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Quincy Jones protege Tamia jumping into music fame

Web posted on: Friday, August 07, 1998 5:12:40 PM

From Correspondent Mark Scheerer

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Canadian-born singer Tamia Washington has earned three Grammy nominations in the past couple of years, and that was before she had even released an album. She has worked with some of the most famous producers in the music world, and now Tamia is ready to become a household name.

Tamia, 19, got her big break at the age of 15 when producer Quincy Jones asked her to sing on his album.

Tamia uses her "Imagination:"

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"He said, 'I have one more song left on my album, called 'You Put a Move on My Heart.' Why don't you come in a try it?'" she recalls. "It was really nerve-wracking so we just turned off the lights and he got on the microphone and he was like, 'Just be yourself.'"

Growing up

When Tamia closes her eyes she thinks back to her childhood in Ontario, Canada, where she was the daughter of two factory workers.

"I used to staple two paper plates together and put rice in them and like make a tambourine and stuff, so -- and just make up songs," she says.

Since then, Tamia's work with top producers has made her reality surpass her wildest imagination. Her work with Jones and Babyface earned her two Grammy nominations. Her collaboration with Brandy, Chaka Khan, and Gladys Knight on the song "Missing You" netted her a third.

'A lot of fun'

"It's fun when you get four voices to connect. You have a lot of fun," she says.

Now with her debut album, Tamia is having fun on her own.

Romantically linked to the Detroit Pistons' Grant Hill, Tamia feels at home under the bright lights. She made a splash in Hollywood last summer in "Speed 2: Cruise Control."

"Definitely I got my feet wet," she quips, "and I'd love to do it again."

With her career moving full-speed ahead, Tamia promises her growing fan base she'll always "keep it real."

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