director, KOKY-FM Cumulus Media
"You don't hear debut albums on this level everyday, an album which invokes that romantic old school soul and R&B feeling. "Love Infinity" is truly a romantic album with short stories that will touch a lot of listeners, regardless of the generation."
Michael Harris - Senior Manager, SWEET SOUL RECORDS
"Without a doubt one of the brightest stars to emerge from Arizona in years! You need her CD Love Infinity in your life. Lock in to Teri Tobin to soulfully enhance your listening pleasure!"
Colin Curtis - UK Starpoint Radio
"I can tell if I'm going to like a new song within the first fifteen seconds, but with Teri Tobin's new single "Free", I knew I was going to like it from the first beat. It combines the freshness of nusoul and hip hop with subtle touches of classic 70's soul. Ms. Tobin's voice effortlessly floats along the groove. A certain addition to my playlist. I'm eagerly anticipating what else she has in store for us."
David J. - Soul by David J
"Her voice is smoother than wine, rich like butter, & goes down like honey."
SouthernQuill - Brown Girl in the Red, White, & Blue
"The silky/soultry voice combined with the groovin vibe of the brilliant new release by Teri Tobin entitled, "Free" is a must have to your music collection. This song is definitely food for your soul!" Highly recommended by Founder/CEO of MyCnotes, Marissa Caliguire
"Here comes summer. I can hear it in the warm, mellow tones of Teri Tobin's 'Free', a piece of instant vintage to nestle on the iPod of every discerning devotee to soul music. Lush strings, Philly-soul style guitar and the sophisticated voice of this year's 'one to watch' immerse me in a poignant, reminiscent song of tough times vs. freedom. It's on repeat play from a personal and professional perspective. My radio loves it. We may be just out of February but the the water is lovely so come on in and join me!"
Chris Philips - Choice FM / Jazz FM UK
"Teri's got it going on...love her voice, love her presentation, love her! "Love Infinity" can I get two those please."
Marvin Dangerfield - DJ InterFM