Tiki Black‘s music a rare treat in today’s era. Now, she is releasing her new book, “The Sound of the Broken Wand: The Poems” and namesake album. Her artistry made our team curious and after a longer while, finally we could find the time for an interview. And while you are reading it, listen to Tiki Black‘s “Escape” from her previous album, it’s a good one!
Music Authentic: Life has been different in recent years and now, as the new summer is here, it might be a free escape once again. How much are you looking forward to live free and through this summertime season?
Tiki Black: It is exciting to start organizing and book gigs for my new album and book. But it is clear that a lot has changed. So, to be honest, I am hesitant to look forward to a situation I can’t remember as such and I know will be different anyway. Some venues have closed, a lot of promoters have not resumed their work as yet and people are still uncertain with every report of a new variant. I am basically taking it as it comes. Yesterday, I did a book reading at a private artistic meeting. I felt at home as I listened to the talents nurtured by author and talent developer Shirley May and later shared some of my work with them. I realized then that this “free escape” can only be truly savoured with people and in places where my art feels at home.
Music Authentic: You must have been quite busy lately, your book, “The Sound of the Broken Wand: The Poems” is coming out on 22nd May, 2022. When the world is spinning so fast and people seem to be unwilling to stop the nonsense numbness and dumbing down, do your words and thoughts have the power to reach their souls and hearts?
Tiki Black: I certainly hope my words, thoughts, and music do. But my job is to contribute my individual print to expanding and emancipating the tapestry of minds not to impose my truth or restrict minds. Words and thoughts only have the power that their recipient give them. That choice is freedom, and it is my privilege to honour it. I am humbled and grateful when my work inspires for the better or even helps to emancipate a mind.
Music Authentic: When I listen to “Escape” from your “Out of the Black” album, I hear a decent chanson, when it’s “A Ghost of Me” from your 2021 album, “The Sound of the Broken Wand” there is a musical stage performance. How do you see your artistic evolution in song writing?
Tiki Black: It might look like evolution on a time dimension. I just see it as me digging into the various people I am to understand and harness my full picture. There is Chanson in me since I grew up in France with Brassens, Trenet, Barbara, Aznavour… But there is plenty more having also been brought up with Cameroon’s melodies, African sounds, Jazz and Blues, Latin vibes, Opera, Romantics, Baroque, Bollywood, Folk and far more… and of course, I am still discovering. I don’t just incorporate new sounds as I discover them. They have to mean something and contribute musically to the point I am making.
Music Authentic: There is this trend, performers have less and less clothes on them even if it is a classical piece just to “sell”. Fortunately, your videos focus more on the music. How hard is it to be heard and seen nowadays?
Tiki Black: Lol. The sensational (not always the most sexual or naked, mind you) seems to trick or force the attention saturated by noise and senseless rules. I’ve always believed that if you enter that game, you must be ready to top your last act. There are only so many clothes you can take off, so many scandals you can create, so much you can scream. They only distract both you and your audience from the art. I watched as skirts became belts and was relieved not to have boarded any of those trains. To be honest, if you need to be shouted at or flashed at to pay attention, you probably aren’t my audience anyway. I think what made it easier for me to be heard are no-nonsense music loving promoters such as Fatea, Roots and Fusion, Acoustic Routes, Medicine Music… But the truth is, no matter how good I think my work is, any other human being taking their time and sometime their money to acknowledge and even appreciate that work is a privilege. I cannot take for granted. It is never an expectation, and it is always a pleasant surprise. Come on, people you don’t know navigating their busy-ness and the noise and listening to you and hearing you? It will always be priceless.
Music Authentic: “The Unscripted” or “Nobody Knows”?
Tiki Black: Hmm… one is a solo effort and the other a collaboration. They are both hard to sing, both digging into and emancipating from a heartbreak of some sort. Difficult. They are two sides of the same coin though, in some way, as the victim is not always as evident as history or appearances paint them.
Music Authentic: I can imagine a duet with you and Norah Jones. Who are the ones you’d like to share the stage with?
Tiki Black: Wow, that is such a lovely thought. Incidentally, Chris and I wrote “A Ghost of Me” with her in mind as the singer! Too many to list, but off the top of my head, Tom Waits and Jean-Jacques Goldman are definitely part of that list.
Music Authentic: Thousands of newcomers are releasing their half-baked songs – many from samples – yet the actually great names had at least a decade in the making to become renowned artists. What does it take to be an actual “star”?
Tiki Black: Only a “star” can answer that question. For my part, I believe that if I focus on my constant emancipation (the discovery of my inner creative infinity if you will, growing beauty out every mud) and share that with others then I will be OK. Bills, others’ opinions even judgement and their debts (particularly emotional) will always be as many distractions on your journey as ever. I hope to never let myself be thus swayed from my path.
Music Authentic: What do you think the actual role is of an artist, musician these days in the western societies?
Tiki Black: I believe that there should not be just one role for all artists, or one role for each artist, in this society or another. Each artist should play a role that suits them. Some artists keep tradition, others cross borders. Some entertain, some heal. Some seek solutions, some seek escape. Whatever we are best at and most passionate about is likely to be what we will do best or at least most honestly and maybe most passionately express. Authenticity is key to not losing one’s mind in the noises of expectations.
I do believe though that in whatever we do, we must continue to learn and grow ourselves so we don’t share staleness, half-baked or regurgitated ideas. People’s time, hearts and minds are extremely important, and we must ensure we don’t malnourish them.
Music Authentic: What can we expect from you this year, a tour maybe?
Tiki Black: 😊 I am organizing a launch for the last quarter of the year and yes a tour too. I’ll be reading passages of the book or singing or both. I also plan to participate in expos, presentations and workshops. While I am doing this, I am completing the songs from my third album (10% left 😉) and writing my next book.
Music Authentic: Before we go: do you have any encouraging message to your fans and sympathizers and all the folks who just started out?
Tiki Black: For my supporters, I have the deepest thanks. I don’t tend to have the need to release art based on expected timelines, funding needs or conventions. Their patience and words of support have been my ally and strengthened me in my work and my attitude. To those who start out, I will say: don’t ever lie to yourself. Your mind is a temple where your muse, your peace and your truth resides. The more what you show resembles what you think and feel the easier it is for you. But if you decide to show something else, make sure you remember who you are and why you made those choices.
Music Authentic: Thank you for your time. Looking forward to reading your book!
Tiki Black: Thank you for having me! Your copy awaits!
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