Tiara Thomas: Shining in the Darkness
Tiara Thomas - Shining in the Darkness
by Adhimu Stewart
A jewel that is just waiting to be discovered by the world at large, this magnetic acoustic soul singer/rhymer/artist extraordinaire continues to build her momentum towards what certain music lovers all over wishes will become a sparkling success, due to this humble star's undeniable gift of giving something special in her sweet new songs. The first time the world got hit with the blinding light of Tiara's delicate but intelligent vocalism was on Wale's 'Mixtape About Nothing' in 2011, on the chronic smoker's anthem, 'The Cloud', as Tiara strums some wicked rhythms for Wale to flow on, before he puff-puff-passes the mic to Tiara, who turns the burning melody into a sound sweeter than nag champa as it rides out. She rocked with The Board Administration (his label) for a few years, before moving on. Modeling for American Eagle Outfitters also brought this multi-talented songstress to the eyes and ears of the masses, broadcast on billboards across the United States, She released an EP called 'Dear Sallie Mae' in 2013, where she expressed her acoustic potential on the guitar, and singing/rhyming abilities on the mic, and continued to expand as an open-minded musician willing to experiment with new sounds and styles. Not everything is as equally stunning sonically, but even in her "failures", the will to experiment and explore makes Tiara a creative force worth certainly respecting. She been a next big thing on the low though, between holding down the 'They Don't Know' Remix by Rico Love featuring Ludacris, T.I. & Emjay, hitting up another Rico Love joint on 'To My Ex', to holding up a bank in the magnificent video to her heist flick/love story 'One Night', Tiara's complex creative touches continue to delight and fulfil those looking for a woman who isn't afraid to kick ass and fuck shit up. Furthermore, I suggest all true music lovers don't sleep on the smouldering, sultry, scandalous 'Nikki', if not continuing to enjoy her popular YouTube channel cover versions of modern chunes, such as Lil Wayne's 'Love Me' or Drake's 'Say Something' (my favorite being her alluring cover of Aaliyah's "Are You That Somebody?").
Aaliyah would approve.
Her story is not the typical, and following her trajectory is not the easiest, since she has been signed to a few labels and business situations thus far that haven't catapulted her to the level of stardom she deserves, but don't count her out. And don't miss out on the ethereal party anthem 'Class on Sunday', if you want to hear something different and dynamic from an artist that has a I believe do believe has a deliberately divine destiny. This is a woman willing to push boundaries while otherwise playing all the right notes to be the next in line of the great multi-talented solo artists on the level of Lauryn Hill to Nina Simone, Queen Latifah to Rihanna, while being someone beyond... She is crafting her debut album 'The Bad Influence' for release in 2015, and I personally anticipate something truly special and unique. I pray Tiara Thomas is allowed to express her multi-dimensional artistry and complex personality on this Interscope Records release. Shine on, sister.
Hip Hop Canada - Hi, what up!
Tiara Thomas - Hi.
Hip Hop Canada - Am I talking to T-Nasty?
Tiara Thomas - T-Nasty in the houuuse! I'm currently drinking Strawberry Starburst Freeze from Taco Bell? I can't believe they made it...
Hip Hop Canada - No, but I got something on my to-do list now!
Tiara Thomas - You really need to make that move. Just letting you know.
Hip Hop Canada - Straight up, your flavor game is on another planet! You put some Grape Kool-Aid in some chocolate chip cookies*, yo? What the fuck?! *(from a clip on her YouTube channel show)
Tiara Thomas - Ha ha ha...
Hip Hop Canada - How'd they turn out?
Tiara Thomas - Well... um... honestly, I didn't eat that.
Hip Hop Canada - Ha ha! Thank you, fam. Keep it real with me. I would never lie to you. It's cool. You at least had the courage to do it. You're an innovator on that level so... respect, still. It smelled wrong or it just didn't look right? What happened?
Tiara Thomas - Honestly, I don't know... the whole purpose of the baking show is that I'm high the whole time. And you know when you're high, sometimes you just do really stupid stuff. It was all improv. So I just started picking up ingredients and throwing them in...
