Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Tanika Charles: Heart & Soul

Tanika Charles
Tanika Charles Tanika Charles Tanika Charles Tanika Charles

“I would say absolutely (the definition of gumption describes me well) The word gumption isn't often used so that was the attraction. But also, it does take a lot of nerve to do music and be in this industry. To do this on a regular basis you've got to pull it from somewhere”. With the definition being “shrewd or spirited initiative or resourcefulness”, the title “The Gumption” seems like the perfect fit for the new album by Tanika Charles. The Canadian soul songstress returns with her first project since her 2017 critically acclaimed studio debut, “Soul Run”. The Juno and Polaris Music Prize nominated album featured tracks like “Endless Chain” and album namesake “Soul Run” and saw Charles go from a once aspiring backing singer to a rising star to watch in the music industry. With the release of “The Gumption” Tanika invites the audience on her personal journey of discovery, independence and spiritual growth that can only come with age and experience. In the decade since she stepped into the studio to record her independently released E.P. “What! What? What!” Charles has continued to refine her artistry through touring, song-writing and even performing in plays. With her signature infectious smile and carefree demeanour, Tanika chats to B&S about finding the gumption to unapologetically be her authentic self.

“But (the album title) also references a line in the song “Tell Me Something””, Charles continues, “Even the cover art was part of that plan. It says, “I know how I feel... I'm free and I know this is what I want. I'm not going to step on toes but I'm definitely not going to let you step on mine”. Whether that's professionally, in everyday conversation, and especially in relationships and love”. Explaining how her newfound confidence has impacted her song-writing Tanika shares .”Normally, like with “Soul Run”, I would write about experiences in love, the trials and tribulations and emotional comings and goings of interactions with other people. But “The Gumption” is basically the same thing in terms of being a bit more assertive and sure of yourself. The older you get, you experience people differently and I feel like “The Gumption” describes me growing and being a little bit more assertive.”

With her latest single “Love Overdue”, Charles effortlessly blends classic Motown inspired arrangements with modern soul-pop. Of the song's inspiration, Charles opens up ““Love Overdue” is about infatuation. It's about getting wrapped up too soon and allowing yourself to get hurt. But then sometimes when you fall for that person it can actually be right but your friends are looking out for you and (saying) “are you sure that this is the one?” and then it just kinds of ends up being the one”.

Bold as it is introspective, fearless as it is sensitive, Charles's new collection is chock-full of potential future hits. Speaking about two of the album's more challenging tracks Tanika shares “(The song) “Going Home” was difficult. I couldn't capture it, I couldn't get enough breath. Maybe it wasn't a good day to record. Then when we were mixing the song it was difficult because there was just so many layers and levels and recordings all over the place... Yes, I am a restless person by nature…more high strung!” Tanika says laughing as she gives background details of the standout ballad “Always Restless”. “I’m definitely restless in terms of I don't like my physical body staying still for too long. “Always Restless” was actually written by my bass player and I love it because it's real and I guess I gravitated toward the lyrics. That was another one that was difficult to sing in a studio. We brought in a string section and an electric guitar. It ended up being a very precious song and a very personal song to heart”.

Album "The Gumption" is out through Record Kicks.

You can read more from our interview with soul sensation Tanika Charles, including her supportive family, her early influences, who she would like to colab with, her battle with drink and her alter ego Ms Chawlz...all in the current issue of Blues & Soul magazine - click the 'BUY NOW' link below to order straight from the B&S shop or read on for high street retailer details...

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Words Karen Lawler

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