Triple Threat Terrell: GMO Spotlight on Mr. Terrell Carter

Wednesday, 09 March 2011 16:42 Written by  Tiffani Alexander

You’ve seen his face in Tyler Perry’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Madea’s Class Reunion and Meet the Browns. You’ve heard his voice along side some of your favorite artists, like Patti Labelle and Christina Aguilera. You’ve maybe even seen his––let’s just say “pleasing” physique in a few magazines.

tcTerrell Carter––actor, singer, songwriter and occasional model––talks to GlossMagazineOnline about what he’s currently working on, how he got his start, who he’d like to work with, his thoughts on the music business and so much more.

GlossMagazineOnline.Com (GMO): We’ve seen you in Tyler Perry movies and plays and heard your voice and lyrics in the music of such acts as Christina Aguilera, Patti LaBelle and Diddy, to name a few. What would you say was your first big break and how did that come about?

Terrell Carter (TC): My first big break was working with Fred Hammond. It was weird the way that happened because I was at home, I was 17 years old, and I looked on the back of an album, which was Ron Winans’ Family & Friends Choir III, and I got a guy’s number off of there who was managing the Winans at the time. I called him and I told him ‘I want to sing’ and I sang on the phone. He said, ‘If you can make your way up to Detroit, then come on up here.’ He happened to be Michael Williams’ brother, the drummer for Commission, which was Fred Hammond’s group at the time. So, I was working with this guy, and the church he went to was Marvin Winans’ church. I went to Marvin Winans’ church, and they had me do a solo. Fred Hammond was in the back of the church and he asked me that day––he was starting a new group, which is now Radical for Christ––he asked me if I would be a part of that. I was so excited and I didn’t end up working with the guys I came up there to work with, but I started working with Fred Hammond and just moved on from there.

GMO: What was your first love, music or acting?

TC: Music.

GMO: How did you come to work with Tyler? What is that like?

TC: Working with Tyler Perry, it started because a girl who was a friend of mine who played my wife in Madea’s Class Reunion, she actually sang background for The Clark Sisters and is from Detroit, where I started with Fred Hammond. So, they were looking for a guy to come and play her husband [in Madea’s Class Reunion] and she had told them about me, but I wasn’t interested in doing plays at the time. They called me three or four times and I didn’t want to come, I had no idea who Tyler Perry was or how big that movement was. Then when I finally got on the bandwagon, I flew down to Atlanta to do it, and it’s crazy because I didn’t know this movement was so big. When I got out there, the theaters were sold out every night. That was how it started.

Working with Tyler Perry was an amazing experience, a learning experience. You learn how it is to be a leader, and you see what to do and what not to do. You see—someone who is that successful, there is a reason that he’s that successful. I just felt like I was in school––I learned a lot.

GMO: When can we expect to hear more music from you? Are you currently working on an album?

TC: I’m currently working on a project right now. I did an answer to Jazmine Sullivan’s “I’m in Love with Another” that was just sort of a sneak peak of what I’m doing to keep them hungry for this new project that I have coming out in May 2011. It’s actually all over the Internet, it’s all over YouTube, Facebook and stuff like that. So, that’s something that they can listen to now and see how I’m coming this time.

GMO: Do you have a title for the album?

TC: Not yet. I have a couple ideas, but I want to keep that a secret because it may give away the whole project.

GMO: Who are you working with, or who would you love to work with musically?

TC: I would love to do some stuff with producers like Rodney Jerkins and Timbaland. I really, really like musical people, and Rodney is someone who is really musical and he really understands that side of a singer, that’s why Brandy does so well with him. As far as singers, Brandy, Jazmine Sullivan. It’s funny that they’ve been trying to hook us up for a while now. I like singers like that.

GMO: Who have you collaborated with musically in the past?

TC: Who haven’t I worked with?! I’ve worked with Puff Daddy, Quincy Jones, Tyler Perry, Patti LaBelle, Chaka Khan, Natalie Cole, Stevie Wonder, India.Arie, Christina Aguilera, and the list goes on. I’ve worked with many different artists.

GMO: Has your work with them been in the form of background vocals, writing or a combination of the two?

TC: It’s been a number of different things. For Puff Daddy, I did writing and vocal arrangements for a lot of the groups. And you know he’s a rapper, so I would go out on the tours and sing, some background vocals but also leads too. It would be me, Kelly Price and Carl Thomas––we were the three singers. I sang backup for Patti LaBelle, but she also hired me to sing “On My Own” with her, and I also wrote for her album, so it’s a number of things.

GMO: What are your thoughts on the current state of music and the music industry?

TC: I think that music industry is, of course, different, that’s why you see artists now have to do more than just record­­­s––you can’t just live and eat off of records anymore. You have to have the records, a record company, a clothing line, you have to do business cards, you have to write holidays cards and everything just to survive [laughs]. But I think the music industry is different now because, it’s not necessarily what the public likes, it’s about the way that the music industry has kind of shaped the public’s opinion on what to like. They don’t really crave the songs like those of a Jazmine Sullivan.

I think that the music industry is at a place now where Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin and Pattie LaBelle wouldn’t even get record deals, just by the way they look, etc. The music industry is a lot different now, and therefore, it’s not about if you can really sing, so when you get someone in there like a Jazmine Sullivan or a Kelly Price––someone who can really blow––everyone is shocked. The music industry is so much more about image and less about good records and good sounding songs. The songs aren’t songs that will go down in history like Aretha Franklin’s “Respect.” The music now, it’s not built for longevity, it’s built for the moment.

