Wrap Up And Watch Out: Tanika
As I sit down to interview singer Tanika, her effervescent personality, strong fashion sense and humility strike me - and my impression isn’t any different after our interview. It’s clear that the 23-year old South London rising star is ready to stand among the musical giants that go before her, creating a new lane to compliment her distinctive style and sound. The Wrap Up investigates…
The Wrap Up: You describe yourself as ‘cool, edgy and soulful’ - is your personality any different from your artist persona?
Tanika: No it's not really two different things; I genuinely am edgy and I’m an old soul sometimes… [my music is] about having something to say, and needing people to feel it. That's where the soulful element comes from, and also from listening to soulful musicians such as Bob Marley. It wasn’t always about what he was saying, but you just feel the soul and you can’t replace that feeling.
TWU: Who do you get your style inspiration from?
Tanika: I got my inspiration from my big sisters; they were always trying to look cute even if they couldn't afford the most expensive clothes. I can’t pinpoint anyone who I look at and think ‘Yep, let me get that outfit’, but I like fashion and I feel it’s similar to music because it’s creative, an expression of how you’re feeling.
TWU: What can’t you leave the house without?
Tanika: Lipgloss! It is instant beef if I don’t have my lipgloss. If I don’t have my lipgloss I’m not even trying to speak to anyone - I’m parking up, getting out of the car at Boots and getting lipgloss.
TWU: Do you think the music industry is a fair one for women?
Tanika: You might have to look a certain way or you don’t, but people like Adele and Emeli Sande have proved to us that it’s not about having to look like a Rihanna to get your point across.
TWU: Speaking of Adele, you covered her song ‘Hometown Glory’. Is she an inspiration to you?
Tanika: I don’t think we’re completely different acts to be honest with you. We are two females, we write, we have heartbreaks, we’re happy. She is from south London too, so for someone to come from where I’m coming from and achieve so much it’s definitely inspirational.
TWU: How do you keep going when things aren’t going so well; what’s your motivation?
Tanika: My child. If I’m in a dark space or going through a certain situation, I don’t really have a choice but to keep going because I have a boy that I need to build into a man. So he’s definitely my motivation… even in the morning when I don’t feel like getting up, I have to.
TWU: Which UK artist would you most like to work with?
Tanika: I really want to make a summer smash with Wiley… ‘I wanna see an ice cream van on the road’ has to be one of the best lyrics of all time! If I’m in the mood and I hear that song I’m automatically skanking - he is incredible. He doesn’t need to come out with a song this year or next year, but anytime he comes out with something, you’re just skanking. He’s proved that if you’re good at something then people are going to recognise you for that, regardless of whether you get a number one or not.
TWU: The Grammys took place recently. If you went to the Grammys, what would you wear?
Tanika: My stylist is amazing, I don’t know how they get all these high end designers and I’m nobody! I think Versace and Cavalli have red carpet dresses for days so it would be out of those two designers.
TWU: Is there anything that you would never wear?
Tanika: I wouldn’t turn up to an award ceremony in meat [laughs] all props to Gaga because I love her and she’s a massive inspiration, but I wouldn’t turn up in meat. But anything else I’m pretty comfortable in really.
Tanika’s track ‘Bad For You' will be released in April. You can also see Tanika live next month, as she will be opening for Joe Budden on the 13 March.
Words: Phoebe Parke (@PhoebeRosetta)