Born Mary Christine Brockert, Teena Marie was a protege' of R&B and "funk" legend Rick James, and was one of the most successful white performers of R&B. She played rhythm guitar, keyboards and congas. She also wrote, produced, sang and arranged virtually all of her songs since her 1980 release, Irons in the Fire, which she said was her favorite album.
In 1982, Marie got into a heated legal battle with Motown records over her contract and disagreements about releasing her new material. The scuffle resulted in "The Brockert Initiative," which makes it illegal for a record company to keep an artist under contract without releasing new material for that artist. In such instances, artists are able to sign and release with another label instead of being held back by an unsupportive one.
In 1986, Marie released a rock music-influenced concept album titled Emerald City. It was controversial with her established fan base and not as successful as its predecessors. She also recorded another rock-influenced track, "Lead Me On," for the soundtrack of the box office hit film, Top Gun.
In 2010, Marie continued to be a headliner on the Las Vegas Strip, appearing regularly at the Las Vegas Hilton and other venues until just before her death at age 54.