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Tanaya’s ready to put herself out there

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It’s never too late to start working towards your dream — that’s the word from budding singer and songwriter Tanaya Christopher.

The 30-year-old will take centre stage at Chewstick’s Neo Griot Lounge on April 20, after spending years behind the scenes supporting other artists.

Ms Christopher started singing at age 12 with a church group, but didn’t have the courage to perform solo until seven years ago.

It was around that time she walked into a Chewstick open mic session and tapped back into her creative side.

After watching others perform and hone their talents, she is now ready to put her own talents before the public.

The upcoming show will include a mix of well known cover songs and original pieces on love and relationships.

Her 15-month-old daughter Anaya kick-started her desire to perform.

“It’s something I love to do. I love to write poetry and sing and enjoy being on stage,” she said.

“Allowing myself to enjoy that and share my original pieces with others makes me happy and in doing that I hope it shows my daughter that it’s okay to pursue your passion. Whatever her talent is, it’s all right to just bask in it.”

Ms Christopher said she was experiencing mixed emotions about her pending show. “I’m very excited, but I am also freaking out because not a lot of people know that I sing and write poetry outside of Chewstick’s open mic environment.

“I don’t really display my talent. So, just that whole exposure, and coming out, is nerve-racking, but in a good way. I feel like it’s time, and I have no idea what is going to happen next.”

She will perform four songs and four poems, along with a live band comprised of Torrey Tacklyn, Scarlett Thomas, Ryan Durrant, and Raynika Brangman.

The opening act will be young poet and conscious rapper Rachel Little, who tries to bring her message of righteous living, and spirituality, to the stage.

Ms Christopher said she tries to stay away from writing about politics, or controversial world issues, however, she has found it therapeutic to document the hardships and high points in life.

One song called ‘You’re Gonna Lose Me’ describes a past relationship where it seemed her partner was doing everything to push her away.

It struck a chord with people at open mic sessions in the past, and she hopes the audience at the upcoming show will have a similar reaction.

The artist said: “I’m surprised because the people that hear it have said ‘I have been there,’ and know exactly what I was saying. They relate really well to it, and it felt good to know that I was able to speak someone else’s feelings.”

She said it’s always an amazing feeling when she finds a song that perfectly matches a situation she’s been through. She is particularly inspired by songs from soul artists like Jill Scott, India Arie and Ledisi.

Ms Christopher said she tries to write every day — be it a poem or just a few lines in her journal — but the past two years have been challenging.

“I have had a bit of a block over the last two years where I haven’t been able to write a full poem. I have written pieces here or there, but it’s all incomplete stuff.

“Being in a difficult situation, it’s hard to write about it. It’s only after you have gone through those raw emotions, and try to step back from it, can you look and see what those lessons were, and what you can do better.

“Now I am coming out of that block and letting all the personal things go,” she said.

She said she hopes her songs and poems take people on the same journey she went through, and they learn something from them as well.

“I want them to see the importance in respecting yourself, and not compromising your values. In one of my poems I write how I was compromising my soul for a love that was lacking.

“We do these things, and accept things from our partners that we really don’t agree with, but for whatever reason you let it happen. I want people to find a greater strength, and want better for themselves.”

Entry to Ms Christopher’s solo show is $10 — with part proceeds going to The Chewstick Foundation. Doors open at 8pm.

The performance will be streamed live on www.chewstick.org.

Tanaya Christopher, singer (Photo by Akil Simmons)
Tanaya Christopher, singer. (Photo by Akil Simmons)

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Published April 09, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated April 08, 2013 at 6:25 pm)

Tanaya’s ready to put herself out there

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