We first came across Tanerélle’s captivating imagery on her Instagram and were super stoked to find out she makes equally mesmerizing music. Songs like “In Women We Trust”, “Dreamgirl” and “Siren” will have you seriously feeling yourself–with lyrics that strike a delicate balance of female empowerment and raw vulnerability. We hopped on a call with the singer/songwriter to talk all things music, art school, and owning your image with purpose.
Do you remember the first song you ever wrote?
It’s embarrassing! There was this song called “Curious” when I first started writing songs. I think I was about 8 and I started by writing parody songs. It was so embarrassing. I wrote a parody song to the instrumental of “Curious” called “Ashy”.
How did your songwriting process evolve?
I think it was a way of having fun. I was writing poems, stories, and more serious things when I started getting a little older at like age 12. Around that age you start acknowledging the emotions you’re experiencing and that’s when I started writing more real things I was going through. When I was in college I started to really crafting and perfecting my songwriting because I had this teacher who really pushed me to open up that space within myself because he knew it was there. I don’t really have a routine when i’m writing. Its whatever comes to me, I could write a song in 10 minutes or it could take me months. I’m kind of all over the place–I don’t have a set way of how I write it.
When did you first start sharing your personal work and start to realize that you wanted to record and pursue it as a career?
My whole life I always knew I wanted to be a singer/songwriter and an actress. I started sharing my work on a bigger scale in my creative writing class in college. I started getting a reaction out of people. Typically when we got an assignment, everyone in class would write a story. But I was just like, let me write a song. It was kind of embarrassing but then everyone was like “wow, I didn’t know you sang”. We had a show called The Happening that I auditioned for. It was integral, abstract art kind of put together into one show. I would look forward to that and that’s when I started singing my music more. All of these people would show up from our school and I’d test my material there. That show was such an important part of my evolution as an artist.
Who is your favorite musician dead or alive?
I can never have a favorite. Top three would be Nina Simone, Solange, and Michael Jackson. And Stevie Wonder. I probably have like a top 100.
You have a super strong aesthetic that compliments your music so perfectly. How did you come to a place where you can use that visual piece to represent your message and your vibe of who you are as an artist?
It was just a matter of becoming more confident with myself. I definitely watched my brand evolve from when I hated me and when I was going through moments of trying to love myself. So it’s like whether I’m posing for things that are other worldly, I finally feel confident to say that these things do represent me. There was a time when I thought things were too powerful to represent me. I feel like it was a mini evolution within myself.
What would you say to girls who are looking to feel more comfortable in their own skin?
Isolate yourself. Whether it’s in your home or nature, I would look inward instead of looking outward at everyone else. Comparison can be deadly. Realize that you are the only person who can live your life. Start with that and look at all the things that aren’t superficial. I think we focus on the physical too much and that keeps people from loving themselves. It’s this thing that’s temporary anyway. It’s kind of a hard question for me because I’m still working on it. Literally just two years ago I started loving me. It’s still a work in progress.
What’s your favorite mantra right now?
I made it up and I’ve been saying it for the last five years. I say it all day every day: “I am happy, healthy, wealthy, peaceful, successful, love, whole and safe”. I read something that my mom sent me and it was talking about the universe and God being specific. You have to be very specific about the things you ask for. You can ask for wealth, but not be happy, healthy, or peaceful. So I before I came up with this mantra I sat down and was like “What are all the things I want?”.
Speaking of the power of words, your music explores feminine energy in a very powerful way. What has inspired that approach?
Honestly my struggle within myself. When I decided to isolate myself, I started to realize that all of the answers have to be outside of me. A lot of times I’m writing a song that is encouraging and uplifting about femininity and how powerful and amazing we are, it’s really just me advising myself. Writing, for me, is very therapeutic. I can be feeling the worst when I’m writing songs that are uplifting that are meant for people to charge on and take over the fucking world. My music is just me encouraging myself which in turn encourages other people.
If you had to choose one item in your wardrobe that you can’t live without, what would it be?
My black velvet bell bottoms that I’ve been rocking the last three years. If anything happened to them, I’d be devastated. I can’t live without bell bottoms.
How would you describe your style in three words?
Simple, sexy, and sometimes sporty.
What’s your spirit animal?
A mixture of a puppy and an elephant. I’ve always been drawn to elephants because of their graciousness, calm, and all-knowing but not disruptive spirit. They’re like this grand presence that always calms everyone around them. But also I’m a puppy because I’m very excited and I want love all the time. I should have a sexy spirit animal like a panther, but it’s not me everyday. It’s okay to not be a panther or tiger.
What’s your favorite film genre?
I don’t have one, I love all film. It’s a big part of my life. I do really love dramas. But I also rom-coms and stuff like that.
What’s your favorite drama?
What can we look out for from you?
I’m working on new music and also a new show. I hope to be touring as well! I’m working nonstop and trying to create as much as I can. I’ve also been working on a book. Just trying to stay busy, but I can’t really tell when everything is going to be released.
Where should we keep up with you?
My Instagram! That’s where I update everything.