Caturday with Tamera

Photographer:
Nwaka
Words:
Lavinia Woods
Stylist:
Alize Demange

Tamera brings hip-hop to pop, raw female power to the stage, and vulnerability to her music. Originally from a small town in the UK, Tamera found the spotlight at the early age of sixteen while being on The X-Factor and haven’t left the light since. Below Tamera talks inspiration, femininity, and independence.

Lavinia Woods: As someone who grew up in a small town right outside of London with very little contact to live music, how were you able to connect yourself with other artists?
Tamera Foster: Growing up I didn’t meet a lot of other people that actively make music but there was a huge love for it, I remember making little freestyle raps with friends at school but other than that my main reach to live music was in church, that inspired me a lot. When I later moved to London I met so many incredible creatives from all walks of life and the story really began from there.
LW: Is there a silver lining to growing up in a town with very scarce music opportunities? Perhaps it allowed you to find your own voice in a more clear and direct way?
TF: It definitely gave me a hunger to get into it seriously but I’ve always been creative from a young girl. I would love to paint dance act, write poems and short stories and only later all those skills met when I became an artist. 
LW: Now, moving on to your new single, Strong for Me, what inspired you to create this song?
TF: That song came at the end of a long road of hardship and transformation, it was inspired by all the grit we have to go through to get from hard times back to the good ones and how closed off it can cause us to be towards those who are closest to us due to the embarrassment of feeling so small.
LW: The song is very vulnerable, the lyrics, your voice…is it easy for you to write and perform with such raw emotion? What is that like for you?
TF: This song was surprisingly the easiest song I’ve ever written. It came to me suddenly during the last hour of a studio session I would say it was a release of deep emotions I had tried to suppress but when I finally gained clarity on how and why I had felt such a way the song just came out of me & we recorded it right there and then so I was completely in that emotion. I always feel at ease working with P2J  so it was comfortable for me to navigate that particular concept. 
LW:There’s such a femine nature to your voice – it’s very soft and sweet, but also has the power of a girlboss. How has femininity affected your work and creativity?
TF: This is such a great question ! As I used to feel as though my femininity was somewhat of a burden being in a male dominated industry. I’d become more of a boisterous version of myself when working and I wore that as an armour but it also made me become a little colder. I went through a deep depression a few years ago that I didn’t speak about but coming out of that taught me to to truly love myself and the things that make me the woman I am and I was able to tap into my femininity in way I hadn’t before. Honestly I’ve never been so empowered or comfortable in my own skin and I think it really translates through the music.
LW: Now to your song Wickedest. The music video to the song has such a strong visual component. Is exploring other creative mediums, such as visual ones, important to you and your music? Is there any correlation between the two?
TF: The visual aspect of my art is extremely important to me and a huge contributor to who I am as an artist and a person or at least the person I was when I create the piece. I’m quite an introvert and my path is very much so internal in the sense that I’m always looking in on how I can become greater so a lot of the time it’s hard for me to open up and that’s why being able to create is such a significant part of my life because it’s a means for me to truly and boldly express myself.
LW: The song reminds me very much of pop songs from the early 2000’s. Is there a certain era of music or musicians that have influenced you?
TF: I love to listen to so many different artist so to pinpoint exactly who’s inspired me would be hard, I base my creative direction on what I’m going through in real life that then translates into conversations around that then that translates into colours and sounds haha. I hope I’ve explained that okay.
LW: You’ve mentioned in your bio that when you were younger, a lot of people were trying to control you and your career so much that it led you to walk away from the label you were once under and take full control of your career. What was the transition like for you, especially at such a young age?
TF: Funnily enough it was one of the easiest decisions I’ve ever made. I’ve never in my life been someone that takes kindly to anyone attempting to control me so when I felt cornered I knew I had to leave especially as people were having such an effect of my creativity to the point it no longer felt genuine. To me music was and is the realest thing in my life so I undoubtedly I had to take the reigns back and get back on to the right track.
LW: What has it been like to work with P2J? What has the collaborative experience been like for you?
TF: It’s been great, we work with a lot of the same people so we’d been meaning to get in the studio but of course COVID happened so it was pushed back a year. I think by the time we actually got in we were itching to make music so it all came together pretty quickly. His a real GOAT in the game and for good reason too, it’s great to work with people that have a high respect for the music and he has that. I learned a lot but he also allowed me to do my thing. It was a great and easy dynamic.
LW: What has it been like for you to be a young female solo act in the music business?
TF: I feel at the start I had a lot to prove as there are sooo many talented females in the industry. I had to learn to really assert myself to get what I need and to create a life I like that can coincide with my personal life. It took a while for me to find a great team but when I did my time in the music business became a lot easier. For me it’s all about the people you surround yourself with and how hard you’re willing to go for yourself.
LW: Now, your last live show pre-COVID was at Annie Mac presents. What has it been like as an artist to have to put live shows on hold during the pandemic?
TF: That show was so fun I had a ball and yes it was supposed to be the first of many so of course it was a huge downer finding out that I wouldn’t be able to continue but in the flip side it allowed me more time to intimately explore my artistry in a way I probably wouldn’t have if we weren’t stuck in the house for months so I take that as my spoonful of sugar knowing that I’ll be a more well-rounded artist by the time I start performing again.
LW: What can we expect from you as you begin performing live again?
TF: Expect to get to know me better and to have some insight into my dream world haha.
LW: Can you hint at anything your fans/audience should be on alert for?
TF: We’ll see each other very soon.

Click to listen to

Tamera’s playlist

Photographer: Nwaka 
Stylist: Alize Demange
Make up: Saphia Ayesha
Hair: Pashcan’el Mitchell 
Words: Lavinia Woods
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