If you had to describe your music in a sentence, what would you say?
I feel my music is quite bold and relatable. Sonically, it’s a fusion of Afro, hip hop and RnB with a narrative. Right now the music I mostly listen to is American trap and UK Afro swing, where my music is at the moment; that’s not to say I might not experiment with other vibes in the future.
How did you get into music?
I get asked a lot if my parents are musicians: actually they’re not, they’re mostly into business and I’ve become generally interested in that side as well from being around them. In terms of music, it started when I was 11 when I received my first guitar and singing lessons. After a couple of months I was learning covers off YouTube and then my parents encouraged me to try writing my own songs – very quickly it developed into a passion. From that point on I knew that I wanted to pursue music as a career.
Can you pinpoint a live gig or a piece of music that initially inspired you?
I grew up listening to my dad’s eclectic vinyl collection – mainly US soul, RnB, jazz, funk, reggae and hip hop. One of my favourite records was a track he would blast out in the car called I Blame You by the jazz artist Ledisi. I admire her vocal control and flexibility, so silky and soulful. No matter how you were feeling, the song would make you happy. It never fails to get the family dancing around, either.
What do you think is the overriding influence on your songwriting: other art, emotions, current affairs – or a mixture of all of these?
I’ve been writing for more than seven years. At the beginning I wrote mainly about imagined relationships, even though at that time I hadn’t really experienced much. I’ve developed so much more since then, and now all my songs are about my own personal experiences and relationships. I find that whatever happens in my life, whatever mood I am in – especially if I have a negative experience – it inspires me to write. It’s part of the healing process.
If you could support any artist in the future, who would it be?
Stefflon Don and Dave. Both of these artists have inspired my music, and I love how they’ve both achieved amazing commercial success without selling out or compromising their sound.
Why is music important to you?
Outside of health and my family, music is the next most important thing in my life. I still love the feeling of creating a new song, it’s addictive. I just love taking the initial idea of putting a beat down on my Mac and seeing where it goes, bringing it to life. I guess the best bit is still the live shows. I’ve been playing with my band – Lewis, Jamie and my sister Eliza – for the past five years and we’ve got a really good connection going. At the moment I am at university studying music, so there is no plan B!
Tabitha Jade performs at Africa Oyé on 23rd June as one of the festival Oyé Introduces artists. Her new single Caught Up is out now.