bannerTanya Tí-ét – Neo2soul Interview Tanya Tiet CoverIntroduce yourself and tell us where you are from? I’m Tanya Tí-ét and I’m from New York City.

When did you start making music and realize that you wanted to be a singer? 

I knew I wanted to be a singer when I was a child but I was painfully shy so I didn’t actually start singing in front of people until I was in my mid-teens. I used to write poetry in grade school and eventually started writing song lyrics when I was 13 (the most ridiculous songs! Hahaha).

I started to do a little songwriting and recording with some guys in the neighborhood when I was 18 and finally found the courage to sing with a live band for the first time when I was 19. I was terrified but I knew the minute I hit that stage that I would do it again and would probably never stop.

How would you describe the music that you make? I know it’s hard to compare yourself to other artists and styles, but what kind of vibe is your music on?

Most of the music I’ve been recording would fall into the Soul or Neo-Soul category. I describe it as thoughtful music with a solid groove. I am very much into lyrics; lyrics that tell stories or that decorate life’s experiences so when good lyrics are matched with a clean groove, I’m ready to sing from my soul. Artists like Jill Scott, Adele, Prince, Maxwell and Stevie Wonder have certainly inspired some of this sound.

Tanya Tiet Cover 2What do you enjoy the most about the whole process of recording and writing music? Is there something that you absolutely love and is there anything that maybe you don’t like doing as much? 

I really like witnessing the birth of a new song. It’s great to be in a room with a musician, kicking ideas around and building a groove that leads to a melody and having the lyrics fall into place. I think my absolute favorite thing is that feeling I get when I hear that one note or that one word or phrase that makes me say, “OH!” and suddenly I’m overflowing with a song.

I LOVE that feeling. It’s like smacking two rocks together and seeing a spark; you know you’re about to make a fire. When I first started recording, I didn’t like it so much because when I got serious about music, I started out performing with live bands so it was hard for me to just stand in one place in front of a microphone and try to channel the same energy in the studio. I used to get frustrated because I was stuck in this “container” like some kind of lab sample that was being studied and it made me nervous so my studio performances would end up sounding empty.  I’ve become much more comfortable in the studio since then and actually enjoy it these days.

Tanya Tiet Flowers

What have been the highlights of your career so far?

I’ve been fortunate enough to score a few incredible opportunities since the start of this little career I’ve built. One of the most awesome was going out on a three week European tour with Sister Sledge. We were touring along with other Funk & Disco legends; Kool and the Gang, Chic (Nile Rodgers is the man!) and the Earth, Wind and Fire Experience featuring Al McKay.

It was such an amazing experience on so many levels. I learned a lot and enjoyed every minute of it. It inspired me all over again to keep moving and do what I do to the best of my ability.

I’m also crazy excited about my work with Paris Toon and the release of my new CD. It’s great to see songs climbing internet charts and to receive all this wonderful feedback on the songs and the video to my single, “Beautiful”.

Tanya Tiet EPK

How are you getting your project out there? Do you have a distributor involved or maybe some shops/websites stocking & supporting your music?

Well, between my producer (Paris), the label (nSn Records) and me, there’s a lot of activity going on as far as sharing the music with the masses. So far, iTunes, CD Baby and Amazon are supporting and selling my stuff. And DJs around the world, including you, are receiving and playing my music. I’ve already been featured in a few music blogs and local publications. Every day, the team makes sure that this music ends up in the hands of someone new.

What feedback from the media have you had?

I’ve had some wonderful responses. I’ve had a couple of my singles reach #1 spots on internet charts and a few music bloggers have written favorable reviews of the music. I’ve also been enjoying many DJ “shout-outs” since the release of the “Beautiful” single and now the full album. I’m so very grateful for all the support. It’s really exciting. 46821_10151497036336498_794803104_n

Let’s talk about your latest project, its sounding really tight. Who dealt with the production and how long did it take to make?

I’m pretty proud of the project. It was produced by Paris Toon, whom I’ve been working with for a while now. It took several months to put together. It was a cool process, sometimes frustrating but worth every second. There were many days of sitting on the floor with pages of lyrics all around and different musicians coming through, inspiring new moods. Then listening to everything over & over, walking away then listening again to make sure we had just the right songs with just the right vibes. Soon, the album just presented itself to us and now, here we are!