Hip Hop Canada - Straight up, you made a fan out of me instantly, because... I mean the music is beautiful, but there are people in music that are NOT stars, and you are a true star.
Tiara Thomas - Thank you.
Hip Hop Canada - You're clever, funny, improvisational, sharp, beautiful obviously... and you're a true star talent.
Tiara Thomas - I appreciate that.
Hip Hop Canada - Fuck anyone that doesn't recognize that shit. They are missing out.
Tiara Thomas - Exactly.
Hip Hop Canada - First, just to let you know, I live in Toronto. Have you ever been here to perform?
Tiara Thomas - No. Never. But one of my favorite people is from Toronto.
Hip Hop Canada - I had a feeling... so talk to me a bit about that. I'm not even fronting but... I have a few personal Drake stories myself. I'm assuming Drake is the person you are talking about?
Tiara Thomas - Actually, I was going to say my manager, but I do love Drake! But, it's okay. Drake is one of my Top Five artists right now.
Hip Hop Canada - I'd love to see you in Toronto! I think they'd really feel your sound and vibe out here.
Tiara Thomas - I really want to come! I did a cruise before from New York to Halifax and it was a really bad experience, and I was judging Canada based off of that, but I know that's not how it is, so I want to get out and experience some Toronto properly, and meet up with some of my Toronto fans.
Hip Hop Canada - Please come out here. Not only is Toronto one of the most slept-on cities in hip hop history, but it's never been as good as it is now. It would be a good time to bring your sound and vibes out here. Plus I think Drake fans would appreciate your work. Not only just them, but anyone who appreciates good R&B and good hip hop, or good music period. I just found out you are self-taught. You taught yourself how to play guitar and produce?
Tiara Thomas - Yeah. I taught myself when I was like 11 or 12. I used to want to play the drums, but my dad didn't want to deal with the sound of a drum set in the house, so I asked him to buy me a guitar, so I taught myself how to play guitar.
Hip Hop Canada - Are there any other instruments you are picking up these days?
Tiara Thomas - No... but before I started playing guitar, I was kind of messing around and playing the keyboard a bit. But when I got on the guitar, I just dropped the keyboard. That's something I still wished I kept up with. So I'm still thinking about buying one, and teaching myself what I can on that.
Hip Hop Canada - Please do that. One day when the vibe comes, you can start creating...I gotta ask: I'm a weed lover myself, and your love of blunts is beautiful to see. I gotta ask: what was your first weed smoking experience like?
Tiara Thomas - Hmmmm.... good question! Wow.... that was a long time ago. Okay, so... listen: I first for sure smoked weed in high school. I was to say I was like 15 or 16. But I don't really think it did anything to me, I don't think it really affected me that much. But I can admit and go back and think about the time I started smoking weed a lot. And it's so funny how high I used to get. I wasn't used to smoking. It was really like I couldn't even think... I was so overwhelmed. That was tough...
Hip Hop Canada - How much did you used to smoke? Some Snoop Dogg/20 blunts a day shit?
Tiara Thomas - Oh no no no... I'm not on no Snoop Dogg/20 blunts a day shit. It depends. if i'm really busy, I probably won't smoke at all that day. but for sure before I go to bed. and then one mid-day smoke. I want to say like three times a day.
Hip Hop Canada - That's healthy, that's cool.
Tiara Thomas - It's nothing crazy. But if I smoke, I'll be good for a while...
Hip Hop Canada - Word. Cause if you keep smoking all the time, that's when you stop feeling it. Then you need to chill anyways. So, it was really cool to find out how hilarious you are and how multi-talented you are, but I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't ask... what's up with the album? Are you working towards a next project? What would you like to do musically and visually for 2015?
Tiara Thomas - So, I been dropping a bunch of new music with visuals with this project I have right now called 'Up In Smoke', and we are re-releasing it song by song. i've already put out 3 songs from it with visuals with those. And then we are going with another single coming in the spring, then the album is coming, and it's called 'The Bad Influence'. I been working like a year on that. I took some time to be in the studio and really discover who I am as an artist and discover what I want my sound to be. and I think it came together really well. I'm really excited about my album 'Bad Influence'. I got SXSW coming up... yeah. it's gonna be a good year.
