Tiara: Fruit of a Chicago Musical Family
Tiara Déshané . Who is she? She’s a young, talented and beautiful R&B/Neo-Soul singer, songwriter and guitarist on the Chicago music scene. Although young, she’s not new to Chicago. Tiara, with vocals reminiscent of India Arie or Jill Scott, hails from the west side of the Windy City. Coming from a musically inclined family, she seems to have music in her genes. The young star discusses the evolution of her burgeoning career. The conversation ranges from, starting her own career at open mic nights, to coming into herself and finally her “no boundaries rule.”
Tiara was very young when her musical career started. Although the star did not receive training until the age of sixteen, she’s been playing the guitar since the age of six. Like a lot of singers, Tiara grew up in the church and was a member of the church choir. However, she was in high school when her career began to take off.
First Solo at Six Starts a Career Journey
“I was around six or seven when I had my fist solo at church,” she said. “From there I went into like choir, [i.e.] elementary, and when I went to high school I started singing professionally. At like 15 I joined a local ensemble and I was traveling and working with After School Matters.”
To further hone her crafts and to branch out from the ensemble, Tiara decided to perform at open mic nights at “The Gallery.”
“I started out there and from there I kept going to more open mics just to get myself comfortable,” she said. “I used to be really shy.”
From Shyness and Intimidation to Owning the Stage
Being a performer and singing by herself in front of large groups of people intimidated the singer. With the help of her friends, Tiara was able to overcome her stage fright and just push forward.
“It was one of my friends who made me do open mics,” she said.” They were like ‘girl you need to do it.’ And they kept pushing me for months and I was just, like, okay.”
While continuously performing at open mics, the stage became Tiara’s best friend. She became more comfortable with people and used open mics to as an open platform for her to rehearse and perform new material.
“It was a way for me to practice,” she admitted. “I was finally becoming comfortable performing by myself.”
From Diary Entries to Songwriting
Although Tiara is also a songwriter now, she initially opted to only sing, doing covers of famous neo -soul singers. She didn’t start writing poetry until high school when she had become a member of some ensembles.
“I always used a diary as a kid, and my mom used to read my diary. She would be like ‘Oh, you should write poems.’”
Taking her mom’s advice, Tiara started writing poems about day to day life situations. Her writing made its way into her music. From written words to melodies, the songbird eventually found herself steering away from doing covers to writing and performing her own music.
Great Inspirations But No Limitations
We asked her about her inspirations for her songwriting. Tiara says she’s inspired by popular singers like Jill Scott, India Arie, and Erykah Badu, along with gospel artists like Kirk Franklin.
Tiara gives due credit to her inspirations and sticks with her neo-soul sound. Yet she still wants to set herself apart from those singers and other up-and-coming artists like herself. What sets her apart she says is her ability to “test boundaries.”
“I don’t’ like to stick to just one thing. It can be a little bit hard to describe my sound because it’s such a broad area where you can get pushed as a woman and a singer,” she insisted. “I’m just definitely willing to press boundaries and its always been that way.”
Challenge of Re-branding the “Free-Spirited Moon Child”
The young singer is working on re-branding herself as a free woman. She wants people to know that she doesn’t want to be branded by someone elses definition of who she should be . She wants to be free; hence, her twitter name “free-spirited moon child.”
“I am free. I don’t like constrictions and I don’t like boundaries,” she said. “…I’m ruled by the moon and it’s something I always used as a symbol for myself.”
Although she doesn’t want to be categorized, she does want to relay a message to her fans through her music. She wants people to understand that what she sings about comes from her heart.
“I just want to make music that I can feel says something for myself but isn’t so boxed in that people who are listening to it are forced to get a picture,” she said. “I want to be able to say this is what I felt when I wrote this song. But, if you feel a whole different way and it’s helped you, then that’s my goal.”
Commitment to Stay Indie for Next Projects
For now, because of her no boundaries rule, she enjoys being an independent artist.
“I kinda want to keep it that way,” she said. “It has been hard…finding people that let you stay true to your essence. I really don’t have any intention of getting signed right now. I just kinda want to do it myself and see how far I can take it.”
If she does sign with a label in the future, she hopes they can respect her rejection of boundaries and allow her creativity to flow. Right now, Tiara is working on a new project, a series of music in a volume. She plans to release parts of it sporadically throughout her career. In the near future, Tiara sees herself in Los Angeles performing her music and expanding her brand.
“You have to go off the edge and just see what happens,” she insisted.