Tracie Spencer Opens Up About Hiatus, Return, And Future 


By Percy Crawford

Spencer is back gracing the stage with her beautiful voice, looking to record some new music soon. 

Tracie Spencer started performing at a very early age. However, her leap into stardom began when she released her self-titled album in 1988. When her hit “Tender Kisses” debuted in 1990, from the “Make the Difference” album, it catapulted her career. Miss Spencer would go on to make TV appearances on the popular sitcom, “Family Matters” performing the hit. Now, back on stage and getting her creative juices back flowing, it appears we can expect to see a lot more of Miss Spencer in the near future. During a recent conversation with Heart & Soul, Miss Spencer explains her absence, stage jitters upon her return, and the potential of new music. 

What does it mean to you to still be able to perform your hits in front of crowds? 

Spencer: It means everything to me. As an artist, when you create, a lot of it is from personal experiences, or you’re putting material out that means something to you. With the hopes that it will resonate with the listeners. When it does and the fact that I was able to leave the industry for a period of time, and at some point, you think fans move on and forget about you… I guess in my head that’s what I was thinking. Once I resurfaced, the love that I have been getting has been truly overwhelming. It shows the impact of my music has impacted a lot of people. It’s been a little scary and nerve racking getting back out there. The last 10,15, 20 years, I wasn’t performing. I was doing other things. I had tons of nerves the first time getting back on stage with D-Nice . That was overwhelming for many reasons. The last time I performed, I had both of my parents, now they have both passed, so it was also very emotional. 

For someone who has performed on stage at such a young age, explain to someone not understanding how you could still be nervous. 

Spencer: I think that’s the misconception of entertainers. We’re very emotional people. You go through a transformation when you get on stage and perform because you can’t be the same person you are off stage as you are onstage. You have a different identity and I put that person on the backburner. She was taking a very long nap (laughing). Trying to wake her up and tell her that we got work to do, is a different transition. It’s a lot. 

How long does it take to get rid of that? 

Spencer: The minute you walk on that stage, and someone puts a mic in your hand. You kind of zone out. You just wanna connect with the audience and over time you just learn to do that. 

Was your break from the industry imperative and during that break, did you watch any, “What happened to Tracie Spencer,” content? 

Spencer: In the beginning, I didn’t know what was going to happen. I had gotten to a point where I was very frustrated, and I wasn’t having any fun within the music industry anymore. It became so much of a business. Between the label and people, I was dealing with, they started to take the fun out of it. That’s tough for people who must wear two hats. There’s the business side and the entertainment side, I prefer the entertainment and creative side, and just deal with the business when I need to, to get things done. I am a person who likes to be creative. People can strip that away from you over time and I was exhausted. I slowly pulled myself out of it. I would get pulled in every now and then, working with Kanye [Ye], Dr. Dre, 50 Cent, and Eve.

 People called asking to use my vocals, and I’d agree, but that was kind of as far as I wanted to go. Then I would pull myself right back out of it and try to find some kind of peace for myself and enjoy life, be around my family. I had other interests. In the beginning it was tough. It’s like breaking up with someone that you really loved, but in the end, I think it was the best decision I ever made. If I would’ve stayed in it, I don’t know what the outcome would have been. At some point you gotta do what’s best for you and hope it works out in the end. You never know if you will be welcomed back with open arms. The worst part about leaving the industry for me was, I had built some really good relationships. There aren’t many that you value in this industry, that was difficult. Now, I’m in contact with those people again and you realize, those were the real true friendships because those people didn’t change. 

In the beginning, I didn’t wonder if people were looking for me. I wasn’t concerned about that. It wasn’t until later, family and friends would come to me telling me that they saw on social media people asking, “Where is Tracie Spencer? What is she doing? Why isn’t she doing music?” People felt like I completely disappeared, and I guess I did (laughing). 

I have been a fan of TV One’s “Unsung” since its debut. In your opinion, is Tracie Spencer “Unsung?” 

Spencer: Eh, I don’t know. It’s not something that I really think about. It’s the labels they put on artists. Like when people say, it’s a comeback, legend, or this or that. I’m not good with labels. I just look at it is, I still have a lot to offer. I still want to create great music, I want to perform, and that’s what I want to continue to do. I hope that my fans who have followed me from the beginning are still there and that I can create a new group of family that comes on in and my music resonates with them. I’d like to see us do away with labels and things like that and just celebrate people. I think those types of labels limit people’s creativity. The title “Unsung” is kind of final, and I look at the people who inspired me like Diana Ross and Tina Turner, if I could continue to perform and long as Tina Turner performed, and Diana Ross is still touring right now, who’s to say when I’m done? 

You didn’t have a lot of collaborations with other artists. Was that by design and is it something you’d like to do now? 

Spencer: It definitely wasn’t intentional. I have always wanted to collaborate with other artists, I just think it’s about timing. Those opportunities just didn’t happen. I still would like to collaborate with artists, hopefully, when I start recording new music. Shanice and I have talked about it. I would love to collaborate with another female artists. We’ll see what happens. 

Tender Kisses” has 11 million views on Vevo alone. Those are all 80’s and 90’s babies. To see so many generations connect with your song, what does that mean to you? 

Spencer: It’s a blessing. I think that’s what everybody wants as a recording artist and a song writer. For everyone to be able to enjoy your music. I don’t make it for one group of people. I make it for everyone to enjoy. It’s wild to sit and think, when I first came out, people weren’t going to YouTube to find videos. I have looked on YouTube to see how many people have viewed the videos and read some of the comments. Some of the comments are funny because I see, “I just discovered her, I saw something online.” It’s like I’m a new artist to a whole nother generation who just discovered me. It’s a beautiful thing.  

Tracie Spencer Throwback with Tony Terry