What Ever Happened to: Tracie Spencer

It’s the same old story.

Whenever we spotlight fallen artists in this space, it’s almost always the same sad tale – humble beginnings lead to a meteoric rise and then almost as quickly, the star falls. Then the artist scratches and claws to stay relevant before ending up on the back of a milk carton.
Not so for R&B chanteuse Tracie Spencer. If you ask me, she had the perfect career path – she started out slow, climbed to the top of the R&B mountain, then bowed out before overstaying her welcome. I wish her colleagues would follow her example. Watch how it’s done.
A native of Waterloo, Iowa, Tracie started her grind almost right of the womb. She started singing at age 3, competed in beauty pageants at age 5, and was on CBS’ Star Search singing Whitney Houston songs by the time her age hit double digits. That performance led way to her first record deal with Capitol Records.
Who do little boys have crushes on these days? Grown, creepy women like Rihanna and Icki Garbaj? No wonder the world is such a depressing, tight-pants-wearing mess. In my day, ALL the boys were in love with Tracie, especially after her solo debut in 1988. Ignore the distracting and hideous ’80s fashions – “Symptoms of True Love” is just as fun  now as when we were playing with Ninja Turtles. And even though she was barely a preteen, “Hide and Seek” still became a hit on the “Quiet Storm” radio circuit. The album wasn’t a runaway hit, but it paved the way for much bigger things.
Tracie’s sophomore effort, Make the Difference, was released in 1990 and this is when, as one of the old deacons at my church used to say, things started poppin’ like popcorn. With lyrics like that, he could win a Grammy these days.
Anyway, upbeat first single “Save Your Love” became her biggest hit at the time, peaking at No. 7 on the R&B charts. Tracie (and her SUPER high-rise jeans) outdid herself with the second single, “This House,” which not only peaked at No. 7 on the R&B charts, but reached No. 3 on the pop charts.
As great as those songs were, it was the follow-up “Tender Kisses” that became Tracie’s signature track. The video is horribly cheesy but don’t hate – this was THE CUT back in 1991. It climbed to No. 1 on the R&B charts.
(Please excuse the creepy heavy breathing in the background of that vid. I think someone enjoyed that clip a little too much).
Add in “Love Me” and “This Time Make It Funky” and you can definitely call Make the Difference a success.
This was also around the time my wifey, who was about 11 years old at the time, met Tracie at a Birmingham hotel. The wifey told her grandmother “IT’S TRACIE SPENCER!” Of course, granny was like “WHO?” Apparently Tracie was extremely nice and happy to talk to her young fans. The wifey also met Savion Glover that day. I guess it was “meet all the young black stars day” at Random Birmingham Hotel.
After the success of Make the Difference, Tracie took an extended break in the mid-90s to pursue modeling, including work for Tommy Hilfiger, Chanel, and Dollhouse and participating in New York and Los Angeles fashion weeks.
By the time Tracie returned to music in 1999 with Tracie, R&B was being engulfed by hip-hop. “It’s All About You (Not About Me)” wasn’t bad, it just sounded much too similar to everything else in that era. But I guess that worked to Tracie’s advantage – it wound up being a pretty solid R&B and pop hit. I liked the second single “Still In My Heart” much better but it didn’t perform as well. However, Tracie still became the highest-charting album of her career, reaching No. 19 on the R&B boards.
Tracie slowly moved away from the limelight in the 21st century, mostly doing background vocals. Bet you didn’t know she appeared on “Slow Jamz” and “Never Let Me Down” on Kanye West’s classic College Dropout album.
Should She Come Back?: Tough call. I think Tracie had an ideal career arc – she came in, had some memorable hits and bowed out before destroying her legacy with mediocrity. It wouldn’t surprise me if Tracie still had some gas left in the tank. For now, I’m just happy reliving the wifey’s sixth-grade memories of Tracie’s glory days.


  1. She was beautiful and I loved tender kisses back in the day..miss those days so much

    • I miss the 90 s the best everything now a days ppl not originalpost

    • I’ve remembered Tracie through Family Matters with Eddie Winslow singing Tender Kisses, and she’s beautiful and a great singer. She just kind of disappeared off the planet earth. I just found out through you guys that’s a backup singer so that’s good.

