“It’s really crazy. You never know how people are going to receive your music, so it’s a blessing,” Tiana Major9 tells me. We are speaking the day after her track “Think About You” has reached 10m streams on Spotify alone and she is reflecting on how it feels to have so many people resonating with her music. It is quite the achievement for a relatively new artist, but for Tiana it is just the latest in an ever-growing list of accolades that already boasts Grammy and MOBO nominations, as well as a record deal with one of the world’s most prestigious labels. After being discovered by Motown through a producer she was working with, Tiana was flown out to LA to meet with people at the label and after a period of talks, signed with them in 2019. Shortly after she released “Collide”, a collaboration with EARTHGANG that featured in the film Queen & Slim, and was subsequently nominated for Best R&B Song at the Grammy Awards 2020. Tiana talks about these events candidly, but it is clear the reality of her situation is still sinking in: “It doesn’t feel real yet, but it’s everything that I’ve been working towards.”
From reimagining tracks to taking her sound in experimental new directions, the singer is evolving, elevating and still taking it all in.
Growing up in east London, Tiana was surrounded by music. Whether it was the gospel she would hear in church or the jazz records that resonated through her childhood home, she has always loved how therapeutic music can be, and expresses that graduating from being a fan to becoming an artist was simply an inevitability for her. The sounds she grew up listening to have certainly permeated into her own music but by no means define Tiana; her catalogue spans different genres and to say she does this comfortably would be an understatement. The power of her voice and self-confidence in her abil- ity both technically and lyrically are a combination to be reckoned with. To put it simply, the girl is a star.
Tiana’s latest single “On Read” is a collaboration with New Orleans-based rising star Lucky Daye and is a slight change of pace from her existing rep- ertoire, opting for booming 808s in this latest display of her versatility as an artist. “It’s not to say this is the kind of sound I’m gonna be making going forward, if anything it’s to show people that I can make this if I want to,” she says. The track is lifted from the remixed version of Tiana’s “At Sixes And Sevens” EP, which is set for release this spring. The new version shows the tracks in a new light, and includes collaborations with a few of Tiana’s friends and favourite artists including SiR, JVCK JAMES and BEAM. This is not the first reworking of the project; it follows the sublime acoustic version, aptly named “Back At Sixes And Sevens”, that was released in December of last year. At a time where live music is a distant memory for all of us, projects like these might just be the next best thing, giving fans reimagined versions of the tracks they love.
That’s not all fans of Tiana have to look forward to this year; listeners of her “At Sixes And Sevens” EP will already be familiar with her affirmations, appearing as interludes throughout the project. “Not gonna lie, when I was recording them I was cringing ‘cause I think my speaking voice on record is weird, but people really liked them,” Tiana explains, so much so that she is planning to release an affirmations project, “Major Mantras”, with more of the same this year.
Tiana’s journey over the past 18 months has seen her go from strength to strength and she isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. In fact, this feels like just the beginning, and whilst she may have already set a high bar, she assures me that she is up for any challenge: “I do feel pressure, but it comes from myself and wanting to do better than what I did before… I just wanna keep on elevating.”