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afropunk atl: meet the battle of the bands winner, tezatalks

October 11, 2019
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On Thursday, October 10th, four acts performed at the AFROPUNK ATL Battle of the Bands Finals at The Basement. And the winner was…TeZATalks, a rap-singer-songwriter who leads a unique crew of electronic and dance artists up in Seattle, and who absolutely slayed with her performance.

TeZATalks walks away with the Battle of the Bands’s grand prize, a once-in-a-lifetime chance to join the star-studded, line-up of the 2019 AFROPUNK Carnival of Consciousness in Atlanta, on October 12th and 13th. But the battle is also an occasion for artists to showcase their music, their creative spirit and their artistry to the AFROPUNK audience. So before the Finals, we spoke to TeZA and asked her for her insights about who she was as an artist, and where she was going. Listen to her music. Read her words! And Watch her space!

What are your names, ages, and the instruments that you play?

I go by TeZATalks. I’m a singer, songwriter, producer, and artist. My team consists of my incredibly gifted friends and artists: Qreepz (DJ/producer), Daym (guitarist), Braidon Hobzek (choreographer), Jade Jordan (dancer) and Henry McDaniel (drummer)

Where are you from?

I was born in Columbia, Missouri; raised on Oahu, Hawaii; and the birth of my artistry as TeZATalks was in Seattle, Washington.

What are your favorite things about where you are from? Especially when it comes to Black culture of where you are from.)

Being that I was raised in several areas, I attribute who I am, from where my family comes from. I come from a long line of educators, politicians, artists, activists, and Black excellence. Both of my grandfathers paved a humble path for my family to be here today. From integrating Black people into white neighborhoods of the Midwest (specifically in St. Louis), to in-house meetings with Dr. Martin Luther King and civil rights activists, to creating infrastructure and opportunity within the army and building a business model for the commissary, to raising my parents to be who they are today — and that legacy being passed on to me. My father Frank Boykin is the first African-American to be running and advance for the Port of Tacoma in WA. The weight and responsibility, but more importantly the chance I have to continue this tradition of humility and service through music and the arts is humbling.

In your own words, give us a short description of the kind of music you make.

My music is an emotional blend of electronic, alternative, hip-hop, metal, singer-songwriter, and pop. People have always struggled to put me in a specific box, and I think it’s because I’ve never created one for myself. I’d like to think that AFROPUNK is the definition of that. My father always told me that if I argue for my limitations, I’d surely have them, so I align my intentions within music and art with that in mind.

If there was one or two core thoughts or ideas that you want your music to convey, what are they?

I want people to experience the power of Light in the fact that it has everything to do with how it exists within themselves. The phrase YOU matter hits deep, especially as a dark-skinned woman I’ve had to change the rhetoric in my head constantly to be seen and heard in society.

I am not a monolith, and I live and breathe by the music in my soul. I want people to be empowered by relentlessly pursuing their passions and realizing that it is a gift waiting to be shared with the world.

What are your musical dreams and aspirations? (Not fame-wise, but creatively) What do you think you can do with music?

I truly believe by talking and sharing my own shortcomings and experience with pain, it will inspire and empower others to do the same. One by one, Love and Light prevails within and the evolutionary process that we play in our consciousness will have a different ending.

Name one artist that you would like to collaborate with? What do you think that collaboration would sound like?

I would fall out if I got to create a song with FEVER 333! Jason Butler’s soul is truly one of service, and what he allows to manifest with his gift within music is desperately needed. We need his words, energy, and purpose!

What are you most looking forward to if you win the Battle of the Bands? What do you think winning could do for you?

The experience alone culturally has been an internal monologue of “don’t cry,” but I am so thankful to be amongst my people as myself. I’ve been in so many situations where a room had already decided who I was and allowed that to be their perception. Therefore missing out on the exchange and opportunity for growth and change. However, having a chance to win Battle of the Bands and perform at AFROPUNK would be like a homecoming for me. I understand what I represent as a young African-American female, dark skin woman, and an alternative to what most never see as a possibility for themselves. This opportunity would be life-changing but more importantly, it would be the root and catalyst of how I would continue to grow and AFROPUNK is exactly what I want to be rooted in.

Anything else you want to say to the AFROPUNK audience as a way of introduction?

Words are powerful. They are the seeds in the garden that we bury and birth within ourselves. Never forget you will reap what you harvest. Grow in Love and Light.