- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 18, 2003

There are a lot of jazz singers. Then there’s Temika Moore, whose unique blend of soul and gospel and strong sense of self-determination and tenacity make her stand out from the pack. Miss Moore, 29, a resident of Waldorf, Md., is a songwriter and singer with a background in corporate law that gives her the business savvy all too many musicians have lacked — to their great misfortune.

“I guess I’m part of the new generation of jazz artists who’s empowering myself to use my versatility and creativity plus talent to reach my goals in music,” she says.

In Miss Moore’s case, empowerment means, among other things, her own record label. Moore II Come Entertainment handles her promotions, recording, publishing and music production. “I wanted more autonomy and freedom to fully express who I am,” she says.

Miss Moore started her company in 1998. “I went out and did it. That was a long time coming,” she says. Her CD, “Moment of Truth,” came out last year on July 23.

She will be singing songs from her CD when she performs for free at 2:30 p.m. tomorrow at the D.C. Fete de la Musique, sponsored by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. She will be performing with jazz legend Roy Ayers.

The music festival, which will last through Sunday, will take place at various locations throughout the District. Check http://dcarts.dc.gov for specific artists and locations.

“I’m hoping for a major label to pick me up and expand,” Miss Moore says, adding that she still wants to “maintain control of the publishing.”

Miss Moore, who was born in Philadelphia, began singing at age 8. “I hadn’t found my voice yet, but I knew deep in my heart and soul this was what I wanted to do in life,” she says.

After studying music at the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts, she entered the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, where she also received her bachelor’s degree in sociology/pre-law and graduated magna cum laude.

“I was the very first recipient of the coveted Ella Fitzgerald Music Scholarship Award,” Miss Moore says proudly.

“I also studied classical music, where at times my teachers tried to encourage me not to sing other styles of music because it would harm my voice. But I didn’t listen, and I’m glad I didn’t,” she says.

Miss Moore was working as a paralegal at Hunton and Williams in the District and was awaiting acceptance from law schools when she made the decision to pursue her dream of singing professionally.

Through her music, Miss Moore tells stories of struggles and perseverance born of personal experience. “Listeners who may be feeling a sense of hopelessness, [I can] just say to them not to give up hope,” she says. “You can achieve anything you want in life. Just work hard and keep the faith.

“I want those listeners who hear my music to walk away with a sense of empowerment,” Miss Moore explains. “That’s why I wrote songs on this CD like ‘Peace of Mind’ and ‘Testimony.’ Here’s my testimony of struggles that I’ve gone through.”

According to her Web site (www.temikamoore.com), Miss Moore has performed at Blues Alley, Zanzibar on the Waterfront, Zanzibar Blue in Philadelphia and Shelly’s in New York (formerly the Motown Cafe). She has appeared on bills with Boys II Men, Stanley Turrentine, Allyson Williams, the Marcus Johnson Project and Tony Terry and has played the legendary Apollo Theater.

“I have a lot more to accomplish,” Miss Moore says. “I guess you can say I’ve reached the moment of truth.”

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