Singer/songwriter Tamar survived a wild ride on the music industry roller coaster last year. Reintroduced to early mentor Prince in 2005 following her graduation from the University of Southern Califo

Singer/songwriter Tamar survived a wild ride on the music industry roller coaster last year. Reintroduced to early mentor Prince in 2005 following her graduation from the University of Southern California, the music major signed on as a vocalist in his band.

After Prince secured a one-album deal with Universal Republic in late 2005, Tamar began working double time contributing backing vocals on Prince's 2006 album "3121" and recording her own Universal Republic debut, which was never released.

The ride didn't end there, however. As 2006 wound down, Tamar learned her duet with Prince, "Beautiful, Love and Blessed," had earned a Grammy nod for best R&B performance by a duo or group with vocals. The song, which Tamar co-wrote with Prince, lost its bid to "Family Affair" featuring John Legend and Joss Stone with Van Hunt.

"It's an interesting thing to be nominated and yet be an unsigned artist looking for a home," Tamar tells Billboard. As to why the album wasn't released or whether Prince's mercurial nature might have played a role in the situation, Tamar declined to comment. "I don't have anything negative to say and I don't feel defeated," she declares. "I'm pushing forward."

Of late, the artist has been flying back and forth between New York and former home base Los Angeles to record another album. Collaborating producers include Kwame and Somethin' for the People members Ro (aka Rochad Holiday) and Sauce (Curtis Wilson).

Tamar owns the songs from her aborted Universal Republic set. Some of these are being pitched for TV projects and may also appear on her new album. This time around she's gunning for a more R&B-driven approach. "The last album was all live and I didn't get the DJ Scratch feel on some of the songs I wanted to," Tamar explains. "This album is more R&B/hip-hop/funky with a Tina Turner vibe. But it's still very melodic."

Whether Prince will appear on the album remains a question mark. "He will probably be on here somewhere. It's a good mystery that I'm keeping," Tamar says.

Although the former backup singer and Prince still talk, Tamar says they saw each other for the first time in six months at the Grammys. While the connection is still there, Tamar knows it's her time now. "It does hurt that I don't get to perform as much with him," she says. "But if I stay under his wing, I can't fly. And I'm ready to fly."