The Spotlight Sessions: Tanisha "Water"The Spotlight Sessions: Tanisha "Water"
The Spotlight Sessions:
Tanisha "Water"
The Spotlight Sessions:
Tanisha "Water"

The Spotlight Sessions: 
Tanisha "Water"
Published September 13, 2016.

At the age of 22, Toronto singer and songwriter Tanisha has come into her own as an independent artist with a unique, atmospheric soul sound. She describes her music as “R&B and alternative,” and clearly has the confidence to make original moves, even calling her newly launched record label Not What You Expected (NWYE).

Tanisha developed her powerful voice through five years spent singing with the Toronto Children’s Concert Choir, along with performing at open mics, talent shows, and a range of community events. Also a writer and arranger, she released Water, her debut EP, in 2014 and has since worked with a variety of producers to release a steady stream of singles.

Along with releasing more of her own music in 2016, Tanisha has begun to perform live far more frequently. She partly attributes these gains to completing the Artist Entrepreneur Program, offered by Canada’s Music Incubator and supported by TD. There, Tanisha also recorded a performance video of her song “Water.”
Watch the video above, and read on to learn more about Tanisha’s thoughts on the Artist Entrepreneur Program, growth as an artist, and more.

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You came up singing in a choir and at events like Honey Jam; what are some of the most important lessons learned during those teen years?
“Growing up as a performer, the most important skill I learned was independence. I learned how to be responsible for myself, and what was required of me as an artist - from wardrobe to being on time, making sure I was warmed up, drank lots of water, and got rest. I networked, learned about venues, practised being in front of an audience, got comfortable on stage, got to know my voice live, and saw how people reacted to hearing me. As a teen, I was building all of the skills an independent artist really needs, without even knowing it.”

More recently, you participated in CMI’s Artist Entrepreneur Program; what has that given you?
“The program helped me gain the confidence I needed to push myself independently. I earned a much better understanding of the music business, marketing/branding and, most of all, of my power as an artist. As the creator, you're your own boss and should be in control of your art in as many ways as you can be. Rather than waiting for opportunities to come along, I created the opportunities I wanted to be a part of. Since completing the AE program, I have founded my own record label, performed a bunch of live shows, and curated my very first headlining show - things that, before the program, I would have said I wanted to do ‘One day.’”
Your video for “Water” was recorded live at CMI; please tell us about the song.
“Just as water takes the shape of whatever you put it in, I wrote ‘Water’ about my journey and learning to adapt to new situations in life and in love. ‘Water’ was also my first time writing, recording and releasing my own original music so it was exciting!”

Toronto is your home. How has the city most informed you as an artist?
“Toronto has been home my whole life. It's the place I really grew and fell in love with music. There's so much freedom here to be yourself, and I definitely take that approach when creating music. It’s an exciting time to be an artist in Toronto because the spotlight is on, the city is bursting with great artists, and the world is ready to listen.”

Photos by Jay Kamino