Rick James On Meeting Teena Marie; Recording “Fire and Desire”

Rick James and Teena Marie
Rick James and Teena Marie

While walking through Motown one day I heard this beautiful voice. I looked in the office where it was coming from and sitting at the piano singing was this little white chick named Teena Marie.

She was shy, even bashful as she introduced herself to me. I asked her what she was doing there and she said she was signed to the company. We talked a little longer than I left.

One day I got a call from her manager Winnie Jones, who asked if I wanted to produce Teena. I said “send me some tapes” so I can hear some more of her voice. After I heard her I was geeked to produce for her… She had spent close to $400,000 recording and still no album.

After I listened to Teena’s voice carefully, writing for her was easy. The songs just seemed to come. “Déjà Vu,” a slow ballad about reincarnation, “Don’t Look Back,” a Temptation’s remake, “Turning Me On,” etc.

Teena’s album turned out great. We called the album “Wild and Peaceful.”

On the creation of their hit duet “Fire and Desire” from the album “Street Songs,” Rick James explains:

After hearing how great and funky the track came out I said “this would be great for a chick to sing on.” I didn’t ask Teena to sing on it. In fact I had found a local girl with an amazing voice who was going to record the female vocals.


Teena was in Sausalito at the time sick with a fever of 108° but when she heard I was going to use somebody else, she immediately got out of her sick bed to sing on the track. Needless to say that’s how it came out.

“Street Songs” was #1 R&B for over 21 weeks across the board.

Teena’s album stayed under “Street Songs,” at #2. The first time we made love was during the tour in Pittsburgh. She wrote a song about it called “Portuguese Love.” She told me later that I was the first one ever give her an orgasm.


I mean we made love sundown to sunup. She came like the pouring rain. But we never were boyfriend and girlfriend. I would always tell her that I pride myself on maintaining my freedom.

Sometimes if she was angry about other women, she cussed me under her breath we singing “Fire and Desire.”

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