Upcoming Pop-Star TeZATalks About What Her Music Means and Much More
Breakout artist TeZATalks is inspiring generations with her powerful music and amazing artistry. After moving to Seattle from Oahu, Hawaii, her world was changed. New experiences opened her eyes to problems that needed fighting for. Her spirit and openness inspired her to start her own campaign, Not Your Body, which empowers women, queer people, and non-binary people for equal health care and rights.
Beyond the stage, TeZATalks is inspired by the community. During our conversation at the Treefot music festival, we had an in-depth exploration of her future projects, her dedication to making a positive impact on society, and her inspirations surrounding music. Learn more about TeZATalks and check out her recent releases. Stream her most recent song and view the interview down below.
A: Okay, we are now rolling. I think this is working. If you can just say one thing.
A: That works. Awesome! I just needed to see the sound waves. All right. So, um, we’ve just been having this whole conversation, but how’s it going today?
T: So good.
T: You know, the flurries are flurrying. Yep! So, yeah, I feel fantastic. Happy to be here. Made it through the crazy snowstorm. Don’t wanna do that again, but excited to perform at the reef tonight. Got some really cool things planned. So.
A: Nice. Um, so how are you fe-, like, other than the reef? I know you’re also at the skate park tomorrow.
A: How are you feeling about both of those?
T: Uh, Honestly super excited I, the weather, I can understand, you know, be a little bit of a downer, but I’m like, bundle up and let’s rage!
T: Um, I performed at the Reef last year as well and it was such a positive experience. I think they kind of made it to where I was back there. You know, I, I’m not sure, but the owner was, Really complimentary as far as like the set, uh, smaller set cuz you know, I was new to Treefort, but still really great response.
T: Um, I saw my friend Jengo perform at the skate park last year and I was like, ‘bro I have to do this’, so it was a mission to try and get, you know, the attention, um, of that stage. And when I got asked I was like, yes.
T: So yeah, super stoked.
A: Nice, that’s so cool! Um, so also, For the people who don’t have access to your bio,
A: In the Treefort app. Just tell me a little bit about yourself, about your artistry.
A: Tell me the TeZA story.
T: Uh, so I’m a hardcore pop artist. Um, I was raised mostly in Oahu and spent my summers in Washington, which is how Seattle became like the hub of uh, or the birth of Teza talks. And, um, I make music from a place of where I’m not afraid to.
Let people see or hear about the skeletons in my closet first, hence the talks. Um, I also try to be somewhat of a social activist, but in a more creative way. Uh, I have a campaign called Not Your Body, that is for bodily autonomy, gender inclusivity, and women’s equals rights that launched last year. And you know, being here in Idaho where we have one of the strictest bands on our bodies, I’m here to crash the party.
Uh, and I, I write, I artist develop as well. Um, but anything that I can make beautiful outta my life is what I aspire to be, and intentionally am trying to make my life’s work. I just wanna make beautiful things. So music is one of them.
A: That’s awesome! I absolutely love the line, “I want to make beautiful things.”
A: That’s, that’s a beautiful answer for you.
T: Thank you.
A: Um, So growing up, splitting time really between Hawaii and Washington, how would you say that, like how would you say that kind of split shaped your artistry and your persona?
T: I definitely think it brought a more diverse approach to my life. Um, Oahu is paradise, you know, uh, there’s not a lot of terrible things I experienced in my engagement with people and in my adolescence, and I think it gave me a better.
Well, I won’t say better. A more well-rounded, uh, energy to when I came to the mainland and was faced with some of the adversities, with, you know, being black in America, being a black female, being queer. Um, it gave me a bit more of a slower reaction because I grew up with just the mentality to try to always understand where people were coming from, and I don’t.
Expect people to think like me. I, I would hope not, but I do think we all deserve the space to listen and have our stories be told. Uh, and the music definitely reflects that. My biggest goal, especially at a show, is to look out in the crowd and see two or three people that would never take the time to have a conversation in their day-to-day life sitting there like, wait, we’re on the same page, like, That’s what the movement is all about, you know?
So I think that, uh, the contrast of both places helped me kind of create my TeZA world or teZAverse to say.
A: The teZAverse.
A: Nice! Um, and when you’re creating, what does your creative process look like?
T: Um, how much life experience can I possibly get in the time that I don’t know I have, I can’t possibly, um, make.
What I make or speak my truth if I’m not actually living it? And as of lately, especially with writing the album Black Girl American Horror Story, it’s kind of like a culmination over the last like eight years that I’ve now been able to put in a body of work and hopefully inspire people to share their own story as I get ready to share mine.
A: Yeah. Nice. Um, with, with, um, I’m sorry, repeat one more time. The album’s name.
T: Black Girl, American Horror Story.
A: Black Girl, American Horror Story. Okay. With, with that is, is um, would you say there’s a spine to the album? Do you know about Tyler Tharpe’s concept of the spine?
T: Oh, no.
T: Coming on name?
A: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, um, I wrote it down so I wouldn’t forget. This is, so, um, as she outlines the spine, is the statement you make to yourself outlining your intentions for the work. You intend to tell this story, you intend to explore this theme. You intend to employ this structure. The audience may infer it or not, but if you stick to your spine, the piece will work.
