Tanatswa Estina at an early stage of her life found herself playing the keyboard her parents bought for her and her brother as well. After been introduced to poetry in second grade, her mother who is also a poet helped her a lot to sharpen her skill. This helped Estina to gracefully grow with her pen game
She draws inspiration from her favourite artiste, Kimbra, Jojo, SZA and Beyonce. She stated how these acts inspires her differently in a recent interview with Mister Styx of Musicarenagh.
Tanatswa Estina.’s debut solo EP “I will stay for myself.” debuts Friday, October 21st.
“This alternative rock album is a marriage of Tanatswa’s influences. From the driving post-hardcore guitars as executed by bands like Blindside, to the jangly riffs and melodic bass rhythms as originated by Zimbabwean folk bands like The Green Arrows; experiential vocals as influenced by Kimbra, and the confessional lyrics influenced by artists like SZA.”
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What is your stage name?
Is there a story behind your stage name?
It’s my first and middle name. Estina is my paternal grandmother’s name. And I’m really proud of her and of what she accomplished in her lifetime. I feel powerful when I am identified as Tanatswa Estina.
Where do you find inspiration?
Life. For my music, I’m always trying to capture the specifics of a feeling I’ve had. Something that can’t be described by one word. I also really love music you can dance to, so I try to incorporate driving rhythms in all of my work.
What was the role of music in the early years of your life?
When I was little, and to this day, music has made me feel seen. I’ve always found peace in the way songs can convey very specific and intense human emotions.
The ability to hear a melody and/or lyrics and be like “Wait a minute! Someone else feels this way too!?” is so valuable to me. That sensation provides a bit of hope in sad moments and bliss in joyful ones. It makes me feel connected and it sort of feels like home. And I hope my music can provide the same experience for others.
Are you from a musical or artistic family?
Sort of. We’re Africans, so we all deeply appreciate music and need it to survive.
Who inspired you to be a part of the music industry?
The Cheetah Girls. Lol, no. No one did. I would love to have the option to do music full time, and trying to be a part of the music industry, as it were, is a part of that process.
How did you learn to sing/write/to play?
In 2nd grade, the teacher introduced our class to poetry. My mom is a poet, so during that time my mom and I would share our poems with each other. My parents also bought a keyboard for my brother and me that year, and I would use it to make melodies to go with my poems. I never really learned how to play the keyboard, but I picked up a guitar in middle school, and the practice of songwriting stuck.
What was the first concert that you ever went to and who did you see perform?
Lol, it was Cheri Keaggy, this adult contemporary CCM artist my parents brought me to.
How could you describe your music?
I wish I could give a more succinct answer. My music is driving existential rock music, with playful vocals.
Describe your creative process.
It starts with a feeling. Usually, the first sentence and first line of the vocal melody arrive at the same time. Then I have to sit with that line and what I’m trying to get off of my chest for a bit. Slowly more words pour out and then melody. Normally, I finish the melody first and run out of words to complete the song.
This is frustrating, but it can be a good opportunity for me to loop back around to the lyrics and see if I’m actually saying what I what to convey. I know I like a song if it gets stuck in my head and I start to hear harmonies and other parts that can be built around it.
What is your main inspiration?
I don’t have one.
What musician do you admire most and why?
I’m cheating, I’m doing 4. I really love Kimbra, Jojo, SZA and Beyonce. Kimbra, because she does excellent weird things with her voice and her music; and she helped me to love my voice. Jojo because she has been a musical inspiration to me since middle school. Also, how she navigated a horrendous music contract and still found the strength to push forward inspires me.
SZA because her lyrics are so raw and open and I aspire to write the same.
And Beyonce because she is a masterclass on talent and hard work; and her ability to have a strong musical identity yet genre bend is amazing.
Essentially, these women inspire bravery in their songs, creative expression, and in the way they navigate the music industry.
Did your style evolve since the beginning of your career?
A little. With this being my first solo EP, my career still developing. However, the guitars are heavier, the subject matter is a bit more personal, and there aren’t as many sad lyrics hidden behind a happy beat.
Who do you see as your main competitor?
No one. I’m not trying to compete with others. Life is too short, the world is too diverse, and I’m too busy to compete with others.
What are your interests outside of music?
Data. I love studying why people do what they do and patterns. I’m also really interested in housing.
If it wasn’t a music career, what would you be doing?
Maybe archeology. It would be cool to study history at that level without a Eurocentric worldview.
What is the biggest problem you have encountered on the journey of music?
Time, money, access. I’m privileged to do as much as I am right now; but I think all indie musicians would say the same 3 things.
If you could change one thing in the music industry, what would it be?
The culture. I think that because business is first for many people in the industry; it is easy for them to do things according to what has already been done (or rehash something that is trendy) because it has been tested and approved by the markets. I think that stunts as a society. Lucky with the internet, that has been changing and will hopefully continue to change.
Why did you choose this as the title of this project?
Because, as I was writing this EP, I realized that I was the most fickle person in my life. Whenever I experienced lows, or shame, or hardship, I would expect my friends to bail on me. Instead, they would stay around and be my family; even when I wanted to abandon myself.
“I will stay for myself.” is a declaration of commitment. I will own and love who I am, even when things are hard, even if I do things wrong, even if I don’t accomplish everything I hope to, and even if nobody else does.
What are your plans for the coming months?
I plan to tour the EP and I hope to meet and perform with some new musicians. It’s been a while since I’ve performed my own music and I’m excited to connect with people in the show atmosphere again.
Do you have any artistic collaboration plans?
My friend and lead guitarist on this project, Sarah Eitel has created a music collaborative project with her partner Sean Zywick called “This That and The Whatevers”. I’m excited to be working with them soon!
What message would you like to give to your fans?
Hello! Thanks for listening! I’m really grateful that my music connected with you. And I’m glad that you are here