She is best known for her 2001 hit "Stranger In My House" and Fabolous' 2003 song "Into You", sampling her 1998 song "So Into You", and "Me" 2006 hit from her debut album. Tamia is married to NBA player Grant Hill of the Phoenix Suns. They have two daughters; Myla Grace and Lael Rose.
Born as Tamia Marilyn Washington in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, she grew up in the inner city, not far from the Detroit border, with her mother and three younger brothers Tiras, Tajhee, and Trajan.
Aside from the music she heard and sang at church, Tamia was exposed to diverse music from an early age by her mother, Barbara. Singing was always her passion. As early as age 6, she was onstage singing gospel at the local church and by age 12 had already been involved in several musicals which continued to help her hone her musical skills. Tamia studied piano and voice with renowned Windsor musician, Eugene Davis, who was also instrumental in encouraging her to pursue her vocal passion. It was not long before the gifted young singer began receiving recognition for her talent. Her mother and Godmother decided that the arts program at Walkerville Collegiate Institute in Windsor would best suit Tamia's musical talent. Along with attending highschool at Walkerville, she made several appearances in local theater and choral concerts before winning Canada's prestigious YTV Vocal Achievement Award in 1993 and the Steve Ross Music Scholarship at the American Academy of Achievement's Annual Salute to Excellence in 1994.
"I was always happy growing up, but I realize now there are some things missing because of my situation. Now that I have a child, I know the importance of having a father in the household."
Tamia enjoys a wide range of music, especially ballads. She told Teen, "I don't care about labels-country music, rock music, it's the way it makes me feel that counts". Ebony Man described Tamia as "Naturally witty, comical, talented … and a bundle of energy". She told CNN's Mark Scheerer "I used to staple two paper plates together and put rice in them to make a tambourine…."
In early 1994, Tamia recorded her first single, "You Put a Move On My Heart", which was produced by Quincy Jones. The single later appeared on his Q's Jook Joint album. The song itself, went at #12 on the R&B charts and at #98 on the Billboard Hot 100, the single was a success on the R&B charts, and showcased Tamia's early hit.
Tamia has been married to NBA player Grant Hill since July 24, 1999. They have two children Myla Grace Hill (2002) and Lael Rose Hill (2007). The singer has been diagnosed with Multiple sclerosis. In an interview with Smooth magazine, Tamia reported that the disease is seemingly in remission and she has symptoms now and then but they are controlled.
Tamia and other collaborations (1995–1997)
In early-to-mid 1995, Tamia, who has five-octave vocal range, began recording her eponymous debut album, with production from the likes of Mario Winans, Jermaine Dupri, Tim & Bob, as well as additional help from Quincy Jones. The album's first single, "You Put a Move On My Heart", was released on December 2, 1995, which was produced by Quincy Jones, off of his Q's Jook Joint album, charted at #98 on the Billboard Hot 100, but became Tamia's first Top 40 hit on the R&B charts, peaking at #12, showcasing her first Top 40 R&B hit. Another single, "Slow Jams" which was co-written by American singer-songwriter Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, features Barry White, and Babyface himself. The single also appeared on Q's Jook Joint, and appeared at #68 on the Billboard Hot 100 and at #19 on the R&B charts, becoming her second Top 40 R&B hit. In the second quarter of 1996, Tamia collaborated with American soul singer Gladys Knight, Brandy, and Chaka Khan for the single, "Missing You", which was featured in the 1996 blockbuster film, Set It Off, and released in August of that year, the single peaked at #10 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, and at #25 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming her first Top 40 single.
Tamia's debut album was released in Canada on April 14, 1998, three weeks later it was released in the United Kingdom on May 11, and in North America the following day. The album became a critical and commercial success, debuting at number two on the Billboard 200 and at number one on the Billboard R&B Albums Chart, selling 145,000 copies in first week sales.