At this point in her career, Tamera knows exactly what she wants from life. “I’d rather be respected than be famous.” The London-based R&B singer and songwriter has just released her debut EP titled Afrodite, and is taking the London music scene by storm. With each of Tamera’s grandparents originating from different countries (namely St Lucia, Nigeria, England and Greece), Tamera’s cultural influences and touch points have always been a melting pot. This latest EP is an emotive exploration of love, life and her connection to her heritage, as she explores a new found feminine empowerment through her mellow yet powerful music.
Afrodite is a 5-track statement of Tamera’s musical self. A melodically and sonically strong body of work, the EP includes the sultry West African influenced ‘Wickedest’, the warm slice of R&B magic ‘Strong For Me’, and the most recent single ‘Good Love’ ft. Tay Iwar,whilst also featuring two new, unheard tracks ‘New Hobby’ and ‘Angel Dust’. The EP was crafted with producer and cultural-mainstay P2J (Wizkid, Snoh Aalegra, Beyoncé), and the tracks see Tamera exuding the strong divine feminine energy that the title guarantees.
As visually intoxicating as she is sonically, Tamera recently shared the video for her ‘Good Love’ track in which she stars. Directed by Helena Coan, the video is an amalgamation of soft vintage textures and bold early 00s pop video aesthetics. The camera follows Tamera, appearing much like a female deity, rocking a stunning afro haircut while subtly nodding through the props and styling to religious and ancient Greek iconography as well as African culture.
Tied together by endless curiosity for experimentation and natural empathy, Tamera delivers an impressive range of tunes built upon string quartets, guitars, afrobeat patterns and soulful rhythms. “I don’t really like super glossy, perfect things. I like things with character, scars, stories and triumph - all of that inspires me so much, it’s what I live for.” Tamera’s world oozes subtle Afrobeat-meets-soulful sensations, a vintage feel, and a strong feminine touch and personality.
Always the optimist, Tamera spoke to MSM about her most recent EP, her diverse cultural background and the passion for authenticity that made her the rising star she is today.
Hi Tamera, could you tell us about your recent work, Afrodite?
Afrodite is my first EP release, and it definitely feels like my baby! It came from a very bold, flirtatious feminine energy point. I had just emerged from a strenuous relationship and wasn’t feeling great about myself. Then I realized I have to shed a lot of baggage to finally feel free and good about myself. It became important to express myself freely with my music and fall in love with life again. That was the main driving force behind Afrodite.
You come from a very diverse cultural background. How does that influence your music, your aesthetics?
From a very young age, I have been introduced to several different cultures through my family. I mostly grew up in a white family - I didn’t know my father’s side of the family back then.
While my family was great, growing up I felt a bit different, an outcast. I remember back in secondary school I had two beautiful African girlfriends - through them, I was initially introduced to my African heritage. When I moved to London, I came across such a multicultural environment that fascinated me. Naming my project Afrodite was part of this realization; it stems from the word “Aphrodite” who is the Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure and passion in mythology. I am also half Greek, so it felt fitting! As a nod to my African roots, I used the spelling “Afrodite”.
Your music also has very diverse influences...
The predominant sonics of the project are heavily influenced by African culture and my producer is P2J , who is an amazing African artist! We both got inspired by so many different things, culturally and creatively. You can hear the different influencers in the music; they create a perfect blend of passion, vulnerability, and fearlessness.
The Afrodite video clip exudes strong feminine energy. Why is that important for you?
Well, at the beginning of the project I kind of felt restricted, definitely not 100% myself. I grew up feeling confident, strong and empowered so it felt quite uneasy to view myself from a self-doubt standpoint.
That feeling initiated the journey of stepping back into myself, becoming the woman I have always wanted to become - the fearless woman I have been raised to be. The lockdown period found me at home trying to reevaluate my feelings and emotions. I transcended my past and suddenly felt really empowered, much like a strong, feminine, boss woman ready to conquer the world again! This is the feeling I wanted to encapsulate in Afrodite. I am not the only woman to have been through this journey of self-discovery and I wanted to share that.
Let's talk a bit about music; what are the artists or genres that have influenced you?
I love all music and like to listen to almost everything. When I was younger I loved listening to pop music such as Whitney Houston or Michael Jackson with my mother. Then I discovered more R'n'B tracks such as Tupac, Biggie, and Mary J Blige. Listening to those sounds opened up a whole new world to me.
My grandma is a minister in a church, so growing up I used to listen to a lot of Christian music as well. Also, the people I’ve met over the years making music and working inside the studio have introduced me to so many different musical genres and details. As a person, I try my best to listen to music from different eras and times - I love a lot of styles and try to replicate those feelings in my music.
WORDS BY: Ilia Sybil Sdralli
PHOTOGRAPHY AND EDIT Ryan O’Callaghan @lonestarism
STYLIST / CREATIVE DIRECTOR Oliver James @oliverjosephjames
HAIR Chaniqwa Brown @chaniqwaa
MAKE UP Molly Whiteley @molly_whiteley
NAILS MEGAN @brixton_klaws
STYLIST ASSISTANT Arlana @arlanaweekes
TALENT Tamera @Tamera