UK singer/songwriter Tanika has been creating quite a buzz on the scene since 2012 opening up for rapper Joe Budden and working with artists like Angel Haze, Wretch 32, Tinie Tempah and Zebra Katz, creating a reputation as a quality live performer, and crafting her own catchy and diverse songs with eclectic vibes like the DVS-featuring single ‘Casualty’. Her distinctive sense of style, personality and edgy talent are already making her stand out in such a crowded music industry. This versatile vocalist talks to MOBO’s Kamran Assadi about her future plans, personal style and songwriting.
After the success of your viral single Casualty, how has the positive response to your sound affected you?
It hasn’t affected me. If anything, it’s made me more aware and trustworthy of myself and to just trust in what I do. It’s good that people respond to my music in a positive manner.
Tanika Featuring DVS ‘Casualty’
In your opinion, what makes you and your music different and unique to everything else out there?
I know that I’m me and what I write and sing about comes from a soulful place, it’s just my feelings out loud. I’m a human being, I go through things and I have feelings that I express in my writing and how I come across. I guess the difference is that there’s not many edgy females out there. Just growing up, I haven’t had a female that I’ve looked at apart from the Mary J. Bliges and Lauryn Hills – these girls are a bit edgy and down to earth and that’s where I kinda come in. There aren’t many females with that right now – not that I see anyway.
How important is style to your music and the way you represent yourself as an artist?
Style is important. Styling is the expression of art – it’s how you feel. When I’m doing visuals or writing songs, I think the style that I’m thinking about reflects the music and they go hand in hand. Clothes and fashion is a freedom of expression. You can always tell if someone’s wearing an outfit that expresses how they feel – that’s how it is with me. Music and fashion go hand in hand with me.
As a songwriter, how important do you think it is to be strong in your own writing skillset?
I think it’s important – even if you can’t write – to develop that as a craft or just enhance yourself as a writer. I feel that when you write your own songs, it’s coming from the core of you and you can hear the difference. You can just feel it.
What can we expect from your debut album?
You can expect loads. The album has everything in it. Every emotion, sweat and tear. Every piece of me is in it because I’ve been writing it for the past couple of years. This album is very cool, edgy, soulful and definitely fun.
Which artists do you look up to?
Lauryn Hill. She’s just an amazing artist and vocalist. She just said it like it is and expressed what she was feeling. She’s a powerful woman. Probably even more powerful than she even knows.
What artists are you into currently?
At the moment, I love Bruno Mars. His album is amazing. I also like Taylor Swift’s ‘Trouble’. Emeli Sande has always been catching my eye and she always will. Her music is just incredible. And James Blake.
Any other creative projects lined up?
I’ve got a record coming out with G Frsh, Tinie [Tempah] and Wretch 32 sometime next month. I’ve written a few songs with Emeli [Sande]. It’s just the singles and completing this album and getting it ready to go on the road next year.
What advice would you give to budding artists?
Tunnel vision. You know, just keep seeing that light at the end of the tunnel. And hard, hard work. Begin with the end in mind. I still live by that. And believing in yourself.
Tanika’s single feat. Sneakbo “Hooker Heels” is out later this month. You can keep up to date with Tanika via Facebook and Twitter.