Ones to Watch: Tamera
Hailing from North West London, rising star Tamera’s melodious 70’s inspired RnB tunes grab your attention. With a more personal approach to her music, the London songstresses lyrics reflect heartfelt diary entries that hone in on her emotionally-driven sound.
Her latest video for, “Romeo” features the songstress in a hazy, rose-tinted room, with eye-catching visuals. Dressed in a bright, neon pink spacesuit, her music video highlights her futuristic nostalgia. Milk caught up with the musician to talk about her songwriting process, the inspirations behind her work, and her favorite things to do in London.
Are you in London right now?
I am in Kent actually, at my family home. Trying to get some quiet time.
What was it like growing up in Kent?
It was lovely growing up in Kent, very quiet so there wasn’t much to do. I went to church a lot when I was younger. In my teens I found a love for London being able to be so insignificant in such a big city infatuated me.
When did you make the full move to London?
Three years ago in 2016, so not long ago. I fell in love and followed a boy. And it was beautiful whilst it lasted. I used to spend a lot of time in London when I was a teenager just because I adored how different it was to Kent.
What aspects do you enjoy about creating in London and being there now?
Almost Everybody that I have learned from and everybody that has mentored me for the last six years working in music; they’re all from London, and it’s a very inspiring artistic place, you know? There are so many different moving parts to the city, there’s always something to do, always something to be inspired by. That’s why I love spending my time there.
What’s your recording process like?
I’m a little bit of a homebody. I would say the last two years, I have been writing a lot of my music from home. I wrote a lot about my relationship, so that was a very vulnerable time for me. I would get so into my feelings and I didn’t have many friends and family in the city at the time, so I would just escape to my bed and write about what I was going through.
For the new track that you just put out, “Romeo”, what was that collaboration like? Do you always write your songs, or do you collaborate with different people?
I wrote “Romeo” on my own actually! When I am in a period of figuring myself out and figuring my relationship out, I like to start the writing process on my own.
At what point do you let other people into the process?
I love to collab when I’m kind of in high spirits; it’s a lot easier to be open when you’ve already healed through something. When I have more clarity on the things that I want to talk about, that really helps the collaboration process.
When you are writing at home, do you have a notebook? Do you feel randomly inspired or set aside a specific time to write? What are your ideal writing conditions?
I do have my notepad on my phone. Sometimes I’ll get inspired by something somebody says or something I see in a movie or another song that kind of leads me somewhere else. I just try to jot it down or make a little recording of whatever it is.
But I do have a real notebook, I got it at a Fendi party. It’s one of their books and has a roman statue on it and a half a human face. There are no lines and I’m super messy when I’m writing so that’s ideal for me. I have had the same notebook now and it’s a looooot. It’s got pretty much everything in here.
What singles are you working on at the moment?
The next song that I’m going to drop now is called ‘Don’t Phone’. That one is about being in a relationship and not communicating properly. .When you are tired of talking to him and vice versa — don’t phone me ‘till things are better, you know?
Looking forward to hearing that. If you were going to take someone on a day around your version of London, where would we stop and what would we do?
Oh wow, okay. If you’re interested in music, I would probably take you to SARM Music Village – it’s where I recorded a lot of my new music. The energy is so good there, you can chill out, you can vibe, you can make music. There’s always amazing people in and out of the studio. I would maybe start there, and then I would take you to a great park — Hampstead Heath Park. It’s so beautiful, I found it this summer. They have natural swimming pools, which I think is incredible. I would also probably take you to The Mac Factory as well…I am completely obsessed. I feel like it’s an injustice not to bring newcomers to something like that.
With “Romeo,” there’s definitely this classic, nostalgic idea to it, but it also sounds like something that could come out now. How would you describe your sound?
I would describe my sound as ever-changing. A lot of the times, I write and I choose beats based on the way I feel inside. I definitely have influences from the R&B world, the Hip-Hop world. But I have a deep-rooted love to Motown. How would I describe my sound? Hmm.. it’s just expression, I guess?
Did you study music in school or was it something you were always interested in? When did you start seeing it flourish into a plausible career choice?
I have always loved music, my mum always tells me that when I was a toddler, I had a little portable karaoke machine that I would bring everywhere, and drive everyone crazy with. I didn’t get good at singing till I was 16.
I was always interested in anything creative, whilst I was going to school, I took art, drama, performing arts, dance…all of it. As much as I could do in school, I would do that. When I went onto college I took music theory. I actually dropped out of college to go onto a talent show that gave me a lot of opportunities and that’s when I realized, “Hey, do something with this!” and I started to get into the studio a lot more.
What traits did you have going into the music industry that helped you get to where you are now?
I think my exposure to a lot of different kinds of people when I was a teen and when I was in London; it helped me coming into the industry because it’s full of creative people and the spectrum is so big. I think that exposure when I was young and finding myself really helped me to navigate myself in the studio and in the industry. It just gave me a love for people and discovering new things.
Let’s talk about your music video, I was just watching it again this morning, it’s so beautiful. What was that experience like?
Gosh, I realized that I am not as good of an actress as I thought I was. I did drama at school and after that, I didn’t do much acting. I was always like, “I’ll sing or act or dance, I’ve got it down I can do it.” It came to shooting in London, I had to portray this scene of me looking for something, studying something in a bedroom. I just crumbled, and I was giggling for about ten minutes, but my team was very, very dope and helped me through it. We got there in the end but that was interesting for me to figure out…there’s something I need to work on that I thought I had down.
Honestly, you would not be able to tell, it turned out great. How did you work with your team to interpret and visualize your lyrics — I read that you were trying to portray that idea of going to the ends of the earth for someone.
I always wanted to mix the real-life dynamic with fiction and almost stage art, if you know what I mean and this was the perfect opportunity to do that. The director I was working with, India Rose, had this dope idea about us making a huge spaceship, and it kind of just rolled on from there. We found an insane shooting location in Wales that looked like you were on another planet. It was incredible, and I have never really explored Wales that much so that was really nice.
Are there videos coming up? What do you have in store for us?
I have a couple more songs that should bring us up to the end of the year. I am creating visuals for all of them because that is a really important thing to me. I have a crazy love for movies. I think it’s a whole other way of expressing myself. Quentin Tarantino – Inglorious Bastards. I love Avatar. The Notebook…I am a crier, I love a crying opportunity.
So yeah, you can expect some heat at the end of the year with some visuals and then I have some fire for 2020.
Are there any upcoming musicians or artists that you are listening to or watching right now that you are super excited about?
For sure, I am really excited about Ari Lennox, I am obsessed with her voice. I think she’s got that brand of old school and new school and she’s killing it. SZA as well, huge lyrical and melodic inspiration for me since she dropped that last album. There’s actually this British rapper called Aitch, lyrically you could compare him to Eminem, which is a big statement, but he is so good, so dope with it.
Images courtesy of Kaj Jefferies.
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