TIARA THOMAS TALKS DEBUT ALBUM “THE BAD INFLUENCE,” HER LOVE FOR “SET IT OFF” AND HER DREAM OF WRITING A DISNEY SONG
– Kirsten Lewis
Music lovers have long awaited the emergence of the industry’s next female triple threat, a striking combination of Erykah Badu’s soulfulness, Lauryn Hill’s lyrical prowess and India Arie’s instrumental brilliance. To most it may seem impossible to find such an ideal artist. But Tiara Thomas is defying those odds.
Her breakout chorus on Wale’s hit single “Bad” may have been a bit risqué. Yet it was just a taste of Tiara Thomas’ bad influence. Following the release of her new single and music video “One Night,” Bleu caught up with Tiara to talk about what is next for the rising star as she readies the release of her debut album “The Bad Influence.”
As an artist, what genre would you classify your music as?
Based off of hearing “Bad” a lot of people would say that I’m an R&B singer. But I don’t think that I’m just an R&B singer. I enjoy mixing different types of music. For instance, I’ll do some moody stoner music with a touch of pop. As I gain more success I’d like to be able to branch out from being classified as just R&B.
Who are some of your musical influences?
Growing up my dad listened to Elton John, Prince, The Eagles, so many different types of music. I love Brandy, she’s so slept on and really just all of those 90’s R&B singers and girl groups. And right now I like Drake. Every girl likes Drake.
Although a lot of people liked the versatility you displayed on your EP “Dear Sallie Mae,” some of the feedback from your audience was that they were confused about whether you wanted to be recognized as a rapper or a singer. How do you feel about comments wanting you to stick with one style?
The people that think that I shouldn’t be rapping and singing on my songs are not the people I am trying to impress. Comments like that are just annoying because guys in this industry get the freedom to do different things creatively but when a female does the same thing people want to act like they’re confused.
If you’ve followed me from the beginning then you know back in 2009 when I first started posting YouTube videos from my college dorm I would do rap covers playing my guitar. People that haven’t followed me from the beginning might be confused. But that is why I continue to do it.
How do you think your music style has evolved from “Dear Sallie Mae” to now?
The “Dear Sallie Mae” EP was a collection of songs I wrote while I was in college on my guitar before I had a record deal, so I didn’t have the means of producing music on a large scale. “Bad Influence” is all new music, I sing a lot about sex and dysfunctional relationship because that’s just how I feel right now. It’s definitely in the same realm of content as Bad.
Is that no commitment, straightforward approach that you sing a lot about in your music your honest perspective on relationships?
I’m a very free person and I’m an artist. I think every girl is a slut in her own head. Not promiscuous, but I’m saying every girl wants to be that for her boo. As females, we all think about it but we don’t want to say it. I believe in female liberation and sexual liberation. You should be able to say whatever you want.
Because I am an artist, whatever I think in my head I’ll put it in a song because I know that someone listening is going to feel that way. It’s not always my personal feelings. Sometimes I’ll meet someone that felt that way and I’ll write a song about their life and be like, “Oh yeah, it comes from my perspective.” I don’t mind being that person.
How did you choose “One Night” as the single for “The Bad Influence?”
We chose One Night because it is an upbeat song and there is nothing that sounds like it on the album or on the radio right now. We wanted to introduce the album with something that really stood out.
Who came up with the “Set It Off” movie concept for the “One Night” music video?
“Set It Off” has always been my favorite movie. Growing up I wasn’t even allowed to watch PG13 movies, so I really don’t even know how I ended up seeing it. I didn’t care what the song was about I knew I wanted my first music video to be based off of “Set It Off.” So that is what I submitted to the directors. I wanted movie quality, high fashion, a hot guy and a lot of money. I did want to pop bottles of champagne in the video, but that’s the one thing that didn’t happen.
Who would be your dream artist to work with?
I guess a dream of mine would be to write a Disney song. I love Disney movies and was in show choir growing up so I used to sing all of those songs. So writing one of those big songs with the orchestra would be a dream.