New artist profile: Tia Black

In the spirit of exposing new talent and supporting local artists, Sowetan Live will be profiling a number of new ‘kids on the block’ we believe have a great future in the music industry.

Today’s artist is Cape Town born and based singer Tia Black. This 26 year old is signed to Silverado Entertainment / Universal Music Publishing. Some of her latests works include a  feature on the single “I Got You” by hip hop icon, Slikour (of Skwatta Kamp) as well as hip hop star, Kwesta’s second studio album on the recently released hit “High On Life.”

Tell us about yourself?

Well I hail from Cape Town, a preachers kid who found my “voice” so to speak outside of the gospel genre although traits from that genre often filter into my own writing style. I’m loud and opinionated which makes people think I am arrogant but really I just know what I want from myself and from those I surround myself with. 

How would your friends and family describe you?

Both friends and family would say I am loud, loyal, honest and sometimes stupidly stubborn. They would without a doubt tell you that I am ‘full of nonsense’. Friends would (hopefully) say I’m actually a really nice person once you get to know me, seeing as at times I appear standoffish and aloof.

They will definitely tell you that I cannot hide my feelings and that my facial expressions will answer a question before I attempt to vocalise my thoughts…. This is both good and bad for me lol.

How did you get started making music?

Music started making me. I didn’t want to sing. I was of the opinion that I would just be a writer. As time fluttered on I had to learn to accept my voice in all its boisterous glory and once I did that I was able to navigate my way around my own words, thoughts and melodies enough to string together words bound by a beat.

Yes I started in the church but it took a myriad of occurrences, including being 3rd in a competition I thought I should have won hands down, to usher me into the industry.

Luck, timing and a producer named Ashley Valentine came into my life and the rest is history.

What’s behind your sound?

Stories. I try to weave multiple perspectives of one situation into a song. There is no point in writing on one man’s heartache when millions have felt that same pain, however varying the magnitude pain remains pain. Happiness is happiness, sorrow stays sorrow….In any given language.

How would you best describe your style of music?

I have no set genre and I refuse to be boxed. I started off with Crusader, which was very inspirational and anthem-like. Moved on to La Dolce Vita featuring George Avakian which is a complete 180 as it’s a total party song.

With ‘Homeless Love’ I was trying to mesh a ballade with a more pop beat. All of this is how I was trying to make sure that every spectrum of who I am as a musician and writer get a fair time to shine.

Who writes your songs?

I write all my own music.

Do you think the lyrics hit a nerve with your fans?

I’d like to think so. But one cannot write merely for the fans. You have to put of yourself into what you are offering them because let’s face it, I don’t know their life journeys. I’m just a girl with too many words in her head to tell only one story and somehow that lends itself to unknowingly writing other peoples stories within my own.

In your opinion what does it take to be successful in this industry?

I used to say you need to be hard working and passionate blah blah blah … But I have come to realise that every ones measure of success is different.

For me personally being successful in this industry is getting the same respect for what we do as writers, singers and producers that people such as lawyers, accountants and engineers get. And I need to get that without having intentionally hurt someone else to attain the respect.

Yes it’s good to hear your music on radio, but what good is it that your success comes at the price of someone else’s pain.

Who is your favourite artist of all time?

That’s hard because there are so many brilliant artists. I’m a die-hard Christina Aguilera fan but I am also an Adele enthusiast whilst Michael Jackson will always be king of my musical heart and Cece Winans will always be queen of my musical soul.

What are you working on at the moment?

I have recently just released my single ‘Down To’ featuring Chad da Don, so there’s a music video in the pipeline real soon. Other than that I am constantly writing and seeing which avenues I could venture into as an artist.

Anything you would like people to know about you?

I think the one thing people get wrong about me very often is that I am trying to make myself into the SA Rihanna or a replica of some other artist from across the waters. What I am trying to do is make sure that there is no longer a tangible dis-connect between what we term ‘SA Music’ and ‘International Music’. 


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