‘Love & Hip Hop’ Star Tammy Rivera On Her Upcoming EP, Working With Waka Flocka Flame & Swimsuit Line T-Rivera

Tammy Rivera first became known by millions of people when she joined the cast of the VH1 reality show Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta in 2014. Since then, Rivera has expanded her career in multiple areas. She appeared on the BET series Tales, started up the swimwear line T-Rivera and recently released her debut single “All These Kisses.” Currently, she is working on an apparel line besides T-Rivera, has an EP scheduled for an early 2018 release, and will be part of family reality show coming out soon with husband Waka Flocka Flame called Meet the Flockas.

At the New York office of the Big Machine Agency, I had the pleasure of talking with Tammy Rivera in person earlier this month. Immediately, she made it clear that she is not only a motivated person, but she’s also someone who works well with others, contrary to what Love & Hip Hop may suggest. Rivera opened up about where her motivation as an entrepreneur comes from and why it is that she seeks to build a business empire. She also gave a few restaurant recommendations in case you are seeking some great food within the metro Atlanta area. More on Tammy Rivera can be found at www.t-rivera.com.

A lot of people know you from your acting. A lot of people know you from your reality TV work. Some people know you as a singer. Some people know you as a designer. What would you say it is you do?

Tammy Rivera: I would say I am a “woman entrepreneur.” I can’t classify myself as just one thing, I am a mother, I am all those things you named. I am a woman who would not be put in a box.

Did you start out wanting to be that way? Or wanting to be an entrepreneur first and foremost?

Tammy Rivera: Ever since I was a child I always wanted to be a singer, for sure, and that was just everything for me. I watched Selena, and she was a singer and a designer, so I was like, “Oh now I want to be a designer too because I love fashion.”

Did I think that I would be on reality TV show? No. Did I think I would do acting? No, but I am and it all kind of is in the same field. It kind of corresponds with each other and it all feels good. I like all of it. I am sure there are other things that I would venture into.

Which of those did you start off as first in terms of the designing, the acting, and the music? Was it that you wanted to be singer first?

Tammy Rivera: Yes, that was the first thing. I have been singing since before I could talk. You know when you were younger and they are like, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I was like, “I want to be a singer”… Well, you get older. I grew up, I got pregnant, I had a kid, got married, and kind of put those things to the side. It is like, “Oh, it is just a dream,” and you let life discourage you from going forward.

Once I met my husband and we created a family together, and I started off styling, and from there to designing. I got in Love & Hip Hop, and I used that platform to display my designs. All these do not show my true talent, which is my voice. I think it was easier for me to do acting, it was easier for me to design, it was easier for me to do fashion shows, to walk, to talk and do interviews than it was for me to sing because that is the one thing I love the most. That is the one thing that I am most passionate and emotional about. It just hit me one day, it was just like, “Now is your time, you have to do it,” and that is where I am at.

Love of my life……❤️

A post shared by???????? Tammy Rivera Malphurs (@charliesangelll) on

You mentioned Selena before because she was not just a singer, but also a businesswoman. But was there a specific singer that was your primary influence? Or a first album or a first concert that really pushed you into the arts?

Tammy Rivera: Mariah Carey was like everything for me growing up. There was a lot of other female vocalists and singers that I loved growing up, they were amazing, like Whitney Houston, Brandy, Monica. But Mariah Carey was just, she was that “it person” for me.

Has being in such a mainstream platform like Love & Hip Hop enabled you to meet a lot of the people who inspired you?

Tammy Rivera: Yeah, it is giving me a voice, it is giving me a name… I have been able to use that to my advantage. So it has.

Do you find that there are any misconceptions about you? I ask because you initially got famous because of reality TV. Obviously, I am talking to a very grounded person, but the show aims to amp up parts of your personality.

Tammy Rivera: Yeah, I think people do, I think even when I started my music, I was afraid that you know people… I went and worked with Rico Love. He is a Grammy Award-winning producer. He is doing work with everyone, from Beyonce to Mary J Blige. So the fact that he was even working with me kind of solidifies me as an artist and let people know, “Okay, there must be something to this girl if she is working with this guy.”

Once people heard my voice, they would know that there is talent there. But there is definitely a stigma, it can be a gift and a curse. You know people will only remember what you have done on Love & Hip Hop, or they only remember me for just being this reality TV star but not the work that I have actually put in.

Here is the ig video drop script : Tampa November 4th I'll be live for the Scorpio bash at Whiskey North…S/O Lee Muzik Group / Self Made Tom /Rob J & mp3waxx @Leemuzikgroup @SelfMadeEnt3 @Slickworldent @mp3waxxmusic

A post shared by???????? Tammy Rivera Malphurs (@charliesangelll) on

Aside from Love & Hip Hop, you and Waka have pretty much kept it separate professionally, Has that been on purpose?

Tammy Rivera: What do you mean? As far as business?

It is not like his next single is featuring you on singing the chorus or anything like that. I ask because a lot of people as soon as they get married to somebody else that is also famous, they push that out to the forefront.

Tammy Rivera: No, my husband didn’t even know I could sing up to two years ago. Yeah, I hid it, I kind of kept it on the low. So when I actually started singing, he is like my number one supporter. Now that I am singing he is like, “I am sure we will collaborate in the future.” Right now I want people to get to know me as an artist before I start featuring him… He is already established, everyone knows Waka Flocka, now I’ve got to establish myself as an artist.

