By Rick Bentley Tribune News Service
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Look out for Temmora Levy, the former recording artist is coming to Lifetime TV with a new eight-episode series where she lays down the law and offers to harsh truths to up and comers in the music biz. "Ms. T's Music Factory," is set to debut Thursday.
Former recording artist Temmora Levy ("There's No Me") can't answer whether she has a greater passion for being in front of an audience or preparing young, raw talent to ready to take the stage in front of a crowd. She loves them both for different reasons.
"The stage is my life but I love the kids even more," she says.
For the time being, Levy is on a musical mission to help young performers achieve their highest potential through her Arommet Academy, an artist development academy in Memphis, Tenn. The work is the basis for the new eight-episode Lifetime reality series, "Ms. T's Music Factory," set to debut Thursday.
The series reveals how Levy's own upbringing in and out of foster homes in Memphis help set her on a musical career she's now sharing with young performers, many dealing with their own problems.
At the same time, Levy must find time to manage her daughter Meisha's pop girl group KARMA. In each episode, her students will compete for a chance for a spot to open for KARMA at one of their shows.
Just because Levy loves her job doesn't mean she is going to take any kind of guff, whether from the young performers or their parents. Her criticism often is brutally honest, but Levy knows the music world can be a tough place. And, she has such a strong passion as to how she wants to coach, Levy won't let stage parents take over the show.
"I honestly do feel there's not that many bold enough to give me pushback because they know I will push a little harder than they will push," Levy says. "The ones who don't give me any pushback, it's about training.
"It's not just training the children, but you have to train the mindset of the parents because they are the reason the kids are acting like this."
What Levy has observed is in a lot of occasions it comes down to the children not understanding the real meaning of love. She has witnessed so many parents who have allowed their child to do and act any way they want, believing that was the way to show love. The kind of love Levy shows for her students comes across looking like it's tough, but she eventually gets through to the students and parents that being willing to say "no" is a serious way to show love.
Parents often are shocked Levy talks to them in a no-nonsense tone, but the options are to adjust or leave. She knows if the parents have enrolled their child in her academy, they are in need of help from getting a career off the ground to fixing a problem that's stalled the process.
"If you are not going to listen to me, then why are you here? The door swings both ways," Levy says. "Go back out it because it is not fair to me or the other parents who are here and trying to get it. If you are a person who is seeking attention and needs somebody to baby your feelings and ego, you are in the wrong place.
"But, if you need someone to help you get to the next place where you need to get to, you are in the right place."
Levy prefers to see herself as a coach rather than a teacher, using the musical influences of her life that range from Phyllis Hyman to Mary J. Blige to motivate young singers. She knows pushing a singer to work harder to improve is far more productive that just teaching them the mechanics of music. She knows a good voice is not always enough and she runs her academy to prepare performers to be ready in mind, body and spirit to be able to control a stage and an audience. This wide approach became important to Levy as the music industry changed.
"There are no more Motowns," Levy says. "Motown used to do artist development and you and your album would not be seen by the public until you were ready. Labels don't do that anymore. There are a lot of people out there thinking they can do it through social media and be the next Cardi B.
"Well, Cardi B has done it so it is not going to be doable again that way. Once somebody has done it one way you are going to have to do it a different way."
At the Arommet Academy, it's either her way or the highway. ___ 'MS. T'S MUSIC FACTORY' 10 p.m./9 p.m. Thursday, Lifetime ___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.