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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Tafari Anthony Talks New Music And Being “That B*tch”

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Tafari Anthony Talks New Music And Being “That B*tch”

If you aren’t a Tafari Anthony stan yet, get ready to become one! His new song, ‘Falling Back,’ is an absolute banger that you need on your playlist, and the creative, cool music video was co-directed by Tafari himself. Trust us, when it comes out on May 17, you will be captivated! Luckily, we got to chat with Tafari about all things ‘Falling Back,’ music videos, inspiration, and more, including what it means to him to be “that b*tch.”

Check out our exclusive chat with Tafari below!

Image Source: Joshua Rille (@jjjjjjjoshua)

Hey there, it’s a pleasure to get to talk to you today, Tafari! We are really curious about what inspired you to write ‘Falling Back?’
It’s a pleasure getting to talk to you all too! Thanks for having me! ‘Falling Back’ was written as I was getting back onto dating/hookup apps when the pandemic was starting to cool down a bit. I always feel like we end up on these apps with maybe some idea of what we’re hoping for, but rarely anything super clear. And pretty well daily, I’d be like, “I hate these apps!” I just want to meet some cool people, you know; go on some lovely dates, get a quick 1-2 in, but I would always end up on my own anyways. Yet the next day, I would just end up right back on them doing the same sh*t. That was the initial birth of ‘Falling Back.’ Then I started to equate it to some relationships I had where even as I was in it with somebody, it was always like they couldn’t be present with me. We’d have our time together, but they would be constantly looking for something else, something better, anyone who wasn’t me. It was as if I was the third choice after the first two seemingly better choices bailed.

As writers, we know how important a creative space is when you are making art. What was the creative process behind the song? Can you take us through how the song came together?
When the pandemic hit, much like everybody else, I was forced to rethink how I did things. I knew I wanted to keep working on my music, so I slowly turned my closet into my studio/office. Jordyn Woodside (Ria Mae) had DM’d me randomly, asking to send me music. This wasn’t the first time something like this has happened, but it was the first time someone did this and actually sent me music that felt like they actually listened to what I do as an artist. I instantly caught a vibe from the first few bars of this one track he sent. I threw it into Logic and started doing a mumble track; A lot of my songs will start with a mumble track, and then I’ll pick out words from there, or if something is on my mind, I’ll end up putting those thoughts into the melodies. The song came together pretty quickly once the initial pass of freestyling happened. There weren’t many rewrites with this one. If it felt good, I left it, it was very stream of consciousness. Eventually, I took the song to Derek Hoffman (Arkells, RALPH, Donovan Woods), who helped to finish production on the song. I also ended up recording the vocals with him at his studio. Vocally things didn’t change very much once we got into the studio. We focused on recording a new lead vocal, but a lot of the backgrounds that you hear on the track are from the original demo.

Image Source: Matthew Miller

You co-directed the music video, and we love it! The visuals are so cool. What was that like? What inspired you stylistically when making the video?
Thank you so much, that was a wild day! To be honest, I wasn’t even planning to do a video for ‘Falling Back,’ but we decided very last minute that it would be a good idea as the first single back since my JUNO-nominated project, The Way You See Me. I had about a week to come up with the concept, hire all the people, and figure out how we were going to make this happen. It’s interesting when you have to move quickly and resources are scarce, it forces you to think differently. Oftentimes, this ends up creating something super cool that I may not have even thought of if I had more time to think about it. I’ve always been a fan of more minimalistic and abstract art. I knew we didn’t have a lot of time with the director, Derek Janzen, so the concept was going to have to be something that was more implied, and the story told more through performance and a very minimal set. I had asked my partner, Shawn, what he thought could be a cool concept for the song. We really balance each other out well because he has very grand ideas that would cost a shit ton of money, and I’m more on the realistic side and can pull them back down to something more manageable. The video had to be completely shot in about 4hrs (which isn’t a lot of time), and I flew into Vancouver an hour before we were supposed to start shooting. The idea was to depict this never-ending cycle where no matter what action was taken, it always came back to the same starting point and same ending point. We used the plastic sheets to also show a world closing in on you until you’re totally consumed by it.

You are sure to inspire other artists, but we want to know: Who or what inspired you to make music? Has this always been your dream?
Both my parents were in music growing up, so once they saw that I had an interest, it was just kind of go, go, go! But I often say it wasn’t until I went away to college and stopped doing music that I found the love of creating music for myself. Making music was always a form of therapy for me, and to this day is still the way I process a lot of my feelings. Once I started to see how people responded to my music, it really became a catalyst to keep pushing through with actually releasing music. I don’t try to consciously appeal to anybody specifically or try to work in a way where I’m making music for somebody else. I figure if I f*ck with it, then there is bound to be people who feel the same, and they’ll find it when the time is right.

Image Source: Matthew Miller

What is your favorite lyric in ‘Falling Back’ and why?
Why you acting so hard in that Gaga jock with that poker face? You ain’t that b*tch” – This line was a total stream of consciousness that I did not know was in me or that I felt! When it came out of my mouth, though, I knew exactly who I was talking about, and I was just like, “Okay, we’re doing this!” We all know this person, though, just jumping on every trend just for the clout and to be part of the hype, but the interest isn’t actually genuine.

What does being “that b*tch” mean to you?
I love this question! Being that b*tch is knowing that you have something special to offer no matter what anyone else wants to tell you.

We have high hopes for Tafari Anthony’s future. What is your biggest dream as an artist?
I have such a problem with dreaming big, I really struggle to allow myself to do that. So right now, I’m going to say my biggest dream as an artist is to really have people f*ck with my music and be a highly respected artist. I don’t care about fame or celebrity, but I do want the hit song or five! And I want to be known and respected for putting great art into the world.

Image Source: Matthew Miller

How do you approach identity in your music and career as a queer artist?
I approach it by just being who I am. It’s that simple for me. I don’t wanna feel like I’m some caricature of queerness, so I just move as I am. The art might heighten that a bit, but it’s still very honest to who I am as a queer black man.

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How important is it to you to be an artist that fans can look up to in that sense?
This is something that I can’t think about too hard once again, because I find once you start to think about things like this, you start to move in ways that are less authentic. You’re now operating in a way that is trying to please people or be something for somebody else. I found by me just speaking honestly and being open with my truth, fans have naturally put me in a place of something they want to aspire to be.

Lastly, we can’t wait to hear your upcoming debut album! Are there any hints you can drop?
I’m not gonna drop too many hints right now… All I will say is that I hope when the album comes out, people do listen to it from top to bottom. There is a big overarching story there that may or may not involve multiple partners at the same time. It’s unapologetically queer. You’ll have to discover the rest of it at a later date…

Be sure to stream Tafari’s music here! And look out for his upcoming album release. We can’t wait to hear more of his music, but in the meantime, we’ll be jamming to ‘Falling Back!’

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