born and raised in waterloo, iowa, tracie monique spencer and her older sister didn't have to look far to find musical inspiration. the daughter of one of the original cavaliersa group of balladeers who opened for jackie wilson spencer began singing at the tender age of three and counts billie holiday, melissa morgan and diana ross among her entertainment idols. spencer's creativity led her produce and direct her very first music videos, one of which resulted in her securring a position in the 1980s televised talent competition star search. it wasn't long after her impressive 1986 television debut that spencer was auditioning for executives at capitol records, who quickly signed the young talent and set the wheels in motion to introduce this vocal prodigy to the world.
spencer's manager (and co-executive producer of her first album), stan plesser and the label decided to release tracie spencer in 1988, when spencer was only twelve. though entering a market rife with young talentmartika, j.j. fad, shanice wilson, etc. tracie spencerproved an auspicious debut for such a young artist. three of the album's singles"symptoms of true love", "imagine" and "hide and seek"secured themselves a place on the charts, establishing young spencer as an up-and-coming talents.
it was two years before the release of spencer's second release, make the difference, which boldly beat the curse of the sophomore slump with five charting singles. though still a teenager, make the difference presented a more mature spencer, enabling her to capture the attention of older audiences who identified with the the funky beats and political messages of songs like "this house". maturity also allowed spencer to tackle romantic subject matter from a more adult perspective, resulting in the r:b chart-topping "tender kisses" and "love me". meanwhile, "sweeter love" and "tracie's hideout" displayed the rapping talents of both spencer and her brother dino aka sir spence(. spencer also struck a chord with audiences who considered her a more soulful alternative to teen queen peers such as debbie gibson and tiffany.
after the release of make the difference, spencer demonstrated her maturity yet again by deciding to take time off from recording to finish high school. "before settling in los angeles, i decided to take time out to finish school in iowa, where i became involved with sports and begand to have a life that was a little more normal," she explains. "i wasn't even a teenager when i started out and having a normal kind of childhood is difficult if you're in the business. i wanted some time to experience life as a teenager." and while spencer took time off to complete her education, fans anxiously awaited her return to the studio, often wondering what had happened to the rising star.
while ocassional industry gossip intimated that spencer was working on a new release, fans were left with only the appearance of her guest vocals on the infrequent movie soundtrack to appease their appetites. contributions to the cb4 and down in the delta soundtracksrelased in 1994 and 1998, respectivelyshowed that spencer was still in the game, but it wasn't until 1998 that she began a collaboration with soulshock and karlinwho have worked with divas such as patti labelle, toni braxton and kimberly scottthat would eventually lead to her 1999 return to recording. her appropriately-entitled reintroduction to the music-buying public, tracie, which is sure to please existing fans while simultaneously attracting those who may mistake the twenty-three year-old artist for a new talent again displays her incredible range with bass-thumping party anthems and emotive ballads. featuring the songwriting talents of dianne warren, tamara savage and, of course, tracie spencer, tracie will, undoubtedly, have fans and critics hoping that this marks spencer's permanent return to the studio. in fact, excitement about the new album has resulted in the re-release of her formerly unavailable first two recordings.
having began her career as a child star in an industry that's humbled many a diva, tracie spencer turned a one-in-a-million opportunity to her advantage launching a career already into its second decade. not only does her celebrity serve as a testament to the power and tenacity of youth, but her decision to balance a delicate career with her studies is an example to her younger fans of the value of education. though close in age to many recording artists just beginning their careers, tracie spencer has released three albums that demonstrate her talent, poise and character, making her a true diva.