Playing on her real name, Tahyira Savanna, known professionally as Tee, has dipped into a brand that directly coincides with her roots. The first-generation American has dug into extensive research on her ancestry, dating back to the 1800s when slavery was first recorded in Trinidad and Tobago.
Covering themes found in the neighborhoods she has lived, the duality of her experiences have led Tee Slaves to become a writer, travel the world, and get inspired from the music she heard in London disco clubs, to African trap music she learned in Paris, to the reggae dub music of Tobago.
Spinning the endowing essence of her most recent release, “Dance On Fire,” Tee Slaves has us swept away in buoyant instrumentation that coincides with the lively energy exuded from her vocal performance. Professing each meaningful word with such poise and ease, the vibrant timbres of Tee Slaves stay embedded in your mind as you find yourself getting lost on this heated, sonic adventure full of depth.
Caught up in the infectious grooves that are carried by both the musical vigor, and the mesmerizing presence of Tee Slaves, the visual component of “Dance On Fire,” backs up the empowering tug that the sonic elements hold.
Rich in colorful scenes that take place on the sandy shores, the collaboration between Tee Slaves and Cinematic Nation Productions leaves us in awe of the third single hailing from her mixtape ‘Not All Who Wander.’ Known for the strength she bares as she reflects on powerful subjects needing to be heard, Tee Slaves has moxie that a lot will continue to wish for.
Taking it into her own hands, she tells a story that has you fully engaged in the importance of what she is looking to get across. “Dance On Fire” falls into yet another seemingly brilliant category of conceptual messages that make listeners want to feel.
Welcome to BuzzMusic Tee Slaves, and congratulations on the release of the empowering, “Dance On Fire.” Could you please take us into the meaning that you have laced into this record?
"Dance On Fire" is a response to my other song Disease which I put out as a single
the day NYC shut down for the COVID-19 Pandemic. When I penned Dance On Fire originally it was 6 months later, in November of 2020, and it explains a moment of not being free for it all but finding freedom in the escapism of music. I think the pandemic outside of itself, gave us time to discover and that’s what Dance On Fire represents. Fire is one of the four elements on earth and the magnitude of its power can change energy. I feel like the pandemic set all of us on fire to some degree. It is a powerful transformation indeed.
What inspired the visual concept that can be seen accompanying the message heard in “Dance On Fire?" How did Cinematic Nation Productions help you to achieve this vision?
When it comes to visuals I like to put out playfulness where the message is heavier. It was June when we were at Brooklyn’s Coney Island, Juneteenth was coming up, it was Pride month, and all of the creatives behind the project also matched that demographic so it was just a fun day. The backdrop of people who were maybe vaccinated like me, amongst those wearing masks on the boardwalk, shows a real-life view of our country right now. Eutopia who owns Cinematic Nation has always been my go-to for the film. Years ago when I executive produced my first documentary, she helped me so much with cutting scenes in a way that made each story resonate with the audience. She’s just dope to me and I’m really about using Black creatives in my music brand. There’s a lot to be said about independent artists and we’re all happy to have the talent and guts to show and put our art out there. She shot and edited the video with my notes. She is a visionary.
What do you hope that your audience can continue to take away from your meaningful releases?
In honesty, before I made music I supported unsigned music. I run a company where we put on open mics and it really inspired who Tee Slaves is. I moved to Los Angeles and got access to top-tier production, expensive rates, real iconic studios that housed music creators like Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, and the Black Eyed Peas level of production but it wasn’t a happy place. You could feel the toxicity bouncing off the soundboards at times. It was tons of money at risk and high stakes. It didn’t feel like art. The radio only makes it worst. So I made a decision to start writing and remaining independent until I found a major spender that directly coincides with my message. Music has lost its way via acceptance. My job is to bring back meaning, start conversations, keep my clothes on all while promoting black greatness.
What do listeners have to look forward to in terms of your forthcoming mixtape ‘Not All Who Wander?'
The tape is out right now. Not all those who wander are lost is the complete phrasing so I wanted folks to stop and think so I left the ending open. All of the tracks tell a story and are in order not randomly but creatively. The intro ends with a soundbite from Donald Trump saying “What the hell is going on." "Energy" was written during the protests and around the Presidential Debates. It’s me asking Americans about people like Kamala Harris and cults like Qanon. Memories which is the 2nd track is a sad song about physical loss and emotional baggage for children. I wrote it earlier in 2021 when vaccinations were about to be available, “sad days are ahead, pray God lends a hand.” Down In America is also powerful and was the last to be added hence it’s the last track on the tape. I wrote it around May after the holy season was finished. It’s a positive spin on being born an American and still managing to hold onto some American pride. We are all here for a reason and that reason will never be hatred.
What's next for you?
I’ve been working on my next project which focuses on more of my lyrical party fun side which I know my friends are going to love. I want to have a lot more features so there’s more production work to do which is annoying but great things take time. I want to have it out by November 2021, about 8 tracks. Right now I’ve been promoting the album in shows around NYC and New Jersey. I’d like to go on a tour soon as well.