Hip Hop Canada - Word up to 'The Bad Influence'! I'm really glad you said that, cause I'd like to talk about the 'How It Is' video with the two worlds and the moon and the earth colliding. That was beautiful.
smoke something, drank something
Tiara Thomas - Thank you.
Hip Hop Canada - These days, it's a real visual world we live in these days, but the way your music and sound, and images you choose and your look all come together, it's really beautiful to see the way you put it together.
Tiara Thomas - NICE! Thank you. and I'd rather people see that side. You're an open minded guy. some people will look at me and be like 'oh, she's ratchet'. and that's just people that don't understand... those are the people we're never trying to make happy!
Hip Hop Canada - Ha. Those are the kind of people that enjoy judgement and negativity. you're just a creative soul to me. I didn't know your material too well before I was assigned this interview, but I checked your online writing and your artistry and was like "this girl is dope on a variety of levels!" Just dropping mad jewels and being yourself, when a lot of people in music these days are not being themselves at all and aren't trying to give beautiful visions and sounds, and are only trying to have the popular look, but not bring much else. Something that may sound ratchet, but is actually a really dope statement, is you said: "all these girls know how to suck dick, but they can't make a pizza from scratch!"
Tiara Thomas - Ha ha ha ha!
Hip Hop Canada - That's a jewel! That's ill. I love that you said that!
Tiara Thomas - Haha, that was just another one of those things that came out of my mouth just in the moment...
Hip Hop Canada - But it's true! Know how to feed yourself, and your lover! You know, sex is good and all, but when we're done fucking... what are we going to eat?!
Tiara Thomas - Ha ha ha!
Hip Hop Canada - I was also going to ask who are some of your influences before I even knew you titled your album 'Bad Influence'. So I'll just ask now.
Tiara Thomas - Musical influences? Well, I get a lot of inspiration from a lot of 90's music. I like a lot of the girls and the music, especially the R&B. Like Lauryn Hill, Aaliyah, TLC, Brandy... all those 90's girl groups. Every girl in the 90's... WAS FIRE. Even if you don't hear them now. That music was so dope. So I get a lot of my vibes from 90's music. I grew up listening to stuff my dad listened to, like Elton John, I like all kinds of music. I like everything. And that's kinda like what my music is like. It's not like totally R&B, not totally hip hop, it's everything.
Hip Hop Canada - Yeah, and I appreciate it because you stay true to your own voice and sound, you're not just trying to be famous like "who was the last most popular person? let me try to steal their style and sound" with like a little hybrid version.
Tiara Thomas - Exactly.
Hip Hop Canada - So, where are you based out of? Los Angeles?
Tiara Thomas - Nah, I'm from Indiana, but I'm in Miami now.
Hip Hop Canada - So, do you have any touring plans to push the album this year, and what's up after SXSW?
Tiara Thomas - Well, the album is done so now is the time to get out on the road with it, we're dropping music. I'm trying to build my fanbase, so there's going to be a lot of shows coming up. I just got a new booking agent, so... it's gonna be a great year.
Hip Hop Canada - So... is there anything that's on your mind or in your heart that you really want to put out in the world right now? Anything you're going through, anything pissing you off on any level... just curious.
Tiara Thomas - Hmmmm..... well, this is what I've been thinking about every day lately. And it's for everyone, no matter what you're trying to do. I saw this quote that I really liked: "Don't put your key to success in someone else's pocket." Basically what that meant to me was "you really have to take your life into your own hands", you know? And a lot of people are just sitting and waiting around. people that are my age, young people, are just sitting and waiting, or they want to do something and they keep making excuses not to do it... and you're going to look up when they are old as fuck and you're not going to be where you want to be in life. You're going to be upset and that's because you didn't take your life into your own hands. That quote meant a lot to me. You just can't wait around for anybody. You have to take your life into your own hands. You have to be very self-sufficient. Especially if you're trying to have your dreams come true... there are certain people who just exist and are cool with it, but then there's some people who are like "I want to have that and this..." Well, you gotta go get that. Straight up. I think about that every single day.
