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lime Music Interview: Tanya Lacey

Lime interview - Music

Tanya Lacey

words by

Semper - Azeez -Harris

Reporter: Semper - Azeez -Harris

Try to think of a famous female vocalist from Bristol…….give it a second…….still nothing well in truth it’s no surprise because while Bristol has given us brilliant bands like Massive Attack and brilliant male leads like the existential trip-hop champion Tricky-female vocalist have been more of a rarity- until now.

The rather striking Tanya Lacey is a brilliant singer and highly sought after song writer. Hits for Loick Essien on How We Roll (2011) and the Will i Am smash The Hardest Ever (2011) which featured giants like Mick “how long can he keep going?” Jagger and J “cougar” Lo are just tasters of this ambitious Bristonian.

2012 sees Tanya drop her EP Head Chef and her opening single Greatness sets the benchmark for this lady who exudes a calm confidence and an engagingly warm personality.

Firstly, Greatness your debut single off the EP Head Chef put some meat on the bones!

Everyone is on a journey and it is never easy and so for me my track Greatness is a reminder that whatever you are going through that having a positive frame of mind will always help.

I take it that the track was written from some personal experience.

It was about my journey in music because it has not been a smooth journey for me. Sometimes you get frustrated about your development you want to develop faster which can make you feel despondent- the song is a reminder to me not to give up.

What was you lowest point then?

Lowest point well it was difficult before I got signed because I was trying to get studio time and I was travelling around without any money. Then once you are signed and you leave a label and you get signed, it is weird experience because all of a sudden the family unit in a label is gone and you are with this big label, it is a massive contrast!

The track features the mercurial Kano-did you have him in mind from the word go?

Greatness had to have Kano! I worked with him before a few years ago when I first came to London and I just knew he would be the right fit for the track and because I had the connection from a session we did a few years ago the hook up was fairly easy.

Head Chef will be dropping in September explain the cooking analogy.

Ahh well being in the studio is like being in a kitchen you have the different ingredients like drum patterns, different instruments that you have to bring together. Head Chef is me stating that I am at the head of my project which does not have Too Many Cooks which is incidentally the name of my next single! 

Your song-writing skills are brilliant co-writing Will I Am’s single The Hardest Ever but what is the greatest hook you heard which inspired you into music?

That’s really difficult but it is people like Michael Jackson the hooks on Dirty Diana (1998) and Bad (1986) were amazing, Mary J Blige again her hooks were so brilliant and they always inspired me-I think that is where the soulful element of my music comes from-oh and of course Lauryn Hill-Everything is Everything (1999) one of my favourite hooks of all time!

What are your secrets to successful song writing?

When you try and get too clever with a song then it can fall flat. You can get a bit self-indulged as an artist without realising it and then you have that reality check that if people do not buy into your music then you are not doing your job. 

It sounds like a silly question and it probably is but what makes a good hook?

It has got to be catchy after the first twenty seconds or so that you hear it so the next time that hook comes around you should be able to remember the words and the melody-it needs to just slot into your psyche effortlessly.

Tell me a song that evokes memories of your youth?

The song that my dad and I love is I want To Know What Love Is (1984) by Foreigner  that is my tune it’s such a sentimental tune for me because that is the song that was rinsed in family home videos and as soon as I hear it, it puts me back into that nostalgic place.

The music industry is notoriously difficult how do you deal with the pressures and stay on top of your game?

My manager-well we always have catch-ups and review where we are at and how we can improve things. I have been lucky enough to have great mentors within the industry and outside the industry who can give me different perspectives and keep my mind fresh.

So who are these mentors?

My dad has always been a really strong influence on me. He is not in the industry but he is like a life mentor really but within the industry there was is a guy called Tony Briscoe who was part of the Rewind movement with Craig David. He worked with Beverly Knight so he was one of the first producers who really helped me as an artist to understand the music business, the pressures and the pitfalls that you can come across.  

Some people are destined to be in music others find out that music is their destiny-where do you fit?

I always used to hang about in the music block at school and I was always infatuated by music and writing music to playing the violin, participating in the steel band and so it was given that music would be my destiny.

What have you learnt from some of the many collaborations that you have done?

I have learnt that you should not discard an idea and I learnt that from Will i am. The hook that was written for The Hardest Ever was kind of discarded because the label did not really see much mileage in it. Will i Am then took the hook and did what he did. It taught me that you never know when a melody might fit in at a later date-Labrinth and Bruno Mars have a great work ethic and performing with Stooshe taught me to just have fun!

What does success mean and look like to you?

I feel like I am on the way to being successful and I think that success is when you have made a positive impact on someone’s life-also I think being successful means that you are happy and contented.



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