Tanika Charles

“The most buzzed-about soul singer in Toronto.”

“One of the big hitters of 2017” - Craig Charles (BBC 6 Music)

“The most buzzed about soul singer in Toronto” – CBC Music

“Charles imbues the universal themes of relationships with wholly emotive singing, layered vocal arrangements and pinpoint lyrical dexterity” – CBC Music (First Play)

“You don’t have to know Charles to be instantly drawn in by her charisma; it’s like sitting at the bar with a girl who has endlessly hilarious tales to tell” – Now Magazine

In a few short years Tanika Charles has transformed from an emerging solo artist to a commanding performer and band leader, a staple in the Canadian soul scene, both on stage and off. Edmonton raised Charles presents an immutable charm, at times endearingly abrasive and honest in her vulnerabilities. If Tanika’s singing it, she’s lived it!

Her touring career has seen her supporting the likes of Estelle, Mayer Hawthorne, Haitus Kayote, Lauryn Hill, Bendouin Soundclash and Macy Gray. Highly impressive, considering she is only just releasing her debut album to the world, after her low-key EP release, ‘What! What? What!?’, back in 2010.

‘Soul Run’ is an album which strikes a seamless balance between that warm authentic vintage soul sound, yet contains a contemporary twist to it. A tricky thing to accomplish, however, Tanika has undeniably managed to achieve this, judging by the glowing reviews she has already received from her native Canadian press.

Aside from the distinguished reviews circulating in her home country, she has also performed on some of the most prestigious TV shows in Canada; such as CTV’s show ‘Canada AM’, Global’s ‘The Morning Show’ and City TV’s ‘Breakfast Television’ and her songs are regularly aired on Canada’s national radio station CBC. ‘Soul Run’ has also garnered her a Polaris nomination. (Canada’s Mercury Prize equivalent).

Growing up on a musical diet of Patti Labelle, Jill Scott, Bob James, Stevie Wonder, D’Angelo, Bjork and The Black Crows, Charles’ eclectic music taste subconsciously shines through in ‘Soul Run’. A name which came from a tragic part of Tanika’s life.

“Soul Run is a post breakup album. It’s not about a breakup as such, but about finding yourself after hitting the reset button”, Charles makes clear. Trapped in an emotionally abusive relationship in rural Canada, resulted in her “borrowing” her then fiancée’s car and running away to Toronto to begin her singing career, never looking back.

Tanika’s interest in music was very much inspired by her older brother, a musician and producer who is very active locally in Edmonton. My older brother actually suggested I start singing and recording. He opened a studio up and I remember the TRITON keyboard being his pride and joy. He played most brass instruments and wrote music. He even attracted interest from the likes of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. While he never really pursued fame, a lot of artists in the city sought him out for music. He just really enjoyed making music” she clarifies.

Singing was always a passion of hers but never once did she imagine it would become a full-time career. Encouraged by a friend to attend a background singing audition, Tanika reminisces; “I couldn’t believe it, I actually got the part and ended up touring the globe with Bedouin Soundclash, something I never dreamt I would be doing!”.

After a couple of years singing other people’s songs, she figured out it was time to start telling her own story, and began to gather some of her friends and peers in Toronto together. The outcome was a beautifully crafted eleven track album, ‘Soul Run’, cobbled together in various Toronto studios on a shoestring budget.

All but one of the songs on the album were co-writes, mostly with local songwriter, Ian James Jones. ‘Darkness And The Dawn’, which happens to be Tanika’s favourite song on the album was written solely by herself. A song about a heart-breaking relationship she experienced. “Once the song was recorded and finished, I cannot begin to tell you how therapeutic it was”.

Production was handled by Slakah The Beatchild (BBE Records) best known as a producer for artists such as Drake and Justin Nozuka, Daniel Lee (Hooded Fang & Phedre), Jesse Bear (Sean Kingston, Zaki Ibrahim), Matt ‘Emdee’ Reid and Anthony Corsi.

Tanika explains her recording process; “We initially began to follow a sort of Motown-revival sound that has become increasingly popular, but along the way the decision was made to embrace the instrumentation of that era, while still seeking contemporary sonics”.

Part of the charm of ‘Soul Run’ is Tanika’s natural ability to wear her heart on her sleeve, “I am inherently open and forthcoming emotionally and for me it was important to showcase who I really am to those willing to listen, there is no façade, this is the real me.”


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