Today we’d like to introduce you to Tamika J.
Tamika, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Music has always played an important role in my life, growing up there was so much music around the house from Haitian music, RnB music, Rock, Hip Hop, Jazz, Gospel music, I was always surrounded by it, so I always was intrigued by the melodies, lyrics, harmony and what made an artist special. There are so many moments in my life that got me started in music, like watching music videos and trying to emulate the artist’s moves and sounds.
I remember going to my room and for some reason I wanted to go in the closet and I just started singing so much and it shocked me because what was coming out my mouth actually sounded really good. It was like a light bulb that hit me because in that moment I knew I had a gift of singing.
Another moment that got me started in music is when my dad bought my sister a keyboard and I remember feeling jealous Lol! Because I wanted a keyboard too, I wanted to write songs and learn how to play. I would observe my sister writing songs, making beats and I would go in her room and just sit there in awe because I wanted to do that. When my sister was not home, I would go in her room and just play, I didn’t even know how to play the keyboard but I would sing my heart out, write songs, and it felt so DAMN GOOD!
Growing up, I wanted to pursue a career in the medical field as an obstetrician. I saw my life working as a Doctor and as an artist. I wanted both worlds, “Doctor by day… artist by night” but the music took over and fast forward, I’m in college working on my pre-med classes and I was not happy at all. I did not see a life in the medical field. I remember sitting in my chemistry class and instead of writing notes, I was writing songs, thinking of melodies, picturing myself on big stages, being in the studio and it hit me I need to pursue music and I did! After I graduated from college in 2009, I went hard on the music grind, I was singing everywhere, writing songs, playing my guitar, signing up for talent shows; I was developing my gift.
Fast forward to now, I’ve completed multiple music projects of my own, performed in so many dope venues. I am still learning, still grinding, still winning, still failing, still leading but always still purposeful.
I’m here “making purpose dope again” … remember the days when purpose was actually cool! Making timeless music was actually a goal to be desired … that’s what I want and of course so much more! I still feel like that little girl in my sister’s room playing her keyboard, singing at the top of her lungs, writing about anything and being free because that feeling still feels so DAMN GOOD!
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Smooth road HAHAHA!!! Hell Naw! The Music industry and the grind that comes with it is not easy at all.
There have been many times when I wanted to give up, there have been moments when I tell myself “you know what Tamika… go find a 9-5 job and stop this music grind because no one seems to take you seriously.” I think many artists has had one of those moments. This music industry is a blessing but it’s hard!!
I had a humbling situation happen to me, so I have a business account under my business name “Tamikajmusic” and I received an email from the bank saying my account has been closed due to insufficient funds. I looked at my business account statement and it said $0.00 dollars and of course I felt sad and disappointed because I work hard in my grind, so to see my business not flourishing financially forced me to go back to the drawing board.
The music industry has changed in a way where social media has taken over. I’ve been denied gigs and shows because I don’t have 10,000 plus followers on Instagram. Promoters/bookers are always telling me “Tamika J. you are so dope but I see you only have 3,000 something followers… we don’t think you have a strong following.”
I recall a moment, I was singing at this restaurant and I wanted to have a residency there. Most of the audience that were there came to see me sing and even requested some of my original music. After the show was finished, they all approached me asking me when is the next show, where can they purchase my music etc etc., the next day I contacted the booker and I told her, “I would love to have a residency at the restaurant” her exact words were “you don’t have following and we are going to book someone who has more followers”
I felt frustrated and annoyed because the night of that particular show, I had supporters come to see me but the booker didn’t recognize that and went with someone else based on the number of followers on social media.
It’s important for me to be as transparent as possible with this question because some people get so focused on the videos, the Instagram photos, etc. etc. and do not understand what goes behind the scenes and what us artists go through.
And then you have venues that are willing to book you but they refuse to pay you and they throw in the “it’s good for exposure” … and it’s true but when your bank calls and says your business account has been closed due to zero funds, the “it’s good for exposure” becomes like a broken record.
There have been so many moments of crying, being frustrated, being annoyed, tired, getting burnt out… it’s all happened to me!
I’ve been told no so many times, I’ve been pushed aside, I’ve been overlooked and I am still pushing!! Sometimes I ask myself why… “why do you still push yourself Tamika? “
I push myself because right now, there is someone reading this and relating to every word I type… someone needs to know being told No on so many levels doesn’t mean your dream has to stop and you should never give up on yourself .. plain and simple!
Giving up should never be an option .. so this is why I still push.. I still grind … even with being told No countless times, even when my finances are not the best, even when I don’t have a huge following … I CAN’T STOP!!! All the blessings will come … practicing patience is fundamental and extremely vital in this music journey.
The road to your passion is never easy but the obstacles we face during the journey is making us wiser, sharper, more disciplined and more purposeful.
I’m always going to go back to the drawing board because I’m addicted to making this dream come true.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am an artist (singer/songwriter) born and raised in Miami, FL and now living in Los Angeles, California. My business “TamikaJMusic” specializes in a collection of songs written by me. It’s a body of transparent stories told through melodies, harmonies, instruments, poetry, movement, performances and lyrics, as India Arie would say, it’s a “songversation.”
What sets me apart from others, is my mission is to make purpose dope again, to
make timeless music, to create performances that are electrifying, to use music through my body. I believe what also sets me apart is my willingness to put my heart and soul in my music and in my performances and remain original. There are so many artists that wanna be apart of the same wave… I choose to be original as hell and create my own wave.
What makes me proud is when my supporters share their story with me. I’ve had so many moments where a supporter of my music comes up to me with tears telling me how my music and performance blessed them! Those moments will NEVER get old!
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
First and foremost, having a form of peace is crucial in this industry and in being successful. Your form of peace could be prayer, meditation, attending church, working out … whatever it is you go to it’s important because in those moments of winning and failing you still need to grab hold of your peace to keep you focused.
Great characteristics and qualities I feel that are important, is confidence while remaining humble, always willing to be a student and learn, always willing to be a leader to help others, learning when to say NO and learning when to say YES, listening to your artist intuition, willing to recharge to stay fresh, standing up for yourself, trusting yourself, celebrating your wins, learning from your losses.
The biggest thing I’ve learned in this journey is to enjoy the moment… be present and like my mommy always says “Be patient.”
- Vocal/Performance training $60/hour
- Website: www.tamikajmusic.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @tamikajmusic
- Facebook: Fb.com/tamikajmusic
- Twitter: @tamikajmusic
@Kenirish, Prin Mayowa, Chris Jackson, @CynHilaire