Wrap Up And Watch Out: Tanya Lacey
The Wrap Up’s Ra’ed Poetical recently went down to the Sony RCA HQ to have a chat with their recent signee and the very talented, Tanya Lacey. In the interview, she opens up about her journey so far, writing hit records for other artists and why she’s set to cause trouble in 2012...
The Wrap Up: Nice to meet you, Tanya. Before we talk music, let’s take it back to Bristol – where you were raised. How was life like growing up there?
Tanya Lacey: Thanks for having me, Ra’ed. Bristol is a really multi-cultural area, so there was always a lot to do, it was a vibrant place to grow up in. Obviously, it’s also famous for the riots, so it had a bit of a bad reputation. At times, it felt like when you said you were from St Pauls, people would prejudge you.
TWU: Is it true that you actually overheard someone say that there’s no opportunities for you if you’re from that part of Bristol?
Tanya Lacey: Yeah, they were like, ‘Nobody ever really makes it from St Pauls’, but I always knew I’d be successful, no matter what! It just fuelled my ambition and desire even more. I was just like, ‘I can’t wait to see your face. When you see me, you’re just gonna eat your words.’
TWU: At what point did you decide that singing was what you wanted to do?
Tanya Lacey: I think the moment for me was when I dropped out of college, I was doing my A-levels and I dropped out halfway through and joined a band. That was the first risk (laughs), and I’ve just been taking bigger and bigger risks since then for music. I’d say it was around the age of 16/17.
TWU: Tell us about your friendship with the famous music producer, Dallas Austin…
Tanya Lacey: I actually worked with Dallas before I went to New York. When I first signed my deal, I spent a lot of time in LA working with people like Greg Wells and lots of different, real big, crazy talented producers and writers. After my LA trip, I went to Atlanta and me and my manager always thought it would be a great to work with Dallas Austin, because a lot of my idols – like TLC, Madonna, Gwen Stefani, Monica, Brandy and Pink – have worked with him. To have the opportunity to work with him was amazing, we got on so well.
TWU: How did your deal with Sony RCA come about?
Tanya Lacey: My manager put me in for so many sessions and I was getting better as time moved on. We had a demo CD that we thought was good enough to start playing, so we booked different meetings. I came to Sony and Pia Ashcroft, who is my A&R now, was assisting the MD, Craig Logan. Craig used to manage Pink and the kind of music I was creating was rock/pop, believe it or not, so he really liked those songs that were representing that side of my music.
TWU: 'Letter To My Ex' and 'Born To Fly' are two songs which are bubbling in the scene at the moment. Why do you think those two songs are doing so well for you right now?
Tanya Lacey: The two songs are so different to each other. We wanted to put out two records that were a good introduction to who I was and where I came from, musically. ‘Born To Fly’ is really dubby and has a hip-hop feel to it. But I also love R&B, soul and 90s, so ‘Letters to my Ex’ is like a throwback of that. But like you said, people are more and more open and engaged with urban music so we just thought those two records would be good to get people talking about me.
TWU: How would you describe your voice/sound?
Tanya Lacey: Soulful and emotional. I’ve got this little squeak, I dunno where it came from! I guess it’s individual.
TWU: People have compared you to Lauryn Hill. How do you take compliments like that?
Tanya Lacey: That’s amazing, she is an icon. I would never look at myself on the same platform as Lauryn Hill. I have a lot more work to do, but I definitely think that is a massive compliment.
TWU: A lot of people don’t know this, but you actually wrote Loick Essien’s hit single, ‘How We Roll’ – which is amazing, by the way. Why didn’t you keep it for yourself?
Tanya Lacey: When I wrote that, it was something we were thinking about being for myself but the route I’ve taken is a bit different to that kind of style. That’s more pop/R&B, not to say that isn’t what my sound is. We just felt it was perfect for Loick and what he was looking for at the time. He really put his stamp on it and made it his own.
TWU: UK urban music has become so popular recently, so does that give you hope as you gear up to release your album?
Tanya Lacey: Yeah, most definitely. I just did the Bruno Mars tour and that could have been a really tough gig. When you’re a support act that no one really knows about, and you’re singing eight of your new songs that nobody really knows anything about except one, it can be a tough battle to keep them going because, at the end of the day, they want to see the main artist. But the response that we got in all of the cities we had played at was so amazing. I think people are a lot more receptive to the urban sound, phonically. It’s not to say it’s gonna be easier, but I just think people are gonna embrace it a lot more than they would have done a few years ago.
TWU: And lastly, what can we expect from Tanya Lacey in 2012?
Tanya Lacey: Trouble! A lot of trouble, so stay tuned!
Stay up to date with Tanya Lacey – www.twitter.com/TanyaLacey
Words: Ra’ed Poetical (@MrPoetical)
Photography: P Media (@_PMedia_)
Online editing: Joseph 'JP' Patterson (@Jpizzledizzle)