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Local Artist Spotlight: Tanikka Charraé

After years of backing some of R&B and hip hop’s top talents, Tanikka Charraé is now front and center as a soulful songstress and budding fashion mogul. This Philly native is bound for superstardom as she follows in the footsteps of the city’s greatest entertainers and entrepreneurs. A #girlboss in her own right, her solo career has risen to the forefront with the release of her latest single, “Better.” Not only that, this artist has also launched her own fashion brand, PRETTY SOUL.

Check out our interview with Tanikka Charraé for more on her passion for Philly, soul music, and the importance of going green.

PPRG: You have worked with some of the biggest names in music, i.e. Lauryn Hill, J. Cole, Nas, and more. What was your experience like breaking into the industry?

Tanikka: It’s been pretty cool so far. I think the most nerve-racking part is feeling out the artist! But being from Philly, you automatically get a little dose of “too-cool-for-school.” So for me, I put my confidence in my talent and remembered that it’s a job first. I just want to do it to the best of my ability.

PPRG: Well congrats, since it’s clearly paid off! Now you’ve reached the point to pursue a full-fledged solo career. How would you describe your transformation from when you started to the artist that you are today?

Tanikka: Thank you!!! Well, the transformation of moving from the background to the forefront… There’s a lot of pressure to perform, to sing well, and to represent a city full of LEGENDS. When you’re in the background, you’re just a PART of the show… In the forefront, you ARE the show. So naturally, there are some nerves that come with that. For me, there’s a bit of over-analyzing because I’ve seen how a show runs from back to front.

PPRG: Your new EP, featuring hit single “Better,” will be released to the public, shortly. What makes your upcoming project unique to your previous work?

Tanikka: The single “Better” is actually out now on all musical platforms!! The EP is entitled, (background) FAME. What makes it different from my other music is the confidence that I have behind it now. Before, I was SO concerned about what everyone thought about the songs. Not that I am not concerned now, but I ask myself first, “Do you like it” and “How would you perform it?” If I see the vision, I get excited. I’ve learned to trust myself and my own opinion more. I used to be more concerned with how the music made everyone else feel, what genre I fit in, etc.

PPRG: YES, we love that kind of power and self love! Speaking of love, it’s safe to say that we all adore Philadelphia. As a native, how has the city shaped you as an artist and a woman?

Tanikka: Some of music’s BEST has come out of this city! Phyllis Hyman, Gamble and Huff, Jill Scott, The Roots, Bilal, Musiq, Jazmine… the list goes on! When you come from a city with that type of talent, two things happen. (For me anyway.) You get excited and you get scared. There’s the excitement and pride of where you’re from. But on the other hand, it can be scary when the bar is set so high. With that being said, this city has given us the knowledge of what talent sounds and looks like. Now, we must execute and make the city proud. I work really hard because I want to represent it in the best way possible.

PPRG: From all these great artists you named, who has been an influencer and/or a mentor to you?

Tanikka: Mr. Hollie has been such a positive and encouraging influence in my life. He’s pushed me and made me truly take my craft seriously. Naturally, I am a perfectionist, and I don’t always release certain music because of it. He’s encouraged me to give myself room to grow… and keep pushing. Don’t lose time waiting on things to be perfect.

PPRG: That’s great advice. You definitely don’t have any spare time to waste. Not only are you a singer/songwriter, you also have your own clothing line. Were you inspired by other Philly artists or businesses to start PRETTY SOUL CLOTHING?

Tanikka: Well, I have a friend named Rhodney, who plays bass. When I first started doing background, I remember being so fascinated with him owning his own massage parlor. I remembered asking, “So you don’t just do music?” He told me, “You have to have your hand in a bunch of things!” From there, I started making sure I had my hands in a few different pots. It was some of the best advice I’ve received, ever.

PPRG: We love that PRETTY SOUL CLOTHING is not only fashionable, but it also promotes the importance of being socially responsible. What was your motivation behind being environmentally aware and spreading a message of love and selflessness?

Tanikka: Thanks so much! One day, when I was on tour, I felt like God gave me the idea of Pretty Soul. I was so tired of people always being so obsessed with what artists looked like, rather than how they sounded. I’ve witnessed so many PRETTY girls with zero personality get a gig instead of talented ones that don’t fit the  “standard” mold. It’s a disheartening part of the industry, and I felt a disconnect with what was actually important. For me personally, I’ve always had a complex of being “too brown” and obsessing over the outer, rather than something deeper. Then, I started researching doing my own clothing line, and the research pointed me in the direction of eco-friendliness. Though, I’ve always been a recycle junkie because it’s important and just makes sense. Plus, all these fabrics that interested me were better quality, too!

PPRG: We couldn’t agree more. Tell us how you’d like to see Philadelphia become more green in the years to come.

Tanikka: I would like for people to REALLY be conscious of good recycling. And I’d like to see more recycling cans on the streets. Everywhere! Recycling should be second nature, like how people throw away trash. We really need to make a conscious effort to protect the planet. Then, I’d like to see us take it a step further and start eating cleaner and healthier, too.

PPRG: These are goals we can definitely get on board with. How do you hope to impact them through your service and music?

Tanikka: Pretty soul” is truly a lifestyle. It’s about treating each other better, treating ourselves better, spreading love, and living life intentionally. I’m just an ordinary person with everyday problems but how they are handled is what makes the difference. One of my biggest life lessons is that I can only control myself. My actions, my responses, the way I carry myself is all on me. It’s been important to adopt the concept of being deliberate with my actions and responses.

The music and clothing line help me to create a platform for this “pretty soul” concept.

PPRG: Well, we can’t wait to hear your new EP! In the meantime, what else can fans be on the look out for in the near future?

Tanikka: The Fall 2017 line for Pretty Soul is coming out in the next few weeks, as well as some videos for the music.

 

Follow Tanikka Charraé by visiting her website or following her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.