Taija New is a multi-talented Hip Hop artist from Springfield,MA. She began writing songs during her sophomore year at UMass and publicly presented her music in November 2014. Her submission of her second single, 'Newbian King', was selected by Pandora, which led to her very own Taija New Radio channel. During her first sold out showcase "The New Experience", New released her debut EP "Color Me Complex" at the top of the year which was also selected as a whole project by Pandora . Taija has a versatile performance history from family friendly festivals to popular nightclubs. She has performed on the same stage as major acts such as K.Michelle and Tiffany Evans. Her most recent release is "I Want It All."
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it. I've been in love with music ever since I can remember. My mother used to tape music videos from BET on VHS for my sister and me. We would learn the choreography to all of the songs. Aaliyah was my absolute favorite, I just loved the way she carried herself and I felt as if her personality came through all of her music. That is where I learned to just be myself as an artist and a person. Once Destiny's Child hit the scene, my sister and I created a singing group called Cantaijous, a combination of our first names, Canei and Taija. My sister was lead and I would do background vocals. This was my first encounter with writing. The songs were cheesy but nevertheless it was the catalyst for songwriting. We eventually just ended up focusing on other things in life such as school and what not although I was in many talent shows performing Hip Hop dance. It was during my sophomore year of college when I started seeing artists like Nicki Minaj emerge onto the scene. I was never a strong singer so she made me realize that I could use my pen for rapping. I've been writing ever since. Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career? I just recently performed at Pittsburgh Pride as the LGBTQIA community is incredibly important to me. I was already excited because we were performing in the same festival as Jennifer Hudson but nothing prepared me for what took place during our performance. We were at the festival early to make sure we had time to set up so we watched a few performers before our set. Despite their attempts to engage the crowd people kept walking by and we didn’t understand why because these artists sounded amazing. I looked at my team and said "Ok guys this is going to be a tough crowd."So we go up to the stage and there are a few people around. We begin to perform and I witness people coming closer to the stage instead of walking by. I figured we would have a decent crowd, at least in front of the stage. It's my third song, I walk to my place toward the back of the stage, I turn around, and there are a sea of people. I wanted to cry but I had to continue performing of course. Craziest and best thing that's ever happened to me so far. What has been the high point of your music path? Pittsburgh Pride has been hands down. So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like? I like to be blocked off from the world when I write my music. I don't like listening to any new Hip Hop music because I want what I am creating to be authentic. It's easy for other people's style to seep into what you are writing sometimes so I avoid it all together. I let the beat carry me if I don't like the beat I'm pretty sure the bars will suffer. What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be? There are a couple of things. I think the biggest one would be the leeches/liars in the industry and trying your best not be taken advantage of. There are so many that it's hard to know who to trust and who not to. These are the promoters that charge for you to open up for a major artist knowing that charging is not necessary but you will see their untalented friend or family member on the same stage for free. It's the shows that pop up promising you will have a once in a lifetime opportunity to be discovered by A&R from a major record label but nothing ever comes of it besides your empty pockets. It’s the “Record labels” that you sign to and they either do nothing for you or they screw you over. I could go on and on but those are three examples that popped into my head. If you fall into one of these traps sometimes it's hard to recover from. You also can't speak your mind and bad mouth anybody because who’s to say that you might not be blackballed by them in some way, shape, or form. It’s tough navigating through all of that and trying to progress at the same time. If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why? I would love to share the stage with Ivy Queen. She is a Hispanic urban artist. She is such a boss and really holds her own in a truly male dominated genre. I mean who else is touching Ivy Queen in Urban Latin music??? Nadie that's who! What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show? My rehearsals are usually late nights as it depends upon my team's availability so just imagine our energy levels after long days of work and school. Despite that fact, the rehearsals are high energy and super serious. My Creative Director/ Choreographer/Dancer Myles Jeh is on us at all times. If anything looks out of place he will call it out and we will fix it on the spot. My Dj, Dj Juice, is at every practice so we know exactly how we will sound on stage. Having him there allows us to make changes at the drop of a hat and it's awesome because ideas are always flowing. Tylor T is one of my background dancers and has been with me for a long time. He is a partner in owning a dance studio as well as a choreographer himself so he picks up choreography quickly and accurately. Because of this, we spend majority of our time being hyper-sensitive to perfecting everything. Those guys are my everything even when I am tired and want to just go to sleep. Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it! There is a song on the new project called "The Chill". It's a song about the passing of both my grandmother and aunt. They were from my mother's side of the family so I not only wanted to write something that would express the pain that I felt because of their passing but also the hurt I was feeling for my mom being in so much pain at the time. Every family member from her childhood was gone and it really put her into a state of loneliness for a while. She has myself, my sisters, and my cousins but we couldn't fill that void.The inability to help her in those moments hurt . My family is originally from Texas but there are so few that are in my hometown so I also made sure that the lyrics represented the loss that we all felt as tiny family. It definitely is one of my more layered pieces. I cried through the writing and recording process. Thank God I have a genuine musical relationship with my engineer and producer, J.Dilli, otherwise I would not have been able to really get into the music while recording. What's coming up in the future? My new project Heart on the Stage, #HOTS, will be out sometime this year and I'm super excited about it because my last solo project was released two years ago. My team and I have some really special things that we are working on. I can't give much detail but let's just say if all goes the way we plan we will definitely be expanding our musical presence. Tell us where fans can access your music.