Five years ago, multidisciplinary craftsman TiKA began recording a introduction full-length album and quickly became a beloved singer in the Canadian music industry, thanks to a series of critically acclaimed R& B singles that she liberated as followers patiently awaited her recording Anywhere But Here. In that time, TiKA snagged a smudge in a couple of Sephora campaigns, stupefied her thriving fanbase with magnetized live executions, and examined other media like filmmaking. But the recording never came. Today, TiKA has released Anywhere But Here, her long-awaited, half-a-decade-in-the-making, full-length debut book. Unsurprisingly( for those who have followed her music in the last few years ), the record is already garnering praise from critics.

We sat down with TiKA( virtually, of course) for the purposes of an unfiltered discussion about all things ego, music and identity.

On exhausting an book during the course of its pandemic

” It’s super odd. Because of quarantine there’s a different vigor and a different vibe. Most of the[ promotional] things that I’m doing are via Zoom. I had to do streaming performances and in order to do them, I needed to be near my strap, so I came out to Montreal to be here to be with them, so we could perform together. The shows themselves are in a rehearsal or studio opening and they’re live-streamed so that feels strange, extremely. But all in all, I’m grateful that I’m able to release this body of work. It’s been five years in the making and I feel like it’s a go where people need super vulnerable music like this .”

On ego coming in accordance with the rules of artistry

” The music itself was totally done in 2019 or 2020. But I went through many different photographers to finalize the artwork, so many representations and so many different imaginative tacks. I think that speaks volumes about my self-esteem coming in accordance with the rules of the artwork. In hindsight , now that I’m ultimately putting it out, I feel like my ego really toy a larger part than I recognise in terms of how long I took to release it. And secreting prowes should not be about that. You’re really a middle gentleman, you’re a messenger, a conduit. But because of ego, sometimes we want to beautify the endowment, or make it different, make it look prettier, package it differently. That was my fear and anxiety saying’ Do I resonate good enough? Am I good enough? Do I need to change myself physically ?’ I feel like this album is about me unpacking some of my own shit. Montreal changed and engendered me, and gave me permission to slow down. Before, living in Toronto, which is such a fast-paced city, it felt like I was bulldozing through my work and skill rather than being meditative and intentional. And the lack of affordability in Toronto is a huge thing, extremely if you are a marginalized master. So Montreal — in terms of affordability, mental awareness, mindfulness, slowing down — toy an important role in me being able to see myself. Prior to[ “re coming”] I don’t thoughts I had as much self-awareness as I supposed to do now. I eventually realized that this album has very little to do with me. I needed to simply release it to the stratosphere and cause it lives and exist out there. I was sitting with this for five years because it met me feel awkward or it was too susceptible. I wasn’t able to deconstruct those psychological aspects of myself prior to moving[ to Montreal ].”

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On taking care of her mental health during live achievements

” Performance has an element of over-exerting oneself. Even with that spiritual feedback that you get from the public, you still always end up emotionally and physically expended. You’re giving more than you are receiving. I was once talking to Daniel Caesar and he asks what play-act may seem like for me, and I said it feels like I’m about to touch God’s hand. It’s the highest high. If you suffer from chronic illness, all of it leaves your figure when you get onstage and for a moment, you’re free. But it always comes scurrying back afterward. It’s an out-of-body experience and your physical body salaries a charge for it. If you suffer from anxiety, when you get onstage your tension is still in your physical body but your spiritual torso is lead; you’re floating elsewhere, and when you return back into your body you feel everything. So yeah, it’s exhausting.

In that respect, quarantine has been really good for me because it’s made me in a situation where I have to look inwards and I don’t generally do that. Plus, the mode we built such projects, all the records sound intentionally timeless, so whether someone witness it now or 20 years from now, it won’t combust in like, T-minus 24 hours. If I do get to perform live after the pandemic, great. I conclude I will have given myself time to heal[ from the process ].”

On being a Black creator in the music manufacture

” It’s been a very painful, eye-opening experience to learn what people’s promises of me are. If you are a Black artist, there’s a level of perfectionism that’s expected of you. You can’t show up and be Black and simply be. It’s simply in the last few years that kinfolks have started showing up as themselves. For speciman, craftsmen like Summer Walker and Ari Lennox have recently been very vocal about their borders and their needs for privacy. I think it’s so brave of them to be susceptible like that. You never would have seen that in the past because we’ve ever had to show up positioned and perfect. The Beyonce vibe[ was the only option ]. But there’s a detach between perfectionism and humanity. I’m in the process of hear — and unlearning — those things .”

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On Prince as her biggest musical force

” I was just obsessed from the moment I came across a vinyl of his at my grandparents’ when I was 14, particularly with the song’ I Would Die 4 U.’ Of course, this was pre-internet days. When the internet was later available to me, I was like’ I gotta know how these records came to be .’ There was this website for super fans to discover vault records; that’s how I know very well that’ I Would Die 4 U’ was about Prince as a Jehovah’s Witness. He wrote it from the perspective of the holy trinity. It changed my lens of him so profoundly. Like how gorgeous is it to write a# 1 popping thumped that’s certainly from the perspective of God and cherishing someone so profoundly that you would give your life for them? I thought it was so beautiful that he could make something like that and then turn it into a dance-pop song. But I wanted to do a clothe of it as a ballad because I didn’t conclude people were really understanding the depth of the lyrics. The date I got the record back from the engineer was the day Prince died. I was ravaged. I missed him to hear it and colors me or something. You know how shady he was. But that know definitely deepened me in terms of how I write. Now my writing is less structural and a lot more intentional. I truly try to draw from a neighbourhood of integrity and vulnerability .”

On use makeup as a means of self-expression and investigate

” I desire makeup and I think it plays such a large part in being able to play a reputation or be someone else for a day. I’ve always discovered it interesting how masc or how femme I can seem by exploiting — or not using — makeup, so exploring how far I can take glamour is just another element performing for me. I recollect interpreting Prince perform and it was the first time I had ever seen a serviceman dress like a woman; he had long hair and was wearing ends and furs and becoming particularly exploratory in terms of this non-binary modality. I’d never seen that before and it just induced me so profoundly. He pushed the border in terms of gender identity onstage. I obtained, and still find, that so sexy .”

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