Do you think that radio is still important now in the digital age?

I do think radio is still relevant. It’s still a source that provides us with information (music, news, etc.) and it also serves as a live connection to the rest of the world in a way. I still think it’s cool to turn on the radio every so often when I’m by myself, knowing that I’m not really by myself because there are so many other people listening with me. DJs converse with us through music, sharing new artists and ideas and then it gives the rest of us something to talk about with each other. There’s just something about that connection that you can’t really get from a download.

Never by Paris Toon featuring Tanya Tiet – Fat Bottom Lip Jazz Soul

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Do you think the internet helps or hinders independent artists?

I think the internet, like any other tool, can help and hinder depending on how it’s used. It’s great for communicating with and marketing to the masses. It also levels the playing field a bit so that some of these incredible “underground” musicians, who, in the past, wouldn’t be visible to the heavy weights of the industry, can actually be recognized for their work. Of course, there are things for musicians to be wary of as well, such as piracy and copyright issues as a result of sharing music online. It’s important for anyone in this business to educate themselves in the matters of the internet so they don’t fall victim to some of its negative aspects.

Let’s talk image and branding for a minute. Some artists spend lots of money on artwork and other acts aren’t that interested. How important is image, artwork and branding to you?

I think all of those things should be very important to any artist who wants to reach their highest level of success. As an artist, your brand and your image is everything. The marketing materials you choose are your stamp. Your stamp represents YOU. You want to make sure that your stamp speaks volumes for you so your pictures, logos, and other products need to embody your vibe and should be designed to grab attention. That way, wherever your stamp goes, your audience knows it’s YOU and that means you should respect and protect your brand at all times.

Tanya Tiet FBL1Do you enjoy playing live? Have you done many gigs and what kind of artists have you supported or played alongside?

I’ve played hundreds of live gigs in many different situations and I absolutely love it. There’s something about the exchange of energy between the performers and the audience that you just can’t find everywhere. It’s a bit spiritual. There aren’t enough words to express my love for live shows; the sound of the instruments in the open air (especially if it’s outdoors), the smiles on people’s faces, the collective sense of euphoria . . . it’s beautiful. That joyful feeling is magnified when you get the opportunity to sing with major artists. I’ve had the chance to sing on some big stages with Sister Sledge and also sang behind Jamie Foxx and opened for Living Colour.

What was the last album you bought and apart from Soul/R&B what other genres of music do you listen to?

The last album I bought was ManMade by Zo! (before that was Random Access Memories by Daft Punk). My taste in music is all over the map really. I listen to a lot of stuff that might surprise some folks. Hahaha. Aside from all my favorite Soul and R&B artists, I also love Rock (sometimes hard rock),  Alternative, Jazz, Hip Hop (especially Old School) as well as Deep House music and Singer/Songwriter stuff;  even some country  and bluegrass tunes. On any given day, you might hear me listening to a playlist featuring Deftones, Radiohead, Fiona Apple, Zombie, Led Zeppelin, Cassandra Wilson, The Band Perry, Ella Fitzgerald, KT Tunstall, John Mayer . . . It’s endless. I just love music.

625446_589568127737796_1306866133_nHave you got any videos on You Tube and have any ever got played on TV Stations?

I recently released a video for my single, “Beautiful” which is on YouTube. It hasn’t been featured on television yet but it does make appearances in a few clubs around town – video DJs come in handy. Very cool!

What plans have you got for the future?

I’m prepping for lots of live performances, hopefully as part of a tour in the very near future and, of course, creating and releasing more music.

Would like to send any shout outs to anybody?

I definitely want to shout out to all the folks who have been supporting me and my music, especially to my new DJ friends in the UK, Nigeria and Germany! Also wanna shout some love to all these amazing independent artists out here doing this thing. Keep pushin’ y’all!

Where can we find you on the Internet?

You can find everything I do on my website: http://www.tanyatiet.com and you can also check me out on Facebook, Twitter (@tanyatiet), Soundcloud, iTunes and CDBaby. And right here with DJ Niceness. I’ll be around!

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Tanya Tí-ét

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