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“It’s hard for me to explain it…I just love it…music is in my soul”…
Terri began her professional music career at 18, with all the zest and energy she still has today.
Born in London, but brought up in Germany, the young Ms Walker returned to the UK to study Opera at boarding school in her teenage years. She is classically trained, but her main point of influence was her mum’s record collection. “Mum has everything in there – from The Carpenters to Beres Hammond – it gave me an appreciation of quality”
Terri clearly remembers the first track that sparked something special inside her – “Phyllis Hyman – Move Closer – incredible energy, on point vocals and huge energy in a ballad…I was moved”.
Without any notable music industry connections, Terri didn’t have any obvious inroads into the business – that all changed after she sang at her father’s funeral and her moving performance led her to be invited to studio sessions and the opportunity to work alongside Femi Fem and Marco from The Young Disciples. “At that time those guys were the hottest things in UK production, so I jumped at the chance – I learnt so much from them”
Work with 187 Lockdown & Gifford in the UK Garage arena followed – her reputation as a classy vocalist started to grow. It wasn’t long before a big break came – producers Shanks & Bigfoot asked Terri to feature on their album. “That was an amazing experience – I got to perform at so many festivals in front of huge crowds and positive energy. The focus wasn’t on me so it felt like a job; a good job, but a job none the less.” One of the collaborations “Sing-A-Long” reached number 12 in the national chart, but it wasn’t the musical direction that she wanted to pursue. “I was into soul but there wasn’t the opportunities that are around today. However I was determined to be recognized for my musical passion”
Walker’s frustration by a lack of cohesion from her management led her to jet out to LA to work with producers. This proved to be fruitful sessions and reinvigorated Terri to make change when she returned to the UK. New management followed, and soon after so did a new label. The legendary Def Jam was the new home for Terri Walker. “It was incredible – I was signed to one of the most iconic labels in the world, on the strength of my music and I was determined to make it work and learn the corporate side of the business.” Her debut album “Untitled” received huge acclaim when it was nominated for the 2003 Mercury Music Prize alongside Walker’s nominations for Best R&B Act, UK Act of the Year, Best Album and Best Newcomer at the 2003 Mobo Awards
The marriage didn’t work out as she wished, and the label & Terri parted company. “I was bitter at the time”, she says, “primarily because I felt I got on well with everyone but it showed me that this was about business and not personal relationships. My determination grew even more.”
Terri had a period of “living life”, enjoying the company of family and friends before being introduced to Grammy award winning producer Salaam Remi (Nas, Amy Winehouse) and the two connected straight away. This saw Terri providing backing vocals for Duran Duran, Nas, Cee-Lo and Jamie Callum as well as working with the likes of Jennifer Hudson & Fergie as well as the Sex & The City soundtracks. Remi also produced an album with her, which will be released in 2013. Terri also worked extensively with noted producer Ski Beatz.
Current work with Artful, Doneao, KOF, Nicole Wray & Truth and Soul as well as producers Brackles and T Williams prove that her prolific output has been maintained. Terri is also strongly affiliated with Africa Express.
Walker is confident of what the future holds. “I feel like I have finally found my footing – I feel more assertive this time around and it all feels like a rebirth. I am ready to do this.”
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