It’s often said that life imitates art. But for some artists, life and art are so intertwined that the two become indistinguishable from one another. Tiya is among that class of artists, a rare breed for whom existence itself is an act of self-expression.
“Entertainment is in my blood,” Tiya says. “It’s all I know.” It’s no surprise the Vancouver-based alternative pop artist recalls an intrinsic desire to create since her earliest days. Born in Las Vegas, Nevada to two theatre artist parents (her mother was a Can-can dancer at Paris’s famed Moulin Rouge before meeting her father, who played a giraffe in the Broadway musical The Lion King), Tiya had a rather unique upbringing. She spent her formative years on the road touring with her parents, being shuttled from one iconic performance venue’s dressing room to the next at some of the country’s most renowned theatres, from the Las Vegas Strip to Radio City Music Hall. Rubbing elbows with dancers, actors, directors, classical musicians, and more all before she’d even learned to walk practically sealed Tiya’s fate: she was born to be an artist, and now, after what feels like a lifetime spent backstage, it’s finally her turn to step into the spotlight.
Tiya’s pop music debut has been a long time coming. She’s always had a natural talent for singing, and her introduction to songwriting also came early in the form of poems she’d write to sing along to the rhythmic percussion of her father’s tap dancing. A talented actor and dancer in her own right, Tiya has a long list of credits, including The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. But now, she’s traded the dancing shoes in for glistening pop beats, organic instrumentation, and programmed drums. She learned to play guitar and piano, which helped catapult her songwriting into the stratosphere. Now, with the release of her debut single, “Chamomile Tea,” Tiya’s auspicious beginnings have given way to a multi-talented artist poised to take the world by storm.
photo by @theportraitsessions
Upon first listen, “Chamomile Tea” bursts with emotion, personality, and infectious melodies that fans will soon come to love and expect from Tiya. Her vocal delivery is graceful and textured, building with measured dexterity. Like much of Tiya’s forthcoming music, she wrote the song alone in her bedroom, recording her vocal parts in the studio she built in her closet before sending them out to producers for collaboration. A friend connected Tiya to Zabrina, a recent Berklee College of Music Graduate and Vancouver local who would go on to produce the debut single, fusing simplistic organic elements like piano with a modern pop production flare. Hope Brush (Alanis Morissette, Ruel) mixed and mastered the track, making the song created entirely by women.
Tiya’s penchant for writing and delivering powerhouse vocal hooks with heartfelt, image-laden lyrics is on full display throughout “Chamomile Tea”. Her ability to craft a compelling narrative arc is a nod to master storytellers she reveres like Taylor Swift and the Beatles, while her soul-baring lyrics recall the emotion and edge of Julia Michaels. “I often find that my songs know how I’m feeling before I do,” she laughs. The lyrics to “Chamomile Tea” poured out of Tiya before she even had a chance to realize what she was writing about. “Many people close to me struggle with mental health and depression,” she says. In writing the song, she realized that at times, the desire to support them can leave her feeling helpless. “I was putting this pressure on myself to be perfect and healthy for my friends and family, even though they would understand more than anyone what I was feeling: anxious outta my mind.” A tug of war between anxiety and relief propels the chorus as Tiya sings, “Home remedies, got no money for therapy / So I breathe deeply and count 1, 2, 3 / Hoping my anxieties will leave with chamomile tea.” The release of the song is accompanied by a fundraiser for the charity Anxiety Canada-- Tiya will donate all proceeds from streaming and downloads of “Chamomile Tea” to the organization, which aims to create affordable and accessible mental health resources, in addition to mailing out official “AnxieTea by Tiya” awareness bracelets to anyone who DMs her proof of a donation.
A dual citizen of Canada and the U.S. as well as the bi-racial daughter of an African-American father and a Norwegian / Australian mother, Tiya knows firsthand the amazing things that can be borne out of exposure to different cultures and ideas. After all, the years her family spent on the road before moving to New York, California, and finally settling down in Vancouver are not the only terrain the young artist has covered. She relishes the opportunity that music presents to explore and combine all of her artistic passions. “What I love about being a musical artist is how multifaceted the job is,” Tiya says. A true triple threat (and then some), Tiya is dedicated to pushing the boundaries of what it means to be a pop artist. Her talents for singing, writing, performing, dancing, acting, and directing all collide under the vast umbrella of content she is gearing up to release for her solo project. “I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to create all the forms of art I love without being limited to one,” she says. With more music, videos, and live shows on the horizon in 2021, this is just the beginning for Tiya.