Sat | Dec 14, 2019

Tia ready to break out of cocoon - USVI singer spreading wings in reggae

Published:Wednesday | October 16, 2019 | 12:09 AMStephanie Lyew/Gleaner Writer

With an EP heralding the release of her singles, Longing For You, featuring I-Octane, and Sweet Reggae Music, which has scenic visuals to match the positive vibrations, reggae newcomer Tia will not be ignored.

Like a caterpillar that finds comfort in its cocoon until it has fully developed, her career as a recording artiste has been a soul-searching evolution, Tia told The Gleaner. The St Croix-born reggae/dancehall artiste has been busy working with Troyton Music and, having matured vocally, she is ready to spread her wings.

“It is all about transformation; I have transitioned a lot within and in my career. I related that to a butterfly, hence I am naming the upcoming EP Black Cocoon,” Tia said.

“I am going to be bringing something different that all demographics can gravitate to a well-rounded project of reggae, dancehall and lover’s rock, that makes me proud to share it,” she continued.

Relating to a market that is noted for its competitive playing field and hard-to-please audience does not strike fear into this butterfly. She sings tunefully, “ When the reggae music so sweet, you never really wanna leave, when the reggae music so nice, me and you can build a vibe,” with flows that are guaranteed to cause the listener to pay close attention and maybe make her listeners think she is Jamaican.

After all, that is how she got Troyton Music to give her a chance. She shared, “There was a rhythm called True Emotions, which featured greats like Beres Hammond, Tarrus Riley, Jah Cure and Mavado. I created a song to it and, once I researched who the producer was, I submitted the song and it so happened that the world and the universe aligned.”

In no time, Tia was recording on the Billboard producer’s rhythm compositions like Dual Citizen, on which her song Overdue is featured.

But why the interest in reggae rather than a genre that originates in her birthplace? The US Virgin Islands (USVI) are more recognised for its quelbe, a calypso-type sound made with organic instruments. She unashamedly exclaimed, “Reggae and dancehall just sound better!”

She says that some persons in the US Virgin Islands have tried to convince her to do the music of the island, but she quickly tells them, “That’s not my lane.”

It has been approximately five years since Tia officially took on the challenge of becoming a reggae/dancehall artiste who breaks into the Jamaican, Caribbean and international markets. She can now say that it has been happening gradually. She will be performing at the Momentum Reggae Festival in St Ann next month.

“What started off as something fun, out of boredom and transitioned from penning poetry into songwriting has led me to Jamaica, and I am taking it seriously. In five years I see myself touring the world, creating a legacy of good music that allows me to reach out to people back home, throughout the Caribbean, and provide help as well as inspiration,” Tia said of her expectations.