For a moment, TiKA was listening to the wrong voice. Another person’s idea had taken up space in her head and for a while, that other person had judged her. They said that music – that singing – was not for her, not in her calling.
TiKA listened and thought to herself: “I’ll help others get their voices heard”. But in supporting other creators, hosting cultural events for other artists to shine, she didn’t realize her own light was dimming. Until, during one of her very own events at the renowned NY venue Milk River, while an audience stood in anticipation for R&B singer Lil’ Mo to perform and the band sat impatiently waiting for, TiKA got a call. A musician on stage turned to her to solve the problem and give the people what they came for…music.
When the last notes of TiKA’s version of Prince’s “I Will Die for You” rang out through the room, a stranger pulled her off stage to validate that she needed to change course and focus on her own artistic expression. That old voice in her head was silenced.
In no time TiKA released two EPs: “Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid” and late in 2016, “Carry On”. Both oeuvres garnered attention from platforms like Noisey, The Fader, CBC Music, and others.
Afropunk, the international culture juggernaut of all things Afro-descendent, celebrated the video release for “OHMYGOD”, the first single from the “Carry On” EP featuring Juno-nominated rapper, Clairmont The Second and produced by another celebrated Toronto-based artist, Harrison. Afropunk called the work “spiritual goodness”, a description that perfectly aligned with TiKA’s intention: to share her own healing process through depression with others who may need it.
From SXSW (Austin, TX) to NXNE (Toronto), A3C (Atlanta) to Redbull Music Festival (Montreal), Luminato in Toronto to SonReal in Vancouver, and Pride in Toronto and Montreal, in this short time of doing live performances TiKA is headlining music festivals.
And although TiKA can say she opened for R&B greats like John Legend and Nao, she leads with love in all of her artistic endeavours. She spearheaded several events in Toronto to amplify Black creative communities. With Known Unknown, artists like Haviah Mighty, Jesse Reyez, Daniel Caesar, and Clairmont The Second were the calibre of artists who were introduced to audiences. And in continuing with that legacy, soon after making Montreal home base, TiKA partnered with Pop Montreal in 2018 to run a festival within the international festival: ‘Iverna Island: The Fest for Black Womxn & Women of Colour”.
Growth as an artist is an important value for TiKA. Working continuously on songwriting, she’s completed the intensive film scoring program at the Canadian Film Center (May 2020). And she’s moving on to video directing and co-directing credits for the releases of her latest project, “Anywhere but Here”.
TiKA continues to put women and especially Black and Queer women at the center of her creative offerings. And how far does that go? Doing makeup for her homegirl, singer-songwriter and DJ, Elle Barbara, a Black trans artist in Montreal. As well as, modelling in the 2018 and 2019 Sephora campaigns so that, as she put it, “little chubby black girls could see themselves”.
TiKA’s motivation is to communicate with our universal language – music. She draws from the legacy of Black Queer women of the 1990s: Meshell Ndegeocello, Tracy Chapman, Dionne Farris, and Diana King. In TiKA’s eyes, each of these artists has a “rawness and grace in what they were saying through music”. Through her album ‘Anywhere But Here’ TiKA illustrates similar qualities as the artists she admires.
Embracing the genre rightfully coined as “futuristic nostalgia”, TiKA’s compositions offer “ethereal sounds that wrap around you, reminding you of other memories”. The vibe remains current, and like the artist herself, evolving. With production work from a friend and fellow artist Casey MQ, and a duet with R&B artist Desiire, the album’s themes address deeply personal relationships, TiKA’s Jamaican roots, and sonic representations of conversations with the self.