TiKA Goes Dark to Bring the Light

Artist TiKA’s courage to go solo and speak her truth makes for beautiful music.

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“Music is all inwards. All you have is you. Everything that you cultivate is from your own creative mind and frequency.”

TiKA is one of those people whose presence alters the energy in a room. Her voice is simultaneously soothing and commanding; her big laugh grips you and her presence is warm and genuine. Having moved around a fair bit in her life—living in Oakville, Jamaica, Toronto and even a stint in New York before settling in Montreal—might explain TiKA’s remarkable ability to put others at ease.

As a child, TiKA was a self-described bookworm. Her grandparents, who were fundamental in her up-bringing, shared her passion for music from an early age. She has fond memories of pouring over liner notes from her grandmother’s extensive album collection. These moments are the foundation of who TiKA would later become. Now a multi-hyphenate artist, DJ, producer and activist, she doesn’t hesitate when asked about her first love: “song writing.” And yet, it took a deep loss for TiKA to fully reconnect with herself.

“That was the great depression,” she says. “It was like two years. I am such a high functioning workaholic that God or some divine spirit was like, I’m going to throw you off your butt to the point where you have to face yourself!”

The catalyst for TiKA going solo was the passing of her grandparents. Up to that point, TiKA had been doing community work, putting together shows for marginalized youth. Prominent TO artists such Daniel Caesar and Jessie Reyez performed for the first time on her stage, earning TiKA the nickname “Fairy Godmother”.

“It was a pivotal moment. I took a lot of space and solitude time. I was in my own feels,” TiKA says. “And I was like, yes this is definitely what I want. I’d spent so much time facilitating other people’s dreams; I deserve to see out my own.”

Her album, Anywhere But Here, is slated for a May 2020 drop. TiKA, who favors classic, timeless music, spent about 5 years creating it.

“I worked on it as I was just coming into myself, my job, my queerness,” she explains. “When you go inward, you have to face stuff that you wouldn’t naturally. It’s a gift and a curse. I feel it’s my job is to excavate the deepest parts of myself in an effort to write better so other people feel something.”

For all TiKA’s struggles, her perspective is remarkably bright, and underscored by an unwavering hope in people that she strives to convey through her music.

“I want people to walk away with a sense of faith. To have hope again in each other, humanity and themselves. I believe deeply in people and think we are on the right track. These days, people are more willing to understand; there is more of a foundational idea of compassion. I want people to grasp from my music that we are all connected. I want to evoke the feeling that we can trust each other to love again.”


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