Hip Hop Canada - Thank you so very much for that wisdom. I appreciate it and agree. So, I was wondering, how much of your own personal relationships go into the songs you write? Do you write from personal experience, or from things you hear your friends and family going through, or some combination of both, if not something else?
Tiara Thomas - Well, I write songs about myself as well about other people. I think if I'm in a situation... I don't know. I'm a writer, so... a song is a story. And that's the kind of music that's attractive to me. I don't like basic lyrics like "oh my heart aches" and all that. You gotta say something that everyone thinks and everyone feels in a way that no one has ever said it before, so a lot of the time, I just make up stories based off of things I've seen. Maybe I saw it with a friend, or I heard it from hanging around some people and it's like "damn that's a fucked up story, I'm about to write a song about that..." Like, this girl was braiding my hair and she was like "yo... my best friend slept with my baby daddy" and I was like "WHOA that's a fucked up! I never been through that shit, but... I'll write a song about it!" And I'll put myself in the perspective of the person it's happening to. But sometimes I will write about my own life. It just depends.
Hip Hop Canada - That's beautiful that you can see it from all those different perspectives. Because some people are just... selfish with it.
Tiara Thomas - I been trying to do better at that. Seeing things from other perspectives because you could hurt someone and you have no idea, and you just go on with your life, but they are looking at you like "damn, I fucking hate this person" and you don't even know why, because you didn't take the time to see from somebody else's perspective...
Hip Hop Canada - That's true wisdom.
Tiara Thomas - Yo, I'm not that deep and I usually don't talk so much, but I'm high right now. You caught me at a time where I'm really talkative.
Hip Hop Canada - Well you're talking to someone that actually cares to listen to you, so thank you. And don't stay that about yourself, love. We're all deep and infinite and amazing. It's nice to meet you and talk to you.
Tiara Thomas - It's nice to meet you and talk to you too!
Hip Hop Canada - So, I just have to say for the record: YOU'RE HILARIOUS. My friend and I were cracking up for real watching your video clips like "she could be a comedian, for real" I was scrolling down your facebook, and was like "wow, this woman could be a supermodel, for real". She's absolutely beautiful. So, if you could, and not to say you're not already doing many things, but is there a childhood dream that you had when you were younger that you didn't explore yet? Do you want to be a painter or an astronaut or some shit like that?
Tiara Thomas - What was my dream? Oh, I just thought, hmmm if I wasn't doing music, what would I be doing? And the answer is: babysit puppies.
Hip Hop Canada - Babysit puppies? Yooo, that's dope. You love dogs that much?
Tiara Thomas - I LOVE puppies. And puppies makes everyone smile, so... yeah. Who doesn't like puppies? That would be fucking fun. They don't talk back to you. They don't have attitude, they just love to play and they just want love. That's it.
Hip Hop Canada - Oh, that's the magic word. Amen! You'd be amazing at that. Well, it's never too late.
Tiara Thomas - I think if I ever take a break, that's what I'ma do.
Hip Hop Canada - Go holler at Big Boi and get down with his dogs.
Tiara Thomas - Ha.
Hip Hop Canada - Yo, one last question: when we were talking about smoking, I was wondering if you have ever smoked with any one of your idols yet, like Snoop or Dr. Dre. And if you could smoke with anyone dead or alive, who would you smoke weed with? I know it's kind of a cheesy question, but from one smoker to another... plus, for me, I've always wanted to smoke with Method Man and Redman, so what about you?
Tiara Thomas - Who do I want to smoke with? Who would be fun to smoke with? Gotta be someone funny. Can't be no lame ass, falling asleep.
Hip Hop Canada - Word, on some Dave Chappelle skit shit...
Tiara Thomas - Did you say Dave Chappelle? That would be HILARIOUS. he would be on TEN. That would be funny.
Hip Hop Canada - Yo, you and Dave Chappelle together would be TOO MUCH.
Tiara Thomas - I gotta get better at my improv to do that... but yeah. Him.
Hip Hop Canada - Well, I hope to see you in Toronto one day!
Tiara Thomas - You will!