Interview by Bre Cura and Matt Davis // Photos by Bre Cura
Recently we got to sit down and chat with Tag, an amazing singer/songwriter based out of Philadelphia! With a single dropping December 31st, and an album on the way, we got to dive into how Tag discovered her sound and how her life in Philadelphia has impacted her musical career.
How long have you been making music?
“Well for myself? The past I’d say two or three years, but I mean always. I’ve played instruments since I was in the third grade. In high school I did a bunch of sports and then I was like alright, let me stop playing, and I went back to the jazz band haha.”
How did you get started in a solo career?
“When my band dismantled, it wasn’t us saying ‘oh we don’t want to make music’ it was more like we had different schedules. It wasn’t working out for us to force ourselves to work around each others schedules. I was still writing, and messing around on my keyboard. I started out as a jazz major before switching to early childhood education. I knew I had to do something with music, where I could create.”
What would you say your sound is?
“I guess I would like to say soulful for sure, lots of jazz influence, acoustic sounds. I love electronic music, but when I’m listening to a song I like to be able to identify at least one instrument. Whether that be the violin or piano, I like there to be something acoustic.”
How did you pull all those different sounds together to create your own?
“I think it’s really just a result of all the different music I listen to, it’s not just one specific style of music. More recent years I really fell in love with reggae music. A lot of people assume with my hair that I’m Jamaican, but I’m not. I just have a mad love for the culture and the sound. I think it’s really amazing when you can find a way to combine a bunch of sounds.”
What is making music for you?
“Thinking back to when I was making my album. It was that last third of it I was thinking wow I’m so exhausted. It was during that last bit of it that I was still teaching full time, working 45 hours a week, getting off work and then recording and heading right back to work. So there were times when it felt a lot more like work, and I didn’t feel the bliss and joy that comes with sitting down and putting my fingers on the keys. Mostly it’s just life, I try to catch it when it comes.”
Tell us about your artist name, “TAG”.
“Going back to when I was a kid, using your initials for things, I always just liked it. Now, when I was thinking about being an artist and how I wanted that to unfold, I didn’t want to use my full name. So its my initials, and it also stands for Teacher, Artist, Gay. I think that sometimes artists can be one dimensional, and I need to remember to advocate for the things I care about. I want to come into my self a little bit more. I’m not always waving a rainbow flag, but it’s important to have something explicit for people to identify with.”
What can we expect on the album?
“So the album is eight tracks, two covers and six origionals. I listen back to it all the time, and looking at this project its a good collection of all the different types of music that influence me. The last track on the album is one of my faves. It reminds me of being in class and playing with the orchestra, which is very nostalgic for me. It’s a relief getting to complete something, to get it all done, it was a little stressful, but after getting over that you get to appreciate the process, and it just feels good.”
How has philly been towards helping or hurting your career? Have you found support through the community?
“I think I am definitely in one of the best cities to be an artist for sure. There is a lot of opportunity out here, I think before I didn’t have a lot of the same resources or connections to access certain things, but being in the music world at Temple really helped that. While I was there I had classes that had us volunteer, and even doing that helped me make connections. I grew up in the city, and I went to Central High School, and a lot of kids wind up going to Temple from there so I had that community still as well. Being in the city is perfect, because you can have a lot of connections but if you’re not in the right place you know, it can hinder you.
Make sure to check out Tag’s new single dropping December 31st on Soundcloud here !
And stay updated with Tag on Instagram at @tagserene