A: Would you say, would you say there is a spine?
T: Absolutely!Yes! A thousand percent. Yeah. Um, and I think at first with the title, people will attach it to like being black in America and the horrors of it. But that’s not really what it is. It’s. Uh, me coming into my experiences, my horrific experiences, and finding my power through it and utilizing that to not only inspire others, but to also kind of, uh, insinuate that I am the horror.
You know, I, I try to, uh, speak a lot on duality, um, and that is a pretty big theme throughout my music and. I don’t necessarily think that it’s a bad thing to exist in the dark because I am the light within it. And so that is, you know, a little bit of the spine, uh, that is intentionally going into the album.
A: Nice. And if, if someone inferred something other than that, what is the, what is the, the takeaway? Like I know that there’s myriad takeaways.
A: Um, But if there was one thing mm-hmm. That you absolutely expect someone to take away that isn’t the spine mm-hmm. What would that be?
T: Black people are not a monolith.
We have a plethora of emotions and experiences and, uh, expressions to show who we are and where we come from. And I think if people listen close enough. They’ll find a way to identify their truth in it too. And that there is a commonality in that.
A: Yeah. Awesome! Um, who or what would you say is your biggest muse right now?Whether it be for the project, whether it be, you know, just in general.
T:You know, I could go, you know, super simple and be like this artist right here. Yeah. But I’m gonna keep it so transparent with you. Uh, Over the last four years of this pandemic, the biggest inspiration has been the ability, one, to gracefully make it through, but to see the resilience of my peers of communities, businesses, uh, the arts rebirth in a way that is gonna push us forward, consciously, and create what I think a better.
Way of understanding where we are going as a society, because I do feel that there is a, a strong energy, um, that’s shifting our way that we’ve been operating and people are tired. They don’t want the temporary, they, they don’t want the, the fluff. They want the do it yourself. They want authenticity and they want to feel seen and heard, and so, Those people that continue day to day to make it through and persevere authentically no matter where they’re at and still remain inspirational. I think that definitely has kept me going and inspired a lot.
A: That’s awesome, I love that! Um, when you are, when you’re creating. Um, I mean this both, uh, this was, this was actually something that happened in an earlier interview. I mean, both on record and live. Um, how do you contend with audience expectations? Do you contend with audience expectations?
T: Uh, I don’t think I go in having an expectation anymore. I really try to be grounded in each experience that I get to be on stage because, It’s a different type of audience every single time. I, I found myself on tour and my tour manager will laugh, uh, every time that this story gets brought up. But, uh, there was a moment we were at Webster Hall when we were touring with Murr and I didn’t know what was going on in the crowd, but I felt called to make this small speech about bullying and not giving people space and.
Um, just being rude and it was going into my song Bully, and she said at that exact moment. Well, we have this thing where I’ll be like, so, uh, when we run in, when we encounter a bully, uh, what’s that saying, y’all and my crew, my bandmates will be like, suck my dck. And then they’ll be like, I’m sorry, what’s that again? And then the audience will respond, suck my dck. And there were these girls that were getting harassed by some drunk guys and the audience and they just like really embraced the moment to like, let that guy know, like, You can suck my dick right now and politely move out the way. Yeah. And I think if I always stuck to a script or stuck to hitting my beats, that’s not really imitating life and art imitates life and life imitates art.
And so, um, I, I try to be very present,uh, in each arena and stage that I get to have the opportunity to share my art on and with.
A: Nice, nice. And um, on that note, really it’s how best, um, how can we as a community, as a people, as a publication on a more, you know, narrow level, how can we best support TeZATalks?
T: Um, keep listening, but not only just listen, uh, when you feel called to action. And I definitely. Encourage many call to actions in my music. Do it. Don’t sleep on yourself. Don’t sleep on the things that you stand for. Don’t sleep on what you care about because life will distract you and it will just keep going by.
And if I can be a catalyst to one, being inspired and moving forward and becoming a part and participating in their community, or having the courage to tell their own story. That’s what I’m here for.
A: Nice. And, uh, really quick before we wrap up, I am curious because, um, the answer you gave was amazing for the muse question.
A: But I’m also curious, what are you listening to right now?
T: Oh, who am I listening to? Okay. I’m gonna pull up my phone for this one.
A: Okay, yeah.
T: Because, um, we have all these streaming platforms and, I, uh, make things. Let’s go with the top three. Uh, someone that I have on repeat, they’re older. Uh, She Wants Revenge. I tear you apart, is my, I love that song. Um, I’ve also been bumping, uh, Charlotte Sands, uh, Six Feet Under.
T: And then, goodness. I know there was an album that came out today that I was really excited about, but I can’t think about it. But I love Paramore. Haley Williams is…love her!
T: So, so, so, so, so much. Um, so I’ll go with those three. Nice, yeah. That’s awesome!
A: Cool. Um, well thank you very much. Thank really you appreciate that. I just need one more thing from you. Yeah. Um, without the microphone, so I will need Yeah, we’re good.
T: Give you back your little mini mic on the lab mic. Signing off.
A: Signing off. Thank you very much.