What is the context meaning of your newest single “Live in a dream” ?
I wrote “Live in a Dream” in January of 2018. Just when I had decided to take some time off from releasing music and focus on writing and exploring some new sounds. I was in a very reflective space at the time and thinking a lot about how much I was obsessing about other’s successes compared to mine. To the point where I really was feeling like I was working so hard and no matter what good would come my way it wasn’t good enough.
What I love about music too is that the meaning of a song changes based on current circumstances. With what we are going through right now with the Black Lives Matter movement the lyrics are all of a sudden hitting me quite different.
How do you feel your recent records “Live in a Dream” and “Centerfold” have evolved from your earlier releases?
I mean most obviously they are way more pop sounding than my previous work. Previously I was very much about organic sounds all the way, but I knew with this new project I wanted to explore more of the pop world and how I could fit what I do into it. Outside of that, I also made a conscious decision that it wasn’t enough for me to just be the storyteller of others experiences but that I wanted to try and be as honest about my own personal experiences as possible.
How would you describe your sound?
I’d describe my sound as “Soulful Pop”. I grew up on so many different genres and really try to infuse them in what I do as much as I can. People resonate with authenticity, and I think this is part of it. I spent a lot of time trying to make music I thought people would like or I was told would be the key. I truly feel once I stopped trying to be “cool” and just started to write and make music that felt good to me, people started to connect more with me and my music.
You’ve been described as not just a musician but more of a creator does this mean your style of making music is different to the modern methods?
There are many ways to be an artist, and for me it’s being very involved in every aspect. From the writing to production, to designing all the artwork and working very closely on art directing the photoshoots and video shoots – I have a hand in it all. It can be tiring at times, but I’d rather be tired from making sure the vision stays true than be passive and end up disappointed with the results.
What would you say is the biggest challenge for any LGBTQA+ Artist in the music industry?
I think a huge challenge is that a lot of the people at the top have an old school mentality of thinking our stories are not going to be taken seriously in our voices. But we are proving them wrong. This is one of the major benefits of the streaming era, independent artists can reach their audiences without being held back. It’s allowing us to show that our stories matter and people need to and want to hear it from us directly.
Can you name the lyrics that you're most proud of which you’ve written?
Oh boy… I’m gonna say it’s one from a song that isn’t even out yet, but the sentiment sticks with me just the same as it did when I first wrote it: “I wish I could see myself the way you see me / in your eyes I’m so damn perfect / if only I believed”. I really struggle with seeing my self-worth and beauty (as I’m sure a lot of people do) and this lyric is always a reminder to me of that and trying to get out of my head.
What can you expect in the local music scene of Toronto?
A very eclectic bunch of musicians. Because Toronto is so multicultural a lot of the music that comes out of here fuses many different genres and soundscapes. Which I think makes the scene here quite exciting
What have you been doing in Lockdown to keep yourself busy, have you been writing new material?
The lockdown more than anything has just opened me up to have more time to do creative things. So with that I have done a fair bit of writing, but also allowing myself to be okay with not feeling guilty about taking some time off. So I have been enjoying some bingeworthy TV, spending time with my puppy, and now have been very active as well on educating people on the Black Lives Matter movement.
Outside of music what takes your interest?
I love photography and animated films. I used to be very heavy into doing portraits of other artists but haven’t had a ton of time to do so in the last little bit. But it’s still a passion of mine.
So what’s next for Tafari Anthony?
There will definitely be at least one more single before the year is up… and we’ll see if these result in an EP or Album by the end of the year. I’m constantly working on new music so if it feels right, and there’s a body of work there, then there’ll definitely be some kind of collection.