20 QUESTIONS WITH TIANA MAJOR9, THE SPARKLING FUTURE OF JAZZ

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The Major 9 chord is a complex one, technically and sonically. A chord heavily associated with jazz music, for the theory brains out there, its formula encompasses a root, major third, perfect fifth, major seventh and a ninth at the tippy top, but its sound is unique in that elicits a sort of special feeling, one that feels hopeful while recognizing an inherent bluesy undertone. Such a sentiment of hope tinged with the pain of yesterday lies at the core of jazz, a genre created and championed by the Black community, the genre spans back to the late 1800s and its influence is far reaching, touching almost every form of popular music we know today.

British-Jamaican artist Tiana Major9 felt the power of jazz music from a very young age. Growing up on soulful concoction of jazz, R&B, gospel, soul & reggae, she incorporates each sonic shade of her background in her musical masterpieces today. Claiming the Major 9 chord as one of her favorite sounds in the world, the inclusion of the chord in her artist name is a strong testament to her dedication to re-interpreting the genre.

Currently signed to Motown Records, her musings were featured on the official soundtrack from ‘Queen & Slim’ in a collaboration with Earthgang on slow-burning, bluesy track “Collide.” Possessing a smooth, smoky tone with a poignant edge, the Tiana Major9 listening experience is nothing short of gratifying and addictive. Most recent single “Think About You (Notion Mix)” shares a story of unrequited love, showcasing Tiana’s lyrical edge and sonically borrowing from her Jamaican background, as she seamlessly interlaces the chill of reggae with the soul of jazz.

An artist on the rise in a lane unique to her, she was recently named a VEVO DSCVR artist while garnering support from likes of Billboard, Teen Vogue, and Vice, Tiana is most certainly the future of jazz as we know it and that future is dazzling bright. Read on for an exclusive 20 questions interview with the songstress herself…

If you were forced to wear a warning label what would it say?

“Warning: extremely emotional, handle with care”

How were you first introduced to jazz?

My mum used to have Jazz FM playing in the house. I would do my homework with it in the background

Favorite jazz standard?

I have so many but I’m gonna say “So What” by Miles Davis.

Has your knowledge of music theory enhanced your songwriting?

My music theory knowledge is a working progress. However, I’ve been taking FaceTime Guitar lessons with my brother and have learnt a load of new chords. I’ll be using these chords to write songs from now on. Knowing exactly what is happening in my music is only going to allow me to experiment and explore further.

What is an unusual hobby of yours?

Going into Central London and just walking till I find new locations.

How do you handle being let down?

I’m learning to fully understand that having extremely high expectations of people can be very dangerous for one’s mental health. It’s best not to take “let downs” too personally, the world doesn’t revolve around Tiana.

What social stigma needs to be eradicated?

I think that tying “gender” to clothing needs to go. LET PEOPLE WEAR WHATEVER MAKES THEM FEEL GOOD.

How long would you last in a zombie apocalypse & what would your plan of action be for survival?

I believe I’d last very long; hopefully by the time that happens I’d have a mansion with multiple hidden/safe rooms.

What is something that most people learn before it’s too late?

I think people learn things when they’re suppose to learn them. Everyone’s journey is different.

What’s a quirk about you that most people don’t know?

That I’m a bad b*tch. They can’t see it cus they’re distracted by my “cute”.

Which of your personality traits have been the most useful?

My passion. It’s gotten me to this point. Thanks passion.

If you had a theme song, what would it be?

Brandy ft Mase – “Top Of The World”

What’s a movie you can practically quote from start to finish?

‘Dreamgirls’

Biggest pet peeve?

Listening to someone eat/talk with food in their mouths over the phone. Please don’t.

Most beautiful place you’ve ever seen?

I watched the sun come up from a mountain top in Bulgaria once.

Cake or pie?

PIE!

How did your collaboration with Earthgang for the Queen & Slim soundtrack come into fruition?

Through Motown who curated it for the movie! I was sent the song, approved, loved it, recorded my verse and sent it back. Simple.

You’re in a bar fight, pick 3 music legends to back you up?

D’angelo, Jill Scott and Biggie Smalls.

Top “pinch me” moment of your career thus far?

I’ve had so many but performing at the Soul Train Awards is definitely one of them.

Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

“The man that knows something knows that he knows nothing at all” – Erykah Badu

CONNECT WITH TIANAMAJOR9    

INSTAGRAM // TWITTER // YOUTUBE 

photos / Ira chernova

story / Jessica Thomas 

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