Lola Schroer interviews Tia Carys.
Tia Carys is a 20-year-old rapper/songwriter from West London, whose singles ‘Reflect in Mirrors’ and ‘Intro’ have racked up over 100k views on YouTube. I spoke to her about her music videos, the versatility of her singles and why she wants to change the music game.
Lola Schroer: Are there certain events during the year that inspire you and your writing?
Tia Carys: I think a lot of the music I make is about substance, everything I write about is about what happens in life. There isn’t a particular event like a Carnival that inspires my lyrics, that doesn’t mean it couldn’t though. Some lyrics could be inspired by a conversation with my shop keeper, it really depends what I want to write about. My music is about getting across who I am and what I’m learning growing up.
LS: You are a story teller, what is your favourite line or bar that you have written?
TC: Oh wow. That is impossible for me to answer. I actually don’t know. What’s your favourite line that I have written?
LS: I think the lyrics in ‘Intro’ are extremely meaningful, especially the “was it no sex before marriage in the commandments” line.
TC: I get that. It might actually be that one you know. The song ‘Intro’ in general. The amount of people I have messaging me about how that song made them think about being more open in their sexuality and life in general, when it comes to something like coming out. I feel like I have helped people feel like they aren’t alone. I will continue to do music like that if this is the outcome, so I don’t pay attention to any negativity.
“My supporters come from different lanes and they appreciate my work for different reasons. So why would I ever limit myself? If I can do it all, then I’m gonna do it all. “
LS: Your music videos have different aesthetics, how do you sit down and decide what you want the aesthetic of the music videos to be like? What is the process behind a shoot?
TC: When I write a song, I have a notepad where I write down different colours and what the mood of each colour represents. In the ‘Figure Me Out’ freestyle, the lighting behind me in the music video was red. This is because in my notepad I had written down that red could represent anger or love. It’s a really vibrant colour. For my song ‘Reflect in Mirrors’ I had colours like blue, purple and white in my mind. So, then I look at different treatments that directors bring to me and go back and forth with them, it’s a joint effort. I knew I definitely wanted mirrors, reflections and shots of me looking at myself.
LS: Do you think that your versatility makes you stand out in the scene?
TC: Definitely. At the end of last year people where telling me I needed to find my style, but I don’t want to have one sound, look or vibe that people listen to me for. I have a song like ‘Intro’ where I talk about something quite deep and personal. That’s very different to a song like ‘Trouble Train’, which is about having fun, and even ‘Pretty On Drill’ is a very different vibe. My supporters come from different lanes and they appreciate my work for different reasons. So why would I ever limit myself? If I can do it all, then I’m gonna do it all.
LS: Do you think your knowledge of dance helps you make music? Do you think knowing how you want to move to a song helps your process?
TC: My musicality was inspired by dance. Every Saturday when I was younger, I would have dance lessons and I would go into my dance lessons an hour earlier. My hip- hop teacher would have given me a song a week before and told me to break it down, find and listen to the different instruments and freestyle to that. I appreciate lots of genres of music from classical to country to hip hop and pop because I learnt all different styles of dance and therefore grew up listening to a variety of music.
LS: Is there a show, a venue, event, that you dream of playing?
TC: Well, I’ve never been to a festival, so there’s not one in particular. I also only really started going to gigs before COVID-19 happened. I would love to perform ‘Intro’ at an awards ceremony or ‘All Me’ that I did with Rebecca Garton x Ling Hussle x Alana Maria at a summer festival somewhere like Ibiza. That would be sick. I can imagine the chorus of ‘Trouble Train’ at a festival, as well. Hopefully after COVID-19 is dealt with gigs and festivals will be a thing again.
LS: What are your biggest inspirations musically?
TC: The thing that inspires me most right now, is that I want to change the music game. However, if we are talking about artists that inspire me, it has to be people like Wretch 32 and Avelino. Their lyricism is something else. I really like JHus, because he’s cheeky with it. Also, Dave and Stormzy are dominating both pop culture and the culture culture. They have a foot in each lane. My dream collab would probably be someone like Chip. He’s very good lyrically, he’s got great punchlines, metaphors, proper substance. An aura. I think Dave as well. We are manifesting this is 2021!
LS: Can we have an insight into what 2021 may bring you?
TC: If we work hard enough and smart enough, maybe another EP and a mixtape. I need to explore and find my sound a bit more. It’s like life, you grow up and you explore life and you learn more, so that’s what I need to do. Music is a reflection of life.
LS: If you wanted me to ask you a question so people could get to know you what would it be?
TC: That’s a good question you know. I think if anything, I would like to be asked, ‘What do I want to change about the music game/industry.’ I feel like females are already at a disadvantage in the industry and not only female artists, but also females behind the scenes in the industry, like managers. So that is something that inspires and drives me.