GMO: What artists do you think have that longevity and will be around in 20 years?

TC: I definitely think Beyonce will be around. She has exactly what it takes to be that Tina Turner artist. Mary J. Blige is one of those artists that will keep excelling. I’m hoping that Usher will be around; I like Drake. I like what he talks about, the cleverness of Drake. Maybe, we’ll see. You never know where music is going, but when it comes down to raw talent, you have Mary and Beyonce, I see Jazmine Sullivan. Lady Gaga—I don’t think she’s just a phenomenon of today, I think she’s that Madonna where she’ll be that long-lasting legend.


GMO: Who would you say you sound like musically? Who are your musical influences?

TC: I think that Fred Hammond definitely is one of my musical influences. People tell me that I sound like a mixture of Donny Hathaway and Karen Clark Sheard. It’s funny, but I can hear why they say both.

GMO: Will your album have more of an R&B feel or will it be a gospel album? t3

TC: My album is more Pop R&B. I’ll still be singing the way I’m singing, but I’ll have a lot more up-tempo songs than normal. People normally know me for ballads, but I’m going to do a lot more up-tempos and some things that people don’t expect me to do––but I’m still coming the way I like to come. As far as the gospel side, I’m actually working on a gospel/inspirational project now, which should be coming out in the fall.

GMO: Back to the acting, what projects are coming up for you? Are you currently touring and what films can we look for?

TC: I just did a couple things: I did a project with Faith Evans and Fantasia called Soul Kittens. It’s a straight to DVD project that I did, and it’s actually available now at Wal-Mart; it’s the number one African American movie on I worked on another project with Fantasia; it takes place in a 1960s juke joint and I play her older brother. They’re still working on production so they don’t have a release date for that one yet. I’m also working with Faith Evans on the Florence Ballard Story. That’s a movie on the “other” supreme, and I play her husband in that. So I have a number of different projects that I’m working on right now.

GMO: What would you say is the biggest misconception about you as an artist/actor/model? Do you ever feel typecast?

TC: I feel typecast in that people see me in the light of the Tyler Perry thing so they think that genre of everything when they see me––that genre of music, that genre of movie, or that kind of actor. But I love everything. I love comedy, love romance stuff and things like that. Even when I’m singing, it doesn’t have to be the church and gospel stuff only. I definitely think that I can be typecast with those types of things … not typecasts, but I think that that’s a misconception.

GMO: What is the one character that you are dying to play and who would you like to be cast opposite of?

TC: I would absolutely love to play the Donny Hathaway story. And, I know that Karen Clark is doing the Aretha Franklin story, so I would love for her to play a version of Aretha while I’m doing Donny Hathaway, or Roberta Flack.

GMO: What other actor would you like to work opposite of?

TC: Morgan Freeman.

GMO: Who are your influences in film?

TC: Morgan Freeman is an influence in film. I really love Will Smith. I love the fact that he’s so versatile. Him growing up under that era of everybody wanting to be like Denzel, I think that was why he really excelled, because he could be the funny guy, he could be the serious guy––he could be everything. I also love Angelina Jolie and Meryl Streep.

GMO: Did you go to school for acting and were you musically trained, etc?

TC: I’ve never been to school for acting or singing. It’s second nature, just like breathing.

GMO: What advice do you have for young artists––those that want to pursue careers in music or film, or modeling?

TC: Never give up. I know that sounds so cliché, but never give up no matter what happens, no matter what someone says, no matter what is said about you, no matter what failures, no matter what doors close––never give up. I always say this, 100,000 no’s from man, and one yes from God is all you need. If you got that one yes, then continue.

GMO: What are you doing next?

TC: I’m working on a remake album of a lot of covers. I redid Pattie LaBelle’s “If Only You Knew” ­­­­­and Frank Sinatra’s “My Way”––songs that they wouldn’t expect to be done by me. I’m an independent artist so there are no rules for me. I’m able to do a Dance-Pop album that can be played for the people in Europe and then do an R&B album for the people here. I can have a single out on this chart and if I want to do ballads and ups, it doesn’t matter.

So, I have three different album projects that are coming out at different times. I also have a couple movie projects coming out including a movie that I’ve written called A Prosperous Woman, which is an amazing film and we’re going to start production on that at the end of the year. I’m doing a lot of things with the Gospel Music Network and John Ruffin, who I did Love Me or Leave Me, which is going to be a sitcom on the Gospel Music Network. And of course, you’ll always be able to see me in the plays. I just did The Ideal Husband with John Ruffin, Shirley Murdock, Ginuwine and Jackée. That’s going to be going on tour starting next month.

GMO: How can people keep up with you?

TC: They can go to my website:, they can catch me on Facebook and on Twitter @TerrellMusic.

Tiffani Alexander

Tiffani Alexander

Publisher and Editor in Chief of (GMO), Tiffani Alexander came to Chicago in the fall of 2004 to pursue her Master's degree in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management at Columbia College Chicago. Tiffani earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from the University of
 Maryland, College Park. She has worked for both Cygnus Business Media and Maher Publishing before embarking on her dream to start her own magazine. In addition to publishing GMO bi-monthly, Tiffani freelances and works as an editor on a legal journal in Washington, DC.


Tiffani can be contacted at

Follow her on Twitter: @TiffaniGMO



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