Emerging hip-hop artist Tabby Wakes is greeting us this week with her new debut EP. The 22-year-old artist is based in New York. She took her first steps into the entertainment industry at the tender age of 14 as Tabby Time, an event planner for parties. This past summer, Wakes dropped out of college and opened a music studio with her friend in Queens. She was signed to Fool’s Gold Records, with whom she will release her EP. In addition to making music, Tabby also works with the feminist skate collective Brujas and streetwear company Milkcrate Athletics. We sat down with Tabby to discuss her new music.
Irène Schrader: Hi! How does it feel releasing your first EP?
Tabby Wakes: Pretty excited, honestly!
IS: How long have you been working on it?
TW: Probably all year — all of 2018.
IS: Do you usually first come up with a melody, or do the lyrics come first?
TW: Honestly, it depends on the moment! I could come up with a verse before I come up with a melody and that’s just all part of a process. Sometimes it’s different — sometimes I’ll just keep going with a flow.
IS: What are some of your biggest musical influences?
TW: Literally just life [laughs]! Everything I do and my day-to-day experiences.
IS: So you’d say most, if not all, of your songs are drawn from real life experiences?
TW: Yes, but for example for “Neverland” – I’ve never been to Neverland! [laughs] I don’t think anyone’s been there. It’s more interpretative of my life. Being descriptive, but not too much. I could be talking about something specific to my life that would mean something else to another person listening to my song.
IS: Did you encounter any challenges breaking into the entertainment industry as a woman of colour?
TW: I mean, as a woman of colour in the industry, I’m comfortable, and I’m having a good time so far. It hasn’t really been a problem!
IS: Was it scary to take a break from school to pursue music?
TW: Definitely. Yeah, I was in school and I went for freshman year and then left and opened a music studio upstate. I came back to school because it closed down… Leaving wasn’t even about the work itself, but living in a dorm, for example, made working on music really difficult. So, I knew I had to go back to New York and do what I want to do. I was scared for sure! I can see a disadvantage in not having a degree, and I do feel like I’ll go back and get a degree at some point, but right now, I’m just gonna focus on this.
IS: Do you ever plan on going on tour?
TW: Yeah, I do. Hopefully, once the EP drops I’m going to figure out where I tour, and I’m so excited!
IS: Are there any future projects you’re working on you’d like to tell us about?
TW: I have been working on a bunch of new music, and I’d like to play some songs that aren’t out when I’m performing. And I think that vibe is kind of cool because some people will be able to say they’ve heard some stuff that can only be heard live… Like, back in the day when they didn’t have the digital.
IS: What advice do you have for any female artists trying to make it in the music industry?
TW: Definitely! Just keep working, literally be about your art. If you want to do it, just stick to it and do whatever you can to put your best foot forward. Stay focused.
Listen to Tabby Wakes’s music >here<
Featured image by Aidan Bradley