Are you self-managed at this point? Or do you have one person overseeing everything?

Tammy Rivera: I have the final say over everything. Everything goes through me but I have a team of people. I have people that handle my swimwear line and my social media. I have a team that helps me with my bookings, a PR team, so I have a team. It is a collaboration of people, you know?

Does it get hard to track all the different ventures and projects that you are working on?

Tammy Rivera: Absolutely… I am actually opening up a beauty shop… Sometimes I come from off the road, I come home, after I run to the shop and meet the contractor and make sure everything is going good with that. I have to go home and wash my daughter, wash the dog and make sure she is not on her phone Snapchatting and make Waka eat. Then I have to communicate, get on the phone and talk to Nelson about swimsuits and purchases and how everything is cool with that. Then he says, “Oh, you’ve got an interview”…

Everybody who knows me, they know I have ADD, which makes it worse, I forget every f**king thing. So they can tell me 10 times and then when they come, I will be like, “Yo, why the f**k you didn’t tell me.” They would be like, “I told you 10 times.” So it can get hard but I am down with it.

With so much going on, professionally and also things that you mentioned from your personal life, where does all that energy come from? Are you into exercising? Do you take supplements?

Tammy Rivera: Nope. It comes from being driven, just motivation… I feel like I am so close to where I am supposed to be. I feel like I have started this empire and I just gotta keep going, and that is what gets me up every day, and that is what makes me go hard. Sometimes I get to that point where I will shut down and I will just sit in my room and be just like, “I am just tired of everything right now”… Then tomorrow comes and I am like, “Alright, so what is next?” I might feel like this today, but I know that I am going to regret this for the rest of my life if I don’t keep pushing, so…

Change cloths and GO????????waka jeans from @daekshinco shirt @dolce&gabbana shoes @pierrehardy My shoes @dsqaured2, Belt: Chanel, Bag: @Dolce&Gabbana

A post shared by???????? Tammy Rivera Malphurs (@charliesangelll) on

That makes a lot of sense. Is there a big goal that you are ultimately working towards? I ask because you just used the word “empire.”

Tammy Rivera: Yes, that is my goal, to build an empire in its own right. My goal is to actually be able to live comfortably. My husband has built an empire and he is doing his own thing, and I just want to add to that and make it like enormous. I don’t care about being famous or even rich, I want to be wealthy — wealthy with family, wealthy as in comfortable, being able to have something to pass down to my child.

I tell people, I don’t come from anything, I don’t come from nothing, I come from the slums. I come from the projects, I come from s**t, so nothing was handed down to me. Nothing was handed down to my mom and nothing was handed down to her mother. So I want to be able to be the one to shower my mom with everything and be able to hand something down to my kids.

Going back a little bit, to have that motivation, what brought to you the desire to get out of that and just keep working hard?

Tammy Rivera: Honestly, it is like everything that happened in my life was… Some people probably don’t believe in God, I believe and I know that everything that has happened — even if I didn’t understand it — it was for a divine purpose. So I feel like everything in my life, me meeting my husband, maybe me walking into a meeting and meeting someone who owns a manufacturing company or meeting, it just happened the way that it was designed to happen.

One thing that I do, I listen and I watch when things are happening. Like if someone comes to me, I don’t take it for granted. My friends tell me all the time, “You talk to anybody.” I will talk to a homeless person on the street, I do, because my grandmother always taught me, you never know when you are entertaining an angel. So to me, I read everybody the same. With that came lessons and I wouldn’t change anything in my past. I think that everything that I have been through and everything that I am going to go through is for a purpose, and I am firm believer in what God has for you is for you, you just have to go and get it.

Aside from the salon that you mentioned, what is coming up for you project-wise? Anything you can talk about?

Tammy Rivera: Yes, definitely. My EP is about to drop. I am going to drop that beginning of next year.

That has “All These Kisses” on it?

Tammy Rivera: Yeah, it has “All These Kisses” and six other songs executive produced by Rico Love. I will be in the supporting cast this year because I am out of contract with Love & Hip Hop, but I am still going to do appearances with my friends here and there. We have Meet The Flockas coming out with me and my husband and my daughter and my sog and our mothers and everybody else in our family… I also have my swimsuit line T-Rivera, and I am working on an apparel line right now.

It sounds like you’re always working, but when do you like to do when not busy with work?

Tammy Rivera: Yeah, and when I have my days off, I do like to sit in the bed and watch Lifetime.

Really? How long have you been a Lifetime fan?

Tammy Rivera: Oh my god, l love Lifetime. I want to do a Lifetime movie, or maybe someone might do a Lifetime movie about my life one day.

For the first time I am going to Atlanta this year around Thanksgiving. What are some of the restaurants that you would recommend in Atlanta?

Tammy Rivera: I love [The] Cheetah, which is a strip club and restaurant. I go to another place called The Juicy Crab. I love seafood.

In closing, Tammy, any last word for the kids?

Tammy Rivera: Yes, don’t let anyone inflict fears on you. Don’t be afraid to be who you are, and don’t let your circumstances in life stop you from moving forward. Today might seem like hell, but tomorrow is better.

[Featured Image by Walik Photos]