  2. shee still my favortie artist

    • Yes those days of the 70s , 80,s and 90s were the days of meaning and classical music that had a positive meaning! I miss those days.I wish if I could turn back time!.

  3. I had a crush on Tracie back in the day.

  4. Are they any fan pages or websites where we can communicate with her? Is she on social media anywhere? We could definitely benefit from her presence, even if she was backing another artist. Lead me to her, for she may be our musical salvation from creepy people like Rihanna and Beyonce. I sorely ill from both of them!

    • Rhianna,beyonce(uglyonce)and creepy nina minje..i call her ninja minja cant sing at all…lol

      • 🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝

  5. well, me feel that capitol treated her wrong, even though me believe that she was master of her own destiny but it’s like that in this cold world – if you don’t sell your soul you must remain humble. big record labels mostly do not understand the ability of people who they sign. they just sign them for the hype they see. I just wish she would have recorded more songs, like 5 albums or something.. would have been really blessed.

  6. I just heard an old cut on iHeart Radio and decided to Google her to find out what happened to her. She damn sure could sing.

  7. I LOVE MY COUSIN’S WORK!!! My family is so talented!

  8. I will always LOVE your music.

  9. tracie spencer way did you left you musie entertainment and slop sing and act love Priscilla

  10. I’m still a fan

    • Tracie You’re the world Champion,your voice really gIves life,I neva ever heaRd such a beautiful voice in my life…Tender Kisses,I heard in Family Matters for d 1st time

      • She treated people in her home town like shit. She came to the club one night with her body guards all around her and wouldn’t speak or nothing. Then about a year or two ago her father pass away she was in the hospital with her face covered up like she was a still famous I wanted to tell her didn’t nobody no her they were all too young she did all that hiding for nothing. I sure didnt say anthing too her.

  11. One of the best singers she should keep going I know she got it in her.

  12. Im a senior citizen now,but tender kisses, still plays in my heart and mind all the time. Loves lost, new love found, thats my banner song!

  13. I think that she’s one of those artist that should come back and sing NOW!!!! I loved her then and would buy anything she makes.Her voice is outstanding.

  14. Sitting here reminiscing over days at Woodlawn high school in Birmingham and remembered Tracie Spencer coming to our school to perform. LOL…It probably was the same year your wife met her. The 1990’s were the best years of my teenage life when it came to music

  15. @ Tajuana. I attended Woodlawn High School too. I was there when Tracie Spencer came and gave us a surprise concert. She really rocked the house. I always wondered what made her choose our school. I’m still a fan of Tracie. When I hear her music, it takes me back to some of the fond memories from my youth.

  16. Anybody seen Tracie Spencer

  17. Still love your music..Please come out with something..Perhps show up on a show.. Miss you Tracie..

  18. Tracy you are no. 1 in my heart, wish we could go back to the 80s one more time.

  19. When you going to make another album?
    I’m your biggest fan.

  20. I Grew up in Waterloo, and she is also one of the nicest people you could ever meet as well. I sang in high school with her older brother and sister. Her brother is a very successful producer as well.

  21. Loved her style. Beautiful woman she is and to me always will be.wish she would do one more for old time sake. There are a lot of great producers and song writers out there if she needed them. She crosses my mind today they should play her music more, on 100.3 old school station

  22. 60’s 70’s 80’s were the glory happy fun days

  23. I believe if she still can pipe like she use to, she will make some hits. She just need the right producer and song writer.

  24. Bored with this article August 17, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    I wish this article didn’t just repost her career and nothing about where she is now… Terrible article. You can piece more together about her life by looking up her roots in Waterloo and her father who was a singer and brother who works with youth in Waterloo.

  25. Listening to “symptoms of true love” right now I was a little kid 41 now but still remember her hits

  26. Sees to me the gal is
    GONE not coming back. Beyonce took over.


  28. I loved Tracey Spencer wished our 80s favorites could come back and knock these so called singers off the map with real voices music isn’t music anymore!

  29. Definitely I loved her like most boys did in the 80s. Listened to her cassette over and over. I hope she is doing well

  30. I think we might be related!

  31. Tracie Spencer. I am a big fan since day one. My mom was your principal at the time.I know your family. Tricia is Hot! Lol. Enjoyed all of your albums. Blessing…

    Russ Roif, NYC< NY

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