Entertainment

Entertainer Spotlight with Tifa

Saturday, 16 July 2016 1714 views 0 comments

In the year 2008, she gave us hit singles, “Crawny Gal” and “Bottom of the Barrel” shortly after. It was then that Jamaica and much of the music world became acquainted with the name Tifa. Her career no doubt took off since then and there’s no slowing down the Danchall princess, despite a few hurdles that have come her way. Not even her struggle with Blount’s Disease, a bone condition that caused disproportionate growth in her feet as a young child, has hindered her: Tifa’s influence and presence in and out of the Danchall world has remained indisputable to this day.

 

Since her last mixtape Stay Away, and with multiple hit singles such as “Spell It Out,” as well as popular features including Dexta Daps’ “Jealous Ova”, we wanted to catch up with the artiste to learn more about the person behind the name “Tifa.”

 

 

 

NM: As a young girl, how big of a role would you say did music play in your life growing up? How about within your family?

 

Tifa: One thing that was/ is always constant in my life & family life since I was a child is music. I was always enrolled in the performing arts; my mom noticed my talent from an early age & decided to let me go for it! I was a part of the Ashe Caribbean Performing Arts Academy & Ensemble for 6 years as an adolescent where I became formally trained in singing, dancing and acting and I frequently toured Jamaica, the Caribbean and the United States with the group. Music is my escape, my recreation, my everything. I grew up in family that owned numerous record stores that had bars and clubs & were great collectors of music. Growing up my friends always wanted to borrow my CDs or get the latest from me, or cool retro stuff because I always had it. My step-father at the time was also a known record producer and talent manager: he brought to the world Lady Saw and did noted productions with greats like Dennis Brown and Marcia Griffiths just to name a few. I couldn’t escape music while living and being around that whole environment.

 

NM: So at what point did you decide you wanted to pursue a career in music?

 

Tifa: I realized I really wanted to take things seriously music wise in my first semester at UWI. I had taken somewhat of a break while in upper 6 at Wolmer’s to just be a regular kid and hang out with friends, play hockey and just ease off the heavy performing for a while. Being a new girl on campus, a new love blossomed and the person I was dating was very supportive of my artistic side and pushed me to pursue my music! He and his brother cut my first real demo in a make shift studio at their house & from that day forward I never looked back.

 

NM: How did you overcome obstacles or negativity that came your way due to having Blount’s Disease?

 

Tifa: It was not until I left my house as I child that I knew something was “wrong” with me. In my household I was never made to feel different & I was always pushed to excel at the things I wanted to do. Every day there is still a battle. Even now as known as I am people still look down at me or hurl negativity my way. However, I’ve always had a strong support system! My mom, family and friends always motivated me and pushed me to do more and better. Most times though I’m so consumed with work or my own personal life I don’t even think about it!

 

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NM: Your track, “Big Bumper” from the Moskato Riddim album has landed a top spot on Saint Lucia’s most respected music charts. Did this come as a surprise?

 

Tifa: Well not really surprised, just happy at the success of the song! St. Lucia is another wonderful gift added to the Big Bumper train!  It also hit mainstream radio in the UK by being added to BBC Radio #1s playlist and has entered into the mix shows in most popular stations in the US and is doing well around the world! I’m just grateful to still be doing music people love! 2016 has been good to me so far. Fader Magazine in February named me one of the 25 artistes to watch in the world for 2016: definitely one of my proud moments of my career, especially since I was the only Jamaican on the list.

 

NM: How does one approach creating a Dancehall hit? What is the thinking and writing process like?

 

Tifa: For me, I write from the perspective of being a fan or patron in a party. I play the music really loud & think to myself what would I wine or walk out, or buss a blank to on this rhythm? Usually if it turns out into a one-woman party it’s a hit!

 

NM: In 2008, you were able to tour Europe with your label Ward 21, becoming the first female Reggae/Dancehall artiste to perform in the Czech Republic. Did you take anything away from this experience?

 

Tifa: I was just really proud and grateful for the experience. I learnt a lot about performing and how much our Jamaican music transcends and is appreciated on that European tour. It was awesome to visit the places I only read about as a child or watched in movies like Poland, Bratislava and the Czech Republic just to name a few, and to perform on the stage with Reggae and Dancehall international greats like Marcia Griffiths, Aswad, Barrington Levy, Ward 21 of course, & a whole host of other greats. It is definitely an experience that I’ll never forget as long as I live.

 

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NM: What do you hope fans take away from your music?

 

Tifa: Happiness is what I want my fans to take away from my music. As long as there is a smile on their face and their bodies are moving and I gave them something to think about while bringing some sort of joy to their world I’m good!

 

NM: What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken artistically; one that went over surprisingly well and one that wasn’t too successful?

 

Tifa: The biggest risk I’ve ever taken was my mixtape. I wasn’t sure how the wider mass would receive four years of my bottled up inner feelings, (situations, expletives & all) but everybody loved it! The risk that didn’t work out so well was signing with the label couple years back. I’m grateful for the experience and the positives that came out of it but it caused somewhat of a disconnect with me and my fans locally. But now I’m back!

 

NM: We live in a time where it seems as though a musician’s image and appearance are more important than their actual music; are you doing something to go against that idea?

 

Tifa: I’m just doing me! I’m a firm believer in substance over hype! Because when the hype fades and there is nothing to back it up a lot of these artists are left with nothing and are soon forgotten. We’ve seen many come and go but true talent never dies! I’ve never been one for the “ray ray” or over-excitement! I just let my work speak for itself. Of course sometimes other’s controversy or BS overshadows the good work, but the moral of the story is I’m still here! Good artistes are still around working and doing their thing in the midst of all that. That says something.

 

NM: Looking back on when you first got into the music business, are you at a place where you believed you’d be today? Is there anything you wish you had done differently for your career as an artiste?

 

Tifa: I’m somewhat of a perfectionist and my hardest critic, so in my mind there is always much farther to go! I made up my mind a long time ago that if I was going to do this I was going to take it all the way. With regards to if there was anything I’d have done differently; I can’t change the past, so I make note of the mistakes, learn from them and move on.

 

NM: How about moving forward; what are some upcoming projects we can be on the lookout for?

 

Tifa: More chart topping singles, videos, & major announcements. You might even get another mixtape or EP.

 

NM: Do you have anything you’d like to accomplish before the end of 2016?

 

Tifa: I don’t want to jinx it, so for now I’ll just say “Pure Awesomeness.”

 

NM: If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your sixteen year old self?

 

Tifa: If I could go back to my sixteen-year-old self I’d say, “start now!” Because it’s a long & hard process!

 

You can visit the Dancehall artiste on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for information on bookings and to stay updated with all things Tifa.

 

 

tificles

Photo by Lance Brown, Styling by Dexter 3DPottinger

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Shana-Kay Hart

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