Tasha the Amazon has been having a great 2016. She recently played Red Bull's 30 Days concert series with YG, and dropped her Die Every Day EP. We had a chance to sit down with her to learn more about this emerging Toronto artist.
Hi Tasha, thank you for talking with us! You're performing with YG tonight, but you're based in Toronto. Has LA rap culture influenced your work?
Yeah, For sure. I think all legit rap scenes influence each other now, because the world is small... And on the internet it happens lightning fast. LA rap culture has definitely always influenced my work - when I was growing up that was with groups like Cypress Hill... But now it's more of a back and forth conversation with artists from all scenes influencing each other.
When people think Toronto, a lot of people assume Drake and his OVO crew, but you've got an incredibly unique sound and style that goes beyond the surface. Who are your biggest influences and if we were to venture into Toronto's scene, who do I need to really listen to and what places do I have to go to understand the music scene there?
I think the more diverse music you listen to, the more unique your sound will be, so it's hard for me to list off my influences - I've been influenced by everyone from Outkast to Rage Against the Machine. I play a lot of instruments and I dig for music from around the world to draw on, too. I think that's something that's dope about Toronto. It's one of the most culturally diverse places on earth so everyone's checking for music and art outside their genre and it finds its way into their work. That's why so many game-changing sounds come out of the city.
To do the Toronto scene properly, you gotta come downtown and hang in hoods like Kensington Market, Ossington, Queen West, and go to the smaller spots where kids are hanging and DJing and throwing parties... Basement jams and alley bars and after parties. That's where the innovation is. It's where everyone kinda knows each other and the scene builds organically.
You recently released, Die Every Day. What does the title mean to you, and for those who haven't quite had the chance to listen, what would you want people to know about the release?
The title came to me when I was kind of at low point personally. We'd been hustling for a minute and it seemed like we'd always just be bubbling but never really breaking, and that's hard when you look at how hard your whole team is working... It's a thankless job for everybody involved. But to me the answer wasn't to pack it in, it was to push harder. That's what dying every day is to me, you wake up, push like you have just those 24 hours, and leave it all on the floor, save nothing. Then do it again, everyday. That goes beyond just the music hustle - that's everything. This is real life and I don't want to hold back on anything. Everything I do will be with 100% effort and presence. I think that speaks to the intensity of every single track on the album. Whether it's a track about party life (like Picasso Leaning), a ruckus track (like Prayer), or an introspective track (like Die Every Day), every single thing on the project is intense and present.
The music scene can be grueling sometimes. How do you keep yourself motivated, and what advice did you wish you knew when you first started?
It's hard sometimes, because when people see you doing well and new fans are finding you, there's like this assumption that it happened for you overnight or that it came easily, when really the hustle is long and building takes time. I know a lot of people in the music scene who are jaded because they don't have the stamina or the vision to really make moves forward. For me, my team is the biggest motivator. I don't see myself as a solo artist, I see myself as the front person for a tight clique of people who are working their asses off for a common goal, doing what they do best. So when I have days where I wanna pack it in, I can't quit cuz there are other people's hopes and dreams riding on my back too. I can't let them down.
Advice that I wish I knew when I started? I guess I'd tell myself to be patient and enjoy the ride... Success will come if you're hustling and have vision, but it's easy not to notice or celebrate the successes if you're just busy rushing to the next goal. That's how you burn out.
You've had a massive 2016, including standout moments like being featured on Broad City. What are some of your personal standouts from this year, and what can we expect from you in 2017?
Yeah this year has been dope for the whole team. The Broad City look was huge. I was also one of 16 Spotify Spotlight artists, a list of "artists on the brink of greatness", so that was a huge honor. My single Picasso Leaning was the biggest song on Spotify in Toronto this summer, and then I signed with the Windish Agency, who are some of the best booking agents in the world. As the year wraps up, I'm seeing my name on a lot of "Best of 2016" lists, so it's dope all this momentum happened this year. Next year there is no slowing down, the grind will just build...I'll be releasing some more singles, EPs, and a ton of videos, touring internationally and collaborating more. So, 2017 is looking crazy so far.