Tia Carys is making waves across the UK’s music scene as a female rapper. Her impressive freestyles over iconic instrumentals, dubbed “Teestyles” posted on Instagram, has caught the attention of Nadia Rose, Chip and Wretch 32. She is now signed to the same management as Adele, Beyonce and Dua Lipa – we sit down with Tia and discuss her journey so far.
Despite her musical background, Tia spent the first years of her life unable to hear. When asked about the adversities she faced because of this, Tia was unphased and answered, “I don’t really remember not being able to hear. I recall multiple operations to try to correct it, which didn’t always work. In terms of everyday life, I think back to when I COULD hear and all I could hear was music as cliche as it sounds.”
In her debut single, ‘English x Ghana’, Tia pays tribute to her mixed heritage and shot her music video in Accra. As soon as I mentioned Ghana, Tia lit up and exclaimed, “Ghana was breathtaking! I’d had a few misconceptions about the motherland because the only means of experiencing it prior was through how the western world depicted it on television, but it was INCREDIBLE.”
With a huge smile, showcasing her perfect teeth, she continued, “The people, with their kindness and unity, the scenery, food… I was just confused as to how they made a city like Accra look so different in the media. The highlight was definitely going to visit my family’s house out there.”
Tia has been honing her craft since she was a teenager and it was the hours of dedication that has awarded her with the success that she sees today. She recalled, “My journey started when I met my hip hop teacher, who’d make me come in an hour earlier than everyone else for dance class and he’d give me a different song every week to explore and freestyle to and we’d sit and listen to all of the different instruments and rhythms and freestyle to each one we could find.”
She continued, “Like every little girl, I wanted to be a pop star and knew singing was a long shot. So upon being physically compared to, female rapper, Paigey Cakey, I started to explore rap through the next few years; watching YouTube, learning new vocabulary and uploading freestyle videos to Instagram as I had no budget. I guess my style developed when I’d listen to UK rapper cyphers and freestyles and took a liking to Wretch, Avelino and Chip’s content and lyrical ability and J Hus’s persona.”
Tia’s training comes from landing a scholarship at the prestigious Italia Conti performing arts school. She said, “My time at Italia Conti was amazing for the most part. The opportunity came when my parents no longer had the budget to pay for my dance classes, exams, performances, costumes etc, so to have gained a full scholarship when I needed it most, was the world at work.
She continued, “I went on to train in multiple styles including ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, musical theatre etc, as well as acting and singing. We’d have eight hour days and the studio was all of our favourite places because there was no social/racial grouping or hierarchy. We had all ages, genders and backgrounds bonding over the one passion we had – dance. Dance also teaches you discipline, respect, patience and a lot of hard work. Everyone gets the same one hour in class but it’s how you utilise the time when you’re by yourself to perfect that routine to bring back the next week.”
During the harshest winter month of 2019, Tia joined ‘The World’s Big Sleep Out’ as a way to raise awareness for homelessness. She stated, “I wanted to join this experience because I was kicked out and sofa surfing quite young; whilst I thought I had it hard trying to find new places to sleep, not once did I have to sleep on the street corner, whereas so many people aren’t as lucky.”
She continued, “The night we did it, it was freezing cold and raining and I’d woken up in a huge puddle that soaked all of my belongings – yet, this is just a fraction of the hardships homeless people face day-today. There’s this taboo that the homeless are addicts or criminals, but a lot of them have either lost families or are just unfortunate. I met amazing people with incredible stories and whilst I don’t miss the extreme weather that night, I’d 100% do it again.
Tia lauds Wretch 32 as the “lyrical G.O.A.T.” and adds excitedly, “You know he’s not here for the image, but the art and craft itself,” and when mentioning that he has also praised her talent, her eyes widen and with a smile, she declared, “INSANE.”
She continued, “It also made me think that if it was this attainable to capture the attention of one of my biggest inspirations, imagine what else I could accomplish if I continued. Wretch has shown love and support from day one and even now that the world’s worked it’s magical ways and we’re under the same team, he’s been that support more than ever before because he recognises that the youth are next up and that his generation of rappers are a massive stepping stone to the scene today. It’s amazing.”
It is without a doubt that Tia’s talent, hardwork and determination will see